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....



One example of what the SLEUTH model can produce. Shown here, is a predictive animation of urbanization in the Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, D.C., region. The yellow represents urbanization from 1750-1992 and the purple represents urbanization from 1993-2100. This animation was completed using the SLEUTH model in the mid-1990s. To see additional animations, please visit SLEUTH's Online Data Repository (Urban Change Histories and Predictive Urban Modeling at the bottom) Base maps were provided by the following institutions: Johns Hopkins University, Library of Congress, and Maryland Historic Trust.

Enhancements of the SLEUTH Urban-Growth Model for Regional Use


   Why?
Reduce the computer memory requirements of the SLEUTH model because the input images employed for regional modeling are substantially larger than those used in earlier USGS work. This will speed up processing during model calibration.

   What?
Produce a modified version of the SLEUTH model for use in modeling regional growth within 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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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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