Taking the pulse of the planet: satellite-based monitoring of natural resources in the era of big data

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 - 2:00pm

“Taking the pulse of the planet: satellite-based monitoring of natural resources in the era of big data”


                                                                                                                                                                                Joseph Sexton

Associate Research Professor, Global Land Cover Facility, University of Maryland Department of Geographical Sciences (www.landcover.org)

Co-founder and Chief Scientist, terraPulse, LLC. (www.terraPulse.com)

 Host: Alison Boyer (boyerag@ornl.gov)

Admin Contact: Michele Knox, (865)574-1706

Wednesday, May 10, 2017, 2:00 p.m.   Building 4500N, Room F119



Earth’s human population has risen over seven-fold in the last century, from 1 to 7.3 billion people, and is expected to surpass 11 billion by 2100. As human population growth and affluence are exerting unprecedented demands on natural resources, advances in data processing, computational statistics, and intergovernmental data policies have risen to meet a growing demand for timely, accurate monitoring of natural resources. Combining global archives of government satellite images with targeted high-resolution commercial imagery and other emerging data sources—including laser and radar imaging, meteorological and hydrological gauge stations, Global Positioning Systems, and crowd-sourced maps—is enabling governments and industries to base action on timely and accurate assessments of ecosystem history, status, and trends. Based on time-series of satellite images, dynamic maps of tree cover monitor harvests, retrieve fire histories, and predict site potential for growth and restoration. Satellite-based maps of surface water record inundation histories, identify wetland habitats, and estimate local flood risk. Records of urban growth inform regional land-use planning, watershed management, and investment in sustainable urban development. Meanwhile, agriculture and habitat monitoring systems guide wildlife population management, control hunting pressure, and mitigate damage to crops, vehicles, and other property. Focusing on recent and ongoing work at the Global Land Cover Facility (www.landcover.org) and terraPulse (www.terraPulse.com), this talk will present the status and prospects for local, national, and global monitoring of terrestrial ecosystems from space-borne satellite measurements, focusing on the development of satellite-based data products to quantify and understand changes in ecosystems.