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Satellite Imagery

Satellite Imagery aids in:

  • Yield Analysis Prior to Harvest
  • Crop Identification and Determining Key Growth Stages
  • Validation and Verification (V&V)

Satellite image. 
USDA Imagery Archive
View enlarged image.
FAS serves as the repository and manager of the USDA Satellite Imagery Archive. Access is available to USDA subscribers only. The USDA Imagery Archive is the repository for all acquired USDA satellite imagery. The Archive was established in 2001 as a cost-sharing agreement among the various subscribers.

Link: Archive Explorer (USDA subscribers only)

FAS/IPAD is a member agency in the USDA Remote Sensing Coordination Committee.


View presentations from the 2008 Seminar about Integrating ResourceSat-LISS and AWiFS Data into Multi-Sensor Solutions (held Monday, October 20, 2008 in Greenbelt, MD).

View presentations from the 2007 Seminar featuring ResourceSat AWiFS and LISS Data
(held Tuesday, November 27, 2007 in Greenbelt, MD).

View presentations from the 2006 Seminar (held September 12, 2006 in Fairfax, VA).


Global Reservoir and Lake Monitor
See Animation of JASON-1 and TOPEX/POSEIDON Satellites. Link opens in new window.

Global Reservoir and Lake Monitor. Link opens in new window.

USDA-FAS, in cooperation with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the University of Maryland (UMD), Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC) are routinely monitoring lake and reservoir height variations for approximately 100 lakes located around the world. This project is unique, being the first of its kind to utilize near-real time radar altimeter data over inland water bodies in an operational manner. See related article in Earth Observation Magazine.

Related Links:  

MODIS Image Gallery For Global Agricultural Regions
MODIS Image Gallery. Link opens in new window.

MODIS (or Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) is a key instrument aboard the Terra (EOS AM) and Aqua (EOS PM) satellites. Terra's orbit around the Earth is timed so that it passes from north to south across the equator in the morning, while Aqua passes south to north over the equator in the afternoon. Terra MODIS and Aqua MODIS are viewing the entire Earth's surface every 1 to 2 days, acquiring data in 36 spectral bands, or groups of wavelengths (see MODIS Technical Specifications). These data will improve our understanding of global dynamics and processes occurring on the land, in the oceans, and in the lower atmosphere. MODIS is playing a vital role in the development of validated, global, interactive Earth system models able to predict global change accurately enough to assist policy makers in making sound decisions concerning the protection of our environment.
(Source: MODIS Web - About MODIS)

Related Link:   MODIS Rapid Response System

Satellite Sensors and Image Resolutions
Satellite sensors and image resolutions vary. IPAD uses all sources:

Coarse Resolution -- view enlarged image.
Coarse Resolution
Medium Resolution -- view enlarged image.
Medium Resolution
High Resolution -- view enlarged image.
High Resolution
 Medium Resolution
Satellite Name  
Spatial Resolution  
LAC (1-km)
GAC (8-km)
1-km 250-m 500-m 1-km
Swath Width  
2400-km 2250-km 2330-km
Repeat Cycle  
Daily Daily 16-day
Year Launched  
-N (1978)
-16 (2000)
1998 2000
 High Resolution
Satellite Name  
SPOT 4 & 5 Landsat IKONOS
Spatial Resolution  
20-m 30-m 1-m
Swath Width  
60-km 185-km 11-km
Repeat Cycle  
26-days 16-days 3-days
Year Launched  
Spot 4 1998
Spot 5 - 2002
-7 (2000) 1999