USGS - science for a changing world

Eastern Geographic Science Center









Science

Eastern Geographic Science Center

EGSC scientists monitor and analyze changes on the land, study connections between people and the land, and provide relevant science information to inform decision making. Learn more about our research activities by selecting your topics of interest below.


Status and Trends in Land Cover Change and Understanding the Causes and Consequences


Advanced Remote Sensing Research and Development


   Why?
Remote sensing is a necessity to geographic science, because it can monitor land change and provide information that will help to understand ecosystems.

   What?
The Eastern Geographic Science Center is working with the U.S. Air Force and the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) in using the CAPís Airborne Real-Time Cueing Hyperspectral Enhanced Reconnaissance (ARCHER) to monitor landscapes. More information...


Causes and Consequences of Land Use and Land Cover Changes in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed


   Why?
Over the next 30-years, continued changes to the landscape due to human activities and climate pose great challenges to our ability to restore and maintain the ecosystem.

   What?
The goals of this project are to (1) inform local and state decision-makers of the causes and consequences of land change to water quality, habitat, and hazards in the Chesapeake Bay, (2) enhance monitoring of past and present land change patters, and to (3) evaluate the impacts of past, present, and future land changes to water quality and ecosystems. More information....


ChesapeakeStat


   Why?
The new Chesapeake Watershed Agreement will contain a series of goals, outcomes, and management strategies that will guide watershed restoration and conservation over the next decade. Progress towards achieving these goals and outcomes needs to be communicated to multiple Chesapeake Bay Program audiences.

   What?
ChesapeakeStat supports improved communication, accountability, and decision-making through easier access to the information Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) partners, stakeholders, and oversight groups most often seek. Specifically, ChesapeakeStat serves as a vehicle for displaying and tracking progress toward the new Bay Watershed Agreement goals, outcomes, and, ultimately, management strategies. More information....


Chesapeake Bay Program Geospatial Support Vision


   Why?
The role of geography in assessing conditions of and stresses to the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem is fundamental to an understanding of the optimal approach for restoring and protecting the ecosystem.

   What?
Geospatial support is critical to achieving the goals and objectives of the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership. Geospatial analysis has been and will continue to be used to establish nutrient and sediment reduction goals throughout the watershed and to assess the degree to which water quality standards are being met in the Bay. It is also being used to assess and track progress towards goals and outcomes associated with sustainable fisheries, healthy habitats and watersheds, and stewardship activities throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed. More information....



Example process decision maker would progress through using merged output from the USGS SPARROW model with the Chesapeake Bay Programís web-based Vortex model. The two models complement each other and allow users to more easily target areas where it would be most effective to invest time and money to reduce nutrient loads.

Loosely couple the Chesapeake Bay Land Cover Model with the Chesapeake Bay Program Watershed Model, SPARROW, and with Groundwater and Habitat Models


   Why?
The Chesapeake Bay is listed as an impaired water body under the Clean Water Act due to poor water-quality conditions because of low dissolved oxygen levels and poor water-clarity conditions related to nutrient and sediment pollution.

   What?
The U.S. Geological Survey and the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program are developing the Chesapeake Online Adaptive Support Tool Kit (COAST), a Web-based framework of tools and information to help meet the needs of CBP partners by applying adaptive management principles to decision making. More information....


Irrigated areas calculated from 2002 Census of Agriculture statistics, land cover, and time-series Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) time-series satellite data.

National Land Change Community Modeling System


   Why?
Inject credible alternative land-cover futures into the formation of public policy at all levels of government.

   What?
Evolve the NLCCM into an integrated mosaic of regional and national models which will serve as a bridge between local-extant models and global models. More information....



A view of some of the Beowulf interconnected nodes.

Operation of the Research and Development Computer Cluster (Beowulf)


   Why?
The Beowulf expands USGS capabilities in quantitative geography beyond those agreeable to solutions with conventional desktop geographic information systems.

   What?
Address the need for general, professionally administered computational systems. More information....

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Screen capture of aerial view east of Leesburg, Va, from The National Map.

Web-Enabled SLEUTH Urban-Growth Model


   Why?
Calibrating and running the SLEUTH urban-growth model has been a time-consuming task requiring specialized skills and specialized computer equipment. USGS land-change scientists and modelers have long needed a faster and more economical way to run the SLEUTH model in support of land-change research and various regional studies.

   What?
Web-Enabled SLEUTH is a Web application consisting of a Web site interactively linked to a suite of software running on the USGS Eastern Geographic Science Center High-Performance Computing Cluster (EGSC HPCC). This Web application allows USGS researchers and selected non-USGS collaborators to make SLEUTH modeling runs quickly and economically. Equally important, if not more so, this Web application serves as a working prototype for Web-enabled versions of other computationally intensive models. More information....



Land Cover Dynamics and Environmental Processes


Construction of BMPs in a developing area in Clarksburg, Maryland. The Clarksburg Special Protection Area uses advanced construction sediment and erosion controls and stormwater BMP design in their development activities.

Best Management Practices in Developing Landscapes


   Why?
Land use change and development alters surface water flow patterns and affects landscape water quality, quantity, and timing, impacting area streams and downstream estuaries and ecosystems.

   What?
Study specific structures and actions that are designed to mitigate the negative environmental effects of land use change. More information....



View of Shenandoah from Pinacle site.

Detecting Evidence of Climate Change in the Forests of the Eastern United States


   Why?
Best management of habitat and and water resources requires efficient and cost effective ways to monitor within- and across-year changes in forest leaf growth, leaf fall and general condition.

   What?
Establish meteorological, land surface, and land cover tracking capabilities that form a foundation for an ecosystem monitoring network; examine whether climate-change related signals are detectable in Shenandoah National Park canopy changes; and explore the implications of any detected signal(s) for watershed hydrology in the region. More information....



Partner-driven Decision Support Tools for Investigating Land Cover Change and Hazard-related Risk and Vulnerabilities


Small screen shot showing Ecosystem Portfolio Model web tool

Ecosystem Portfolio Model - Ecosystem Analysis in South Florida


   Why?
Intense pressures for development of the land outside of the Urban Development Boundary in Miami-Dade County, Florida, threaten to impact both the Everglades and Biscayne National Parks.

   What?
In response, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with The National Park Service and the Wharton School of Economics, has developed a prototype for a Web-enabled geospatial information tool: the South Florida Ecosystem Portfolio Model, or EPM. More information....


Snapshot of the WNV web site

Visualizing the Spread of West Nile Virus and Five Other Diseases across the United States


   Why?
Map out how the West Nile Virus has spread and is spreading across the United States.

   What?
Configure maps, charts, and tables that track the spread, number of people affected, and the peak season of the virus. More information....




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