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Monitoring Global Land Change using Earth Observation Data
From deforestation to urbanization, the human footprint on the land surface is ever expanding, converting natural land covers into land uses or intensifying current land uses. Land use change results in loss of biodiversity, increased greenhouse gas emissions, alteration of hydrological systems, among other impacts. Rates of land use change can be quantified using time-series earth observation data from satellites. A subset of satellite systems feature global acquisition strategies with no or low cost data access, and a consequent ability to monitor global land cover and land use extent and change. In terms of earth observation infrastructure, we are in a golden age of such satellite systems, including NASA/USGS Landsat satellites, the Sentinel series of the European Space Agency, and also commercial providers such as Planet. The integrated use of multi-source data dramatically improves monitoring capabilities, reducing the uncertainties around many important land dynamics, such as deforestation rates and crop area estimation. In this talk, a number of themes will be presented with a focus on our improving capabilities to accurately quantify global land change.[/caption]
Wallace W. Atwood Lecture
Department of Geographical Sciences
University of Maryland