PROGRAM TITLE:	Land Characterization and Data Management
ACTIVITY STREAM:	Observations/Data Mgmt., Process, Modeling
SCIENCE ELEMENT:	Climate/Hydrologic Systems, Biogeochemical 
Dynamics, Ecological Systems and Dynamics, Human Interactions, Solid 
Earth Processes


DESCRIPTION:  Terrestrial data are essential to understanding, modeling, 
and predicting global change processes, but they have not always been 
adequately represented in global change research.  In response, this program 
makes significant contributions to the development, processing, preservation, 
management, and distribution of land-related earth science data for global 
change research.  It also facilitates the use of the data by the global change 
modeling and research community, and supports interagency global change 
data management activities.  The program has three main activities whose 
products are already in use by global change researchers:

1.	Land characterization research - Long-term, consistent land data sets at 
regional to global scales are being developed to meet the needs of global 
change modelers and researchers.  Emphasis is being given to data sets related 
to land cover characteristics, soils, terrain, and derived data such as vegetation 
indexes and land surface brightness.  Application of these data include 
modeling land-atmosphere exchange processes, mapping and analyzing 
vulnerability of arid and semi-arid land to changes in climate, and 
developing methods to monitor, analyze, and predict patterns of change in 
the landscape.

2.	Land data directory, catalog, and inventory systems development:  The 
Global Land Information System (GLIS) provides information about and 
access to global land data sets.  An operational work-station version of GLIS 
provides information about AVHRR satellite data, vegetation index data 
derived from AVHRR data, Landsat MSS/TM data, and global cartographic 
and vegetation data.

3.	Landsat maintenance and conversion - Current activities include 
conversion to a stable storage medium of approximately 300,000 scenes of 
post-1978 MSS data (30% of these data have been converted) and 170,000 
scenes of Landsat TM data, and the development of improved Landsat data 
processing capabilities.

The quality of the program is evident in the dissemination and use of its 
products, like the Land Cover Characteristics Data Base, GLIS, and the Landsat 
archive, as well as the successful application of the data by global change 

STAKEHOLDERS:  Land characteristics research is important to several 
national and international programs including NASA Pathfinder, USFWS 
UNEP/GRID, and the GCIP programs as well as the research and modeling 
activities of several universities.  These programs are part of, or related to, 
each of the other USGCRP working group activities.  Data management 
efforts of this program provide the core capability to link DOI with other 
agencies developing GCDIS, which is closely coordinated with the 
IWGDMGC, the EOSDIS program, and other national and international 
organizations involved with global change data management.  Landsat data 
conversion is closely coordinated with the Landsat Program Office (NASA 
and DOD), NOAA, and EOSAT.

SHORT-TERM POLICY PAYOFFS:  Land characteristics data sets are being 
used to improve the representation of the Earth's land surface in global and 
meso-scale atmospheric and other models, which are being used to predict the 
consequences of increases in GHGs, changes in climate, and the effects of 
desertification and deforestation.  These data sets are also important to the 
information infrastructure necessary for effective ecosystem management, 
preservation of biological diversity, and development of adaptation and 
mitigation strategies to address environmental impacts related to the 
management of sensitive areas.  GLIS is improving the efficiency with which 
researchers can access diverse data sets.  The CEES is on record in support of 
the Landsat data archive as an essential data source for global change research.  
Land characterization and data management activities are ensuring that this 
archive is preserved and the data are made available to the public.

				Global Change Research Coordinator
				U.S. Geological Survey
				104 National Center
				Reston, VA  22092
				Phone (703) 648-4450
				Fax   (703)  648-5470