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Ecology from Space: How Can NASA Remote-Sensing Data Inform Your Research?

Thursday, August 10, 2017: 11:30 AM-1:15 PM

Alison G. Boyer (ORNL DAAC)
Michele M. Thornton (ORNL DAAC), Cole Krehbiel (LP DAAC), Pinki Mondal (SEDAC), and Jennifer Brennan (NASA ESDIS)


Ecologists are increasingly interested in questions that can be addressed only by integrating data from numerous sources, often across large geographic areas and broad time periods. NASA's airborne and space-borne sensors supply a variety of high-resolution environmental data that are designed to inform global change and terrestrial ecological studies. However, few ecologists have the specialized training and software necessary to manipulate these data to extract the information relevant to their particular research. The aim of this workshop is to provide a beginner's level introduction to NASA's remote-sensing and ground-based ecological data and demonstrate user friendly tools to access, subset, and visualize this data. We will highlight data from NASA's MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) which views the Earth's surface every 2 to 8 days, collecting data in 36 spectral bands. Land products generated from MODIS include land surface temperature, reflectance, vegetation indices, phenology, land cover, productivity, and photosynthesis. We will also discuss Daymet daily meteorology data, soil moisture data from the SMAP satellite, land elevation, and other NASA data collections. This workshop serves as a practical introduction to working with remote-sensing data, file formats, and analysis packages (such as R) to enable ecologists to easily access and synthesize remote sensing data in their research.

2017 ESA Workshop page:

Workshop Agenda and presentations:

Introduction and Goals (.PPTX) Alison Boyer (ORNL DAAC) 11:30 am
Getting Started- An Introduction to NASA Earthdata (.PPTX) Jennifer Brennan (NASA EOSDIS) 11:35 am
Land Processes DAAC Data, Tools, and Services (.PPTX) (.MP4) Cole Krehbiel (LP DAAC) 11:55 am
Ecological and Climate Data from ORNL DAAC (.PPTX) Michele M. Thornton & Alison Boyer (ORNL DAAC) 12:15 pm
SEDAC Data and Applications (.PDF) Pinki Mondal (SEDAC) 12:40 pm
Q&A session 1:00 pm
Adjourn 1:15 pm

Helpful Links:

Sign up for a NASA Earthdata account:

NASA Earthdata:

NASA Earthdata on YouTube:

Earthdata Webinars and Tutorials:

SEDAC: Socioeconomic data

LP DAAC: Land Processes data

ORNL DAAC: Ecological and biogeochemical data

NSIDC: Snow and ice data

Daily weather data:

Soil moisture data:

LP DAAC e-learning pages:

AppEEARS tool:

MODIS subsets from ORNL DAAC:

Other ORNL DAAC workshops: