The Future of Landsat-Class Remote Sensing

  • Samuel Goward
  • Darrel Williams
  • Terry Arvidson
  • James Irons
Part of the Remote Sensing and Digital Image Processing book series (RDIP, volume 11)


Terrestrial land patterns and processes are unique to Earth in several respects, ­including human domination of much that we observe (Miller 1978). The Earth’s lands, oceans, and atmosphere loosely coincide with matter in solid, liquid, and gaseous states. Whereas matter in the latter two states tends to vigorously mix in the presence of energy, this planet’s continents remain in fixed spatial patterns over extended periods of time – although even the continents are known to “drift” over geological time periods. This lack of turbulent mixing of land materials produces detailed patterns, both vertically and horizontally across the continents. Land surface patterns, particularly topography and disturbance processes – driven by weather, fire, and human agents – result in extreme, localized variations in land conditions and cover, at scales of meters to kilometers. Local land variations are just as extreme as one moves from the equator to the poles or from the deserts to tropical rainforest. Remotely observing land patterns and dynamics typically requires remote sensing systems capable of detecting spatial detail at better than 100 m.


Shuttle Radar Topography Mission Enhanced Thematic Mapper Operational Land Imager Indian Remote Sensing Advance Land Imager 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors of this chapter were supported from funds provided by the Earth Science Program, Science Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters, and a U.S. Geological Survey contract number 04CRFS0058, jointly funded by USGS and NASA. The comments from two reviewers were also of considerable assistance and much appreciated.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samuel Goward
    • 1
  • Darrel Williams
  • Terry Arvidson
  • James Irons
  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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