USGS EROS Releases New GloVis

Congratulations to Innovate Senior Software Engineer, Jo Wahle, who played a key role in the successful overhaul of the GloVis tool.   EROS recently released the next-generation USGS tool for quick browse visualization and download of remote sensing data. The USGS Global Visualization Viewer (GloVis) has long been considered one of the best options for rapid search and access to remote sensing data. The redesigned GloVis continues the spirit of the previus “Classic” version by providing a simple, interactive method to locate imagery. It also includes many new features, including browse image visualization at up to full resolution, co-discovery of multiple datasets, improved browser support, and enhanced viewer capabilities. Ms. Wahle maintains and supports GloVis by performing all phases of software development, such as planning, designing, testing, and implementing new software.

Innovate’s Matthew Schauer: Contributing Author to Article in Remote Sensing of Environment

Innovate proudly congratulates our team member, Matthew Schauer, for his recent contribution to Remote Sensing of Environment, an interdisciplinary journal that serves the remote sensing community with the publication of results on theory, science, applications and technology of remote sensing of Earth resources and environment.

Mr. Schauer participated in a team working within Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) to analyze Satellite-based water use dynamics using historical Landsat data (1984–2014) in the southwestern United States. This study demonstrates a useful application of “Big Data” science, where large volumes of historical Landsat and weather datasets were used to quantify and understand the relative importance of water management and climate variability in crop water use dynamics. Their findings helped to identify linkages among water management decisions, hydrologic processes, and economic transactions. In addition, their research validates that similar studies conducted in other parts of the world could help policy and decision makers understand and quantify various aspects of water resources management.

This article is available on Science Direct.

Matt Schauer is a GIS Analyst and scientist with Innovate!, Inc. at the U.S. Geological Survey EROS Center and lives in Sioux Falls, SD.  He earned a Master’s Degree in Environmental and Urban Geography and a M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research uses remote sensing to analyze historical water use patterns.

Innovate COO, Phill Thomas, Joins the AFCEA Bethesda Board as VP of Small Business

In alignment with Innovate’s passion to connect innovation and technology, Phill Thomas (COO) has joined the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) Bethesda Board as Vice President of Small Business. Mr. Thomas is excited by this opportunity to help those who serve as well as contribute to AFCEA’s mission.

AFCEA is a professional association and non-profit group that connects innovative people, great ideas and vital solutions to advance global security. They develop networking and educational opportunities and provide them in an ethical forum. This enables military, government, industry and academia to align technology and strategy to meet the needs of those who serve.

AFCEA Bethesda is the premier civilian chapter of AFCEA International. On average, they connect with more than 250 senior government executives who participate as speakers for our widely-attended annual events, to include monthly breakfasts, full day conferences, symposia and executive dinners.

Innovate! Celebrates Earth Day

Innovate feels a strong sense of stewardship for the environment and invests in green initiatives that will positively impact our planet and our future. We strive to be a leader in sustainability, from our telecommuting model to reduce green-house gas emissions to our Green IT practices. We care about our planet and working toward a bright future.

Being a remote-based organization does not impair our ability to support this shared mission – it only strengthens our bond! This Earth Day, our team went outside and celebrated across the Nation – from planting a tree in Idaho, to picking up litter in Virginia, to cleaning our waterways in South Dakota!

From all us here at Innovate,

Happy Earth Day!

EROS Scientists Extend Crop-Type Map Archive for CONUS by 8 Years

From 2008-2013, the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s (NASS) archive only provided conterminous U.S. crop-type maps. Earth Resources and Observation Science (EROS) scientists Aaron Friesz (Innovate), Bruce Wylie, and Danny Howard wanted to document actual crop distribution going farther back in time to better assess whether crop areas were carbon sinks or carbon sources.

The team formulated a method to extend the NASS conterminous Cropland Data Layer archive back 8 additional years using carbon flux models. They conducted a feasibility assessment on crop typing in the Greater Platte River Valley and Great Plains for mapping crop types with primarily the phenological signal of weekly MODIS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) data. Howard presented their findings at an annual American Geophysical Union conference. The response was promising: “he [Howard] said [that] there were lots of people very excited about it who wanted it for the wider conterminous U.S.,” said Wylie. Hydrologists wanted it to help estimate regional water use among different crops while others saw value in knowing how crop type may affect regional pesticide impacts and determining whether specific crops were long-term regional carbon sources or carbon sinks.

Using more than 11 million records, the scientists trained a classification tree algorithm and developed a crop classification model that extended the NASS CDL archive back 8 years from 2008, producing a consistent time series of major crop-type maps for the CONUS at 250-meter spatial resolution for 2000 to 2013. Their research suggests that it is possible to produce these annual crop-type maps by September 2017. This modeling analysis will provide annual updates of crop types, crop water use, and carbon flux. “Our long-time series also allows the assessment of historic impacts of policy and economics,” Wylie said.

