Innovate Staff to Participate in Bay Area Workshop, 15-17 November 2017

Innovate scientists and communication staff with the Earth Observing Systems project, Sydney Neeley and Danielle Golon, will present and lead a workshop in the San Francisco Bay Area November 15-17, 2017.   

This event will feature products, tools, and services of the NASA Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center located at the U.S. Geological Survey Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center, near Sioux Falls, SD.   Among other topics, Neeley and Golon, will demonstrate how participants may use the Application of Extracting and Exploring Analysis Ready Samples (AppEEARS) to obtain and plot remotely sensed imagery, such as ASTER data.     The workshop below will be held on the campus of University of California -Berkeley. A broad range of participants from universities as well as Bay Area residents are expected to attend.

Innovate Volunteers Joined Hundreds of Thousands Worldwide during Ocean Conservancy’s 32nd International Coastal Cleanup

Hundreds of volunteers converged on Kingman Island to participate in the flagship event of Ocean Conservancy’s 32nd International Coastal Cleanup (ICC), the world’s largest single-day volunteer effort to remove trash from local waterways, beaches, lakes and rivers. Armed with gloves and trash bags, volunteers recovered thousands of pounds of trash from along the Anacostia in Washington D.C., contributing to the more than 12 million volunteers who have removed more than 220 million pounds of trash since the first ICC more than three decades ago.

“Right now, all around the country and all around the world, hundreds of thousands of people are doing exactly what you are doing: they’re at their local beach, or river, or park; they are with family, or friends—or maybe they are making new friends; and they are rolling up their sleeves and taking action to keep the ocean clean,” said Ocean Conservancy CEO Janis Searles Jones in opening remarks. Noting Kingman Island’s proximity to the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay, she added, “Make no mistake: every little piece of trash we collect and log here today is one less item threatening beloved ocean wildlife and communities.”

“If each of us can inspire just one person to either be a trash picker-upper or to reduce the amount of disposable and plastic items they use in their daily lives, we can prevent marine debris from even happening,” said Nicole LeBoeuf, Deputy Assistant Administrator of NOAA’s National Ocean Service, at the event. “We can fix this. This is a doable issue.”

In addition to removing thousands of pounds of trash from along the Anacostia River, volunteers contributed to the world’s largest database on marine debris by logging each trash item in Ocean Conservancy’s Clean Swell mobile app. Scientists, researchers, industry leaders and policymakers rely on Ocean Conservancy’s Ocean Trash Index to inform policy and determine solutions to the growing marine debris crisis.

Every year, millions of tons of trash—including an estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic waste—flow into the ocean, entangling wildlife, polluting beaches, and costing coastal municipalities hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars. Items like cigarette butts, plastic beverage bottles, food wrappers, plastic bottle caps and plastic straws are among the most-commonly collected items. They are also among the deadliest to wildlife like seabirds and sea turtles. Plastics—which never fully biodegrade but rather break up into smaller and smaller pieces called microplastics—are of concern. Scientists predict that without concerted global action, there could be one ton of plastic for every three tons of fin fish in the ocean by 2025.

Innovate’s team was comprised of peers, friends, and family. Joni Ecarma, a Manager on the Business Consulting team, participated alongside her mother and six year old daughter: “We charged together down a dirt hill; the ground seemed to be a clean and the view of the water seemed to be clear. But as we looked harder and took more steps through the bushes, we found bottles. Not just one or two. Dozens of plastic water bottles lined the ground, along with other trash. I looked up from the trash for a moment, to see my daughter holding five bottles and eyeing more. She was determined as ever to pick up all the trash she saw. I am thankful for my mother, for passing down her mutual love and concern for the planet to me. And I am inspired to see my daughter, with a mind of her own, pave the way for future generations to love and take care of our great planet.”

“This event was a giant reaffirmation that I am not alone in wanting to sustain the planet. It’s hard when you feel like not enough people care about something so important. Seeing all these volunteers picking up litter is an inspiration,” said Michele Carneiro, a Proposal Manager with Innovate.

Janaina Stanley, an Innovate Recruiter, shared her gratitude for the opportunity to be reminded of how much trash is washing up on our shores: “Living in DC where you don’t see Styrofoam as often or do your best to bring reusable bags, it’s easy to forget about the trash and litter polluting our waters. The event brought awareness, an opportunity to meet local people looking to make a difference as well and was a great workout! I’ll be looking forward to future events with our Innovate team and the Ocean Conservancy or other local organizations.”

Special thanks to all the volunteers across the world who participated in the clean-up and to the Ocean Conservancy for organizing the effort!

Related Links: Source

Photos Courtesy of:  Joy Asico

Additional photos from the event can be found here, and are attributable to Ocean Conservancy/Joy Asico. For more information, visit

Innovate Staff at USGS EROS Provide Remotely Sensed Imagery in Support Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

Three Innovate employees, Brenda Ellis, Brent Johnson, and Kathy Goodale, have worked many hours of overtime in recent weeks at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center, near Sioux Falls, SD.  They have been working diligently to manage multiple activations of the International Charter for Space and Major Disasters to ensure that satellite capabilities from many countries are brought to bear.   These activations are providing past and present satellite data to support storm damage assessments and cleanup efforts following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.   In addition to hurricanes impacting many Caribbean nations and the U.S., these three staff members also continue to support over 70 wildfires currently burning in the western U.S.

On behalf of the entire Innovate team, thank you for all your hard work!


LANDSAT Satellite Rendering

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.”