GLOBE Observer Land Cover

GLOBE Observer Land Cover

GLOBE Observer Land Cover is a citizen science app that verifies and contributes to satellite imagery. GLOBE Observer Land Cover helps scientists improve the different kinds of maps they make with satellite imagery. On the most detailed satellite-based maps, each pixel is about 330 feet by 330 feet. This means small areas such as city parks may be too small to show up on maps. The guides citizen scientist step by step through the process and allows everyone, not just scientists, to contribute to the maps we all use. 

How to use the app 

Upon opening the app, select the Land Cover tile and follow the prompts. Find an open area at least 50 meters in each direction. Align your phone’s camera to the four cardinal directions as well as skywards and downwards, and snap away! You can provide additional information such as the existing land covers you see as well as the amount of each type of land cover. It is best if you can perform these actions during solar noon (around 1 pm in St. Louis) or when a satellite is overhead. This is important as it allows scientists to know where the Sun is in your pictures or compare your pictures to satellite pictures directly. Check out the Land Cover Map to see where data is missing!

How you can get the app?

To download and install the app on Android and Apple devices, use the following links.

Get the app for an Android!

Get the app for an Apple!

Once you download the app, create your own account using an existing email address. Then, create a username and password that you can remember. 

Why using GLOBE Observer Land Cover is fun and important

NASA designed GLOBE Observer Land Cover to allow you to use your phone to help scientist verify and study satellite imagery and improve the maps scientist use for wildlife management, natural disaster management, climate change impacts, as well as many other fields of science. 

For more information, visit the Globe Observer Land Cover website

Now that you have the GLOBE Observer Land Cover app, we challenge you to adopt a pixel and upload one site’s photos. Send us a picture of you and your site and tell us something interesting that you learned about land cover and why you picked your site. Submit your answer by direct messaging our Instagram account at @YCITYSCI for the chance to win a prize and be featured on our page! New GLOBE Observer Land Cover related questions will be added to our Instagram story and page throughout the week. Respond to these questions to have a chance to win additional prizes!

Fun Facts!

We hope you all enjoyed the winter break! Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or comments about those activities. 

We are now going to transition into our next week full of GLOBE Observer – Landcover activities on our Instagram! Below are some interesting facts about local landcover. Are there any other landcover facts that you would like to share with our team? Message us on Instagram to let us know!

  1. About 75% of land in Illinois is used for agriculture as of 2019.
  2. Cities are hotter than their surrounding areas due to greater areas of paved surfaces such as roads and buildings. 
  3. Land cover and land use affect global climate change with rapid urbanization, decreasing forest acreage, and increasing agricultural production.
  4. Land cover affects climate change and climate change affects land cover.
  5. In 1910, only 46% of the U.S. population lived in urban areas, by 2010 it has climbed to more than 81%
  6. Between 1973 and 2000, 8.6% of the area of the lower 48 states experienced land cover change, an area roughly equivalent to the combined area of California and Oregon.
  7. High amounts of impervious surfaces (such as buildings, roads, parking lots), increase the frequency and severity of local flooding by quickening storm water drainage.
  8. There are 20 different land cover types across the continental U.S.
  9. Alaska has two land cover types composed of Mosses and Lichens, meaning there are entire areas that are predominantly moss or lichen!
  10. On satellite maps, each pixel is about 330 by 330 feet! 
  11. Land cover maps are important for natural disaster management and prevention, natural resource management, and urban planning.
  12. Land cover is what covers the surface of the Earth, land use is what that land is being used for like residential, commercial, agricultural, or recreational.
  13. Illinois has 55,583 square miles of land, the highest points is at Charles Mound (1,235 feet above the sea level) and the lowest in the Mississippi River (279 feet).
  14. Most of Illinois’s forests exist in Southern Illinois in the Shawnee Hills while most of the urbanization exists around Chicago in the Northeast of the state.
  15. As of 2004, about 31% of Illinois land is used for corn and 29% is used for soybeans.
  16. As of 2004, only about 15% of Illinois was covered with forests. 

Photo Credits

Featured image: Photo by Tom Fisk from Pexels

Tips and Tricks: GLOBE Observer Land Cover