GLAM—Global Agricultural GLAM - MODIS Viewer Monitoring

A collaboration between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Project Background Mission and Goals

Project Background NASA/UDSA MOU

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to strengthen collaboration. In support of this collaboration, NASA and the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) jointly funded the Global Agriculture Monitoring (GLAM) project to assimilate NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data and products into an existing decision support system (DSS) operated by the International Production Assessment Division (IPAD) of FAS. Building on NASA's investment in the MODIS Science Team, the project is implementing a user-friendly system that will allow for the integration and analysis of MODIS data products in IPAD's DSS.

FAS Mission & Tasks

FAS promotes the security and stability of U.S. food supply, improves foreign market access for U.S. agricultural products, reports on world food security, and advises the U.S. government on international food aid requirements.

FAS bears the primary responsibility for USDA's overseas activities: such as - market development, international trade agreements and negotiations, and the collection and analysis of statistics and market information. It also administers USDA's export credit guarantee and food aid programs, and helps increase income and food availability in developing nations by mobilizing expertise for agriculturally led economic growth.

IPAD's Scope

The FAS, through IPAD, provides agricultural information for global food security. It produces objective, timely and regular assessments of global agricultural production outlook and the conditions affecting food security. IPAD is responsible for global crop condition assessments and estimates of production and yield of grains, oilseeds, and cotton. IPAD crop production assessments are an integral component of the monthly crop estimates issued by USDA's World Agricultural Outlook Board - a primary source for agricultural information worldwide.

The Application of NASA EOS MODIS Data to FAS
Agricultural Assessment and Forecasting

To meet its objectives, FAS/IPAD uses satellite data and data products to monitor agriculture worldwide and to locate and keep track of natural disasters such as short and long term droughts, floods and persistent snow cover which impair agricultural productivity. FAS is the largest user of satellite imagery in the non-military sector of the U.S. government. For the last 30 years, FAS has used a combination of Landsat and NOAA-AVHRR satellite data to monitor crop condition and report on episodic events.

FAS is upgrading and enhancing the satellite component of its IPAD decision support system through an information delivery system for NASA's MODIS data and derived products. Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) NASA's MODIS sensor is on board two satellites of the Earth Observing System (EOS) - which was designed in part to monitor subtle vegetation responses to stress, vegetation production and land cover with regional-to-global coverage. Hence, integration of MODIS data and derived products into the IPAD FAS DSS provides FAS with better characterization of land surface conditions at the regional scale and enables monitoring of changes in the key agricultural areas of FAS focus regions in a more timely fashion and at a higher resolution than previously possible with NOAA-AVHRR data.

MODIS: An Operational Prototype

Although MODIS is a NASA experimental mission, the instrument's capabilities was extended by the launch of the Visible Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) sensor on board the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) weather satellite on October 28, 2011. Thus the methods and system developed by the USAD/NAS MODIS GLAM project is envisaged to be transitioned into a fully operational domain with VIIRS data and operational products for monitoring global crop conditions.

Project Components

  • Crop Explorer
  • Delivery and integration of MODIS Rapid Response data into the FAS Crop Explorer monitoring system to facilitate improved monitoring of the impact of climate hazards on agricultural production.
  • Display the long-term NDVI archives from the AVHRR-NOAA and Proba-V/SPOT-VEGETATION sensors used by FAS/IPAD.
  • Display soil moisture products corrected with NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite launched on 31 January 2015.
  • GLAM (Global Agriculture Monitoring) with NDVI-MODIS time-series products.
  • Development and delivery of a long term database of MODIS composite Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) time series including analysis tools and a graphic user interface that provides mosaicking, reprojection capabilities, and easy access to the moderate resolution image archive.
  • Utilize best available global cropland masks and global crop masks by crop type for global cropland data drilling.
  • G-REALM (Global Reservoir and Lake Monitor)
  • Display near real time water-level products for lakes and reservoirs derived from satellite radar altimeters such as Jason-3, Jason-2/OSTM, Jason-1, Topex/Poseidon, and ENVISAT missions.
MODIS Rapid Response

The MODIS Rapid Response (RR) system provides rapid access to MODIS data collected twice daily from the Terra satellite in the morning (10:30am) and the Aqua satellite in the afternoon (2:30pm).

The RR system provides FAS analysts with access to georeferenced, calibrated, mosaicked daily global MODIS imagery for 10 by 10-degree tiles within 2-4 hours of satellite acquisition. RR tiles are available to FAS analysts at spatial resolutions of 250m, 500m and 1km in different band combinations.

Such rapidly accessible data allows the FAS analysts to evaluate, and asses, in near real time, the effect of disaster events on crops.

GLAM (Global Agriculture Monitoring) with NDVI-MODIS time-series products

In monitoring crop conditions for a specific region, remotely sensed vegetation index data are used to track the evolution of the growing season compared to reference long-term mean conditions. A global normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) is produced from MODIS data, with a spatial resolution of 250 meters and has been assembled using a 8-day compositing period, allowing for interannual comparisons of growing season dynamics. This NDVI-MODIS dataset is automatically reprojected and mosaicked to suit the FAS regions of interest.

The time-series data are accessible to FAS analysts through a powerful web interface and analysis tool called NDVI-MODIS GLAM. From the NDVI-MODIS GLAM is stand-alone interface, the FAS analysts can query NDVI-MODIS data by various best available global cropland masks and
- plot time-series graphs over the crop growing seasons to quickly assess crop conditions and anomalies.
- monitor current crop growth conditions.
- view spatially, NDVI anomalies comparing current crop growth conditions to previous year, or historical mean.
- plot histograms of current and historical NDVI-MODIS data with 250-meter spatial resolution.

These NDVI-MODIS data and utilities are fundamental for crop yield forecasts and can serve as an early warning system for regions suffering from crop loss and food shortages.

GLAM with NDVI-MODIS Image Tiles
Cropland Data Drilling using NDVI-MODIS Imagery

Croplands are highly variable both temporally and spatially. Croplands vary from year to year due to events such as drought and fallow periods, and they vastly differ across the globe in accordance with characteristics such as cropping intensity and field size.

To successfully monitor worldwide agricultural regions and provide accurate agricultural production assessments, it is important to clearly represent the spatial distribution of global cropland regions. To do this , the USDA/NASA GLAM-MODIS Viewer uses the best available cropland masks to help monitor global crop condition during the growing season.

Recent global cropland masks added to the GLAM-MODIS Viewer are the spatial Production Allocation Models(SPAM) data sets developed by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) , and available for download at Harverst Choice. The twelve SPAM crop types added to the GLAM-MODIS Viewer includes barely, corn, cotton, millet, palm, peanut, rapeseed, soybean, sunflower, rice, sorghum, and wheat.

GLAM Contact Information

Bradley Doorn
Project Manager
Goddard Space Flight Center
Compton Tucker III
Assaf Anyamba
Ed Pak
SMAP Early Adopter
Iliana E. Mladenova
UMD/ESSIC (Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center,
University of Maryland)
John D. Bolten
NASA-Goddard, Hydrological Sciences Branch
Rapid Response
Jeff Schmaltz
Charon Birkett
UMD/Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center
University of Maryland
Charon Birkett
Division Director
Ronald Frantz
International Production Assessment Division
Deputy Division Director
Robert Tetrault
Global Crop Production Estimates
Contract Officer's Representative (COR) and SMAP Early Adopter
Curt Reynolds
International Production Assessment Divisions
Contract Officer's Representative (COR)
Bob Baldwin
Information Services Division (ISD)
SMAP Early Adopter
Wade Crow
USDA/ARS(Agricultural Research Service)
Beltsville, MD

GLAM Links