Analyzing Land Use and Land Cover Change Using Astronaut Photography

Dec 27, 2017 | Citizen Science, Image Detective

This is a guest post from Amy Jagge, Image Data Scientist, and part of our Johnson Space Center (JSC) Image Detective Science Team

With CosmoQuest’s Image Detective 2.0 tool, Citizen Scientists around the world have the opportunity to enhance NASA’s Astronaut Photography of Earth database by identifying the center point location of astronaut photos. With center point locations, scientists can quickly search through over 2 million images taken by astronauts from space.
In our most recent blog, “Four Types of Scientific Research Benefiting from Citizen Science Enhancements to NASA’s Astronaut Photography of Earth Publically Available Database”, we listed four types of scientific research benefiting from the citizen science community and CosmoQuest’s Image Detective 2.0 tool. Let’s take a quick look at number 1 on that list: Analyzing land use and land cover change using astronaut photography.
What is land use and land cover change?
Land use is the human management and modification of the natural environment, for example, urban development or agriculture. In contrast, land cover is the actual material on the surface of the Earth, for example, grassland, sand dunes, or asphalt.
How will the astronaut photographs enhanced by citizen scientists advance land use and land cover change research?
With this enhanced data, land use and land cover (LULC) change scientists can efficiently search through NASA’s astronaut photography database and locate all astronaut photos of a specific area dating back to the 1960s. These images, used together with other sources of remotely sensed data, create a time-series and LULC scientists use time-series analysis to measure the progression of land use/land cover change within an area.
Go to CosmoQuest’s Image Detective 2.0 to identify the center point of astronaut photographs such as the one below, and advance scientific research by enhancing NASA’s Astronaut Photography of Earth database!

Astronaut Photograph (ISS022-E-83669, 03/07/2010, 180mm) Credit: NASA


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