USDA Forest Service Remote Sensing Applications Center and Geospatial Technology and Applications Center

The Forest Service's Remote Sensing Applications Center (RSAC) is in Salt Lake City, Utah, co-located with the agency's Geospatial Service and Technology Center. Guided by national steering committees and field sponsors, RSAC provides national assistance to agency field units in applying the most advanced geospatial technology toward improved monitoring and mapping of natural resources. RSAC's principal goal is to develop and implement less costly ways for the Forest Service to obtain needed forest resource information.

Maps and Multimedia

VegScape - Vegetation Condition Explorer

VegScape delivers interactive vegetation indices so that web users can explore, visualize, query, and disseminate current vegetative cover maps and data without the need for specialized expertise, software, or high end computers. New satellite-based data are loaded on a weekly basis during the growing season. One can compare year-to-year change since the year 2000, compare conditions at a given times to mean, median and ratio vegetative cover, and can overlay a crop mask to help identify crop land versus non-crop land, among many functions. Vegetation indices, such as the NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index), and mean, median, and ratio comparisons to prior years have proven useful for assessing crop condition and identifying the land area impacted by floods, drought, major weather anomalies, and vulnerabilities of early/late season crops. The National Aeronautics Space Administration's MODIS satellite is used for this project and provides imaging at 250 meter (15 acres) per pixel resolution. Additionally, the data can be directly exported to Google Earth for mashups or delivered to other applications via web services.

Agroecosystems & Environment

Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework (ACPF) Database

Spatial data on soils, land use, and topography, combined with knowledge of conservation effectiveness can be used to identify alternatives to reduce nutrient discharge from small watersheds. This database was developed to be used in conjunction with the Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework Toolkit. Data comprise soil survey information and land use.

Agroecosystems & Environment