I Spy -USGS Launches Land Cover Data Web Tool
April 12, 2007
There will soon be no place to hide when the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) aims its spy camera at your property.
The government's new USGS Land Cover visualization and Analysis Tool will allow agencies such as The Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U. S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to view and analyze land cover data from any web browser. "Land cover data has been a largely untapped information resource," said Barbara Ryan, USGS Associate Director for Geography.
The information is essential, claim its proponents, for the managers of public and private lands, urban planners, agricultural experts and scientists in the study of climate change and invasive species.
"This is the ultimate tool that will be used by non-profits and government land-use agencies to determine if a landowner destroys or manipulates habitat or alters a wetland. If a landowner signs up under a conservation easement, the 'baseline' (actual physical description) is determined on the signature date.
Any physical alterations will be monitored by satellite. With the third-party enforcement aspect of conservation easements, this will be the tool used to force landowners into compliance in the future without anyone even leaving their computer," said Dan Byfield, president of the American Land Foundation.
USGS Launches Land Cover Data Web Tool
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
A subsequent version of the application will also have the potential to serve the data as a Web service to external applications without the need for them to store and manage the data locally. This capability should improve information sharing between Federal agencies and promote greater efficiency by reducing redundant data collections. Other agencies participating in the development of the tool, as part of a national consortium, include the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Atmospheric and Space Administration and the Bureau of Land Management.
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