Highlights from the NASA DEVELOP National Program Summer 2016 Term

November 30, 2016

A visualization of the NASA Earth Observation data used in the Mekong River Basin Agriculture DEVELOP project.

This summer, participants in the NASA DEVELOP National Program used geospatial technologies to investigate and analyze drought, water resources, agriculture, ecosystem health, and disasters across the world. Each project that a DEVELOP team completes is conducted in partnership with agencies or organizations local to the study area to ensure that the project outcomes or observations will have an impact. Fundamental to the analysis and geospatial component of each of these projects is NASA Earth science remote sensing data. Many of these projects use data distributed by the LP DAAC and collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor onboard NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites, the Terra Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER), and derived data from NASA’s Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM).

All the projects conducted in the Summer Term, as well as in past terms, can be found in the DEVELOP archive.

One of the interesting projects conducted during the Summer Term focused on agriculture in southeastern Asia. In an effort to improve climate resilience for agriculture in the Mekong River Basin (MRB), one of the teams located at the Marshall Space Flight Center used data from three different missions. Using precipitation data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) and Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM), as well as land surface temperature and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) data from Terra and Aqua MODIS, the team calculated a Scaled Drought Condition Index (SDCI). The SDCI is an example of an index that can be used to measure agricultural drought. Using the index to create a time series of drought conditions, the team developed a near real-time monitoring tool for Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia in the MRB region to understand the impact of drought and devise mitigation plans to avoid long-term effects. This work was conducted in partnership with the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center through the SERVIR Mekong Hub. A visual representation of the project is presented in a YouTube video (see below), and more information about the project can be found here.

About the NASA DEVELOP National Program

The DEVELOP National Program is part of NASA’s Applied Sciences Program. Participants from around the country join the DEVELOP program for 10-week terms to apply data acquired by NASA Earth-observing satellites to bridge the gap between science and society. DEVELOP participants work with local, state, and federal partners to create maps and other products in nine focus areas including Agriculture, Climate, Disasters, Ecological Forecasting, Energy, Health and Air Quality, Oceans, Water Resources, and Weather.

Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.


Mekong Basin Agriculture Team, NASA DEVELOP National Program, 2016, Mekong River Basin Agriculture - NASA DEVELOP Summer 2016 @ Marshall Space Flight Center, accessed October 24, 2016, at https://youtu.be/PvDemQSpQgg?list=PLL8pCbx5gnDYUM084cxFpmidjGJJ1bOwf.

Winstead, D.A., Rakumthong, W., Raksaphaeng, P., Daniel, A., 2016, Oh Me! Oh My! These Rice Paddies are Dry!, accessed October 24, 2016 at https://earthzine.org/2016/08/11/oh-me-oh-my-these-rice-paddies-are-dry/.

Winstead, D.A., Rakumthong, W., Raksaphaeng, P., Daniel, A., 2016, Utilizing NASA Earth Observations to Enhance Drought Management Decisions within the Mekong River Basin's Agricultural Fields, accessed October 24, 2016 at https://develop.larc.nasa.gov/2016/summer/MekongRiverBasinAg.html.

Written by: Lindsey Harriman1, Christopher Cameron3, Ryan Avery4, and Tiffani Miller4

1SGT, Inc., contractor to the U.S. Geological Survey, Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA. Work performed under USGS contract G15PD00766 for LP DAAC2.
2LP DAAC Work performed under NASA contract NNG14HH33I.
3Wise County, Virginia consultant to the NASA DEVELOP National Program, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA
4SSAI consultant to the NASA DEVELOP National Program, Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia, USA