Innovate! Accounting System Approved by the DCAA for Government Contracting

Innovate is excited to announce that our accounting system is acceptable in accordance with the terms and conditions of DFARS 252.242-7006(c) and has been approved by the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA). DCAA’s approval guarantees clients and the government of Innovate’s ability to accurately and responsibly manage a variety of contract types including cost reimbursable, firm-fixed price, and time and materials. DCAA’s approval is an important step to support the continued expansion of Innovate’s business with the federal government.

Innovate! Long Term Archive (LTA) Team Members Recognized for Mount St. Helens Work

Before the EROS Long Term Archive (LTA) program worked its scanning and archiving wizardry, Geologist Angie Diefenbach with the USGS’ Cascades Volcano Observatory (CVO) in Vancouver, WA, had thousands of spectacular Mount St. Helens images in her possession and no good way to share them.
Aerial scenes shot from airplanes and helicopters captured the cataclysmic aftermath of the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in the history of the United States. Yet 35 years later, virtually all of those images sat in film canisters or crammed into filing cabinets unseen and rarely used.
But no more.
Diefenbach went after and secured a National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation grant to digitize and archive a mass collection that began with the eruption on May 18, 1980, and continued well into 1986. Then she sought out EROS for help in evaluating and scanning the film to preserve it and make it available to the public and science.

An aerial view of Mount St. Helens after the eruption.

Plenty of private firms could have done that work. “But EROS offered free life-time archiving, which was paramount to data preservation and the primary reason to have this work done, so data weren’t lost,” Diefenbach said.
From LTA’s perspective, this one-of-a-kind collection was no small assignment. After LTA Manager Ryan Longhenry and Diefenbach worked out financial arrangements for the job, 54 rolls of photography arrived at EROS, all of which had to be inspected, prepped, and catalogued into the LTA inventory data base by Ryan Bartels and Joan Amundsen.
Bonnie Knuteson and Gretta Nomansen (Innovate! Inc. employees) evaluated the color and black-and-white film rolls, which were tested for exposure and color balanced for an automated scanning process that would run throughout the work week and over the weekends, too. It pretty much ate up LTA’s ability to scan anything else for two, three months. File re-naming tools and processing scripts provided by Lindsey Wood (Innovate!) and Cindy Fuhs were essential to maximizing the data capture processing routines. Ultimately, 18,917 frames of photography were scanned.
It turned out that some rolls were difficult to automate because of poor quality and needed to be manually advanced. Lindsey evaluated the process and developed a tool that took the renaming step routine to a 98 percent faster method, and insured the correct naming convention was applied. Now it’s used on other production lines in the lab as well.
For all this, the LTA Mount St. Helens Project team under the guidance of task leads Max Borchardt (Innovate!) and Tim Smith earned a TSSC Team Award in the last recognition period.
While taking on scanning and archiving projects are commonplace for the LTA, doing one for hire does not happen all that frequently, said Smith, who is the LTA Data Management Task Lead. This assignment was also unusual in that LTA typically takes on these assignments with a full complement of geographic metadata for the imagery.
For most other LTA projects, “we are getting everything, so once it does hit EarthExplorer, anybody can geographically get at it, by zip code, by lat/long coordinates, bounding areas, all that good stuff, and it’s fully read to go,” Smith said. “This one hurts because it’s not.”
Diefenbach understands that the images in the archive now may be difficult for people to access without good geographic metadata to go with it. “Still working on a plan to index the imagery,” she said.
But beyond the preservation of these images, she is excited about the processing of this imagery using new photogrammetry techniques to create high-resolution digital elevation models (DEMs) that will provide quantitative time series of landscape changes at Mount St. Helens. That’s everything from measuring the lava dome growth to sediment and geomorphic responses in river systems since the 1980 eruption.
“This collection, along with new processing techniques, will allow us to measure these changes at a scale that wasn’t possible before,” Diefenbach said.
Her office also does aerial surveys of Mount St. Helens every year to create 1-meter DEMS. This historical dataset will allow her and others to extend their analysis back more than 30 years and over the course of two eruptions.
She envisions that most of the collection’s use will be for social media posts by the Cascades Volcano Observatory where she works, describing the imagery or noting eruption anniversaries, or simply using it for other outreach products, such as on their CVO website.
Diefenbach also believes general interest by the public will bring it to this archived collection.
“Mount St. Helens is a very iconic volcano,” she said. “There is always a lot of public interest in film and video of the eruptions.”

Innovate! Celebrates its 15th Anniversary

On March 1, 2017 Innovate celebrated our 15 year anniversary of delivering innovative solutions in partnership with our clients. We recognized this milestone was not ours alone and invited clients and teaming partners to celebrate and thank them for supporting us. We hosted the Appreciation Event at our office in the Ronald Reagan building and a wonderful time was had by all.

Innovate Joins the Esri ArcGIS for Local Government Specialty Program

Innovate! Inc. was recently approved as an ArcGIS for Local Government Specialty provider. Innovate! has a long history of providing services for a wide variety of local governments including City of Spirit Lake Police Department, City of Plummer, City of Hayden, City of Ponderay and City of Philadelphia Water. Being part of the Specialty provides our organization close relationships with Esri and Esri distributors and gains Innovate! recognition for proactively promoting and implementing ArcGIS for Local Government apps and maps.