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USGS Satellite Imagery Featured in Global Environmental Change Atlas
Released: 6/20/2005

Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communication
119 National Center
Reston, VA 20192
Karen Wood 1-click interview
Phone: 703-648-4447

Dennis Hood 1-click interview
Phone: 605-594-6547



Washington, D.C. – A collection of USGS before-and-after satellite image pairs for 80 sites around the world is featured in a new atlas documenting global environmental changes released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The 332 page large-format atlas, One Planet, Many People: Atlas of Our Changing Environment was produced by UNEP in cooperation with USGS, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the University of Maryland. The atlas also highlights more than 30 environmental case studies supported by narratives, images, and ground photographs, and a compilation of recently released environmental maps.

Using satellite imagery and other state-of-the art remote sensing technology, the atlas is designed to document visual evidence of global environmental changes resulting from natural processes and human-induced activities. This publication is intended for environmental policy makers, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, academics, teachers, and citizens.

Many of the remotely sensed images in One Planet, Many People were acquired by Landsat satellites. The Landsat program, a joint initiative of USGS and NASA, is the longest running civilian program providing vital images of the Earth’s surface from space. NASA is responsible for developing and launching the spacecrafts, while the USGS is responsible for flight operations, maintenance, and management of all data reception, processing, archiving, product generation, and distribution.

The first Landsat satellite was launched in 1972 and since then, Landsat satellites have been providing a constant stream of moderate-resolution images. These images form a unique resource for applications in agriculture, geology, forestry, regional planning, education, mapping, and global change research.

The North American node of the UNEP Global Resource Information Database (GRID), which is located at the USGS National Center for EROS in Sioux Falls, S.D., provides information technology tools -- remote sensing, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), data management and advanced Internet technologies, to address sustainable development issues. For more information about UNEP GRID visit http://grid2.cr.usgs.gov/


The USGS serves the nation by providing reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect our quality of life.

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