Highlights from the NASA DEVELOP National Program Spring 2017 Term

Dec 27, 2017
Maps provided by the DEVELOP team showing Terra ASTER LST and Landsat NDVI over the the study area.

The image above shows the project’s study area along with Terra ASTER Land Surface Temperature and Landsat NDVI. Image courtesy of the Phoenix Health & Air Quality Team.

During the Spring 2017 term of NASA’s DEVELOP National Program, participants used geospatial data and technologies to analyze several land use and environmental applications across the world. Each project completed by a DEVELOP team is conducted in partnership with state and federal agencies or organizations local to the study area.  Fundamental to the analytical and geospatial component of each of these projects is NASA Earth science remote sensing data. Many of these projects use data 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 data that are distributed by the LP DAAC.
All projects conducted in the Spring 2017 term, as well as in past terms, can be found in the DEVELOP archive.

One of the projects, Beating the Heat: Assessing Extreme Temperatures of Public Transit, used NASA Earth observation data to study land surface temperature and vegetation presence along bus transit stops during the extremely hot summers in Phoenix, Arizona. Summer air temperatures in Phoenix often exceed 106°F (42.1°C), which can lead to heat-related illnesses in the community. This is of concern for residents who spend time outside waiting at bus stops as they are at a particular risk of heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Currently, the Phoenix Transit Department decides where to improve shade structures based on the number of riders who use the bus stops and the status of existing shelters. Land surface temperature data from NASA’s Terra ASTER satellite sensor (AST_08) and Landsat 5 and 8 were used to determine which bus stops were the hottest over a 10-year period. In addition, the DEVELOP team also used Landsat 8 imagery to determine which bus stops had a presence of vegetation, which can aid in cooling the area. Maps created from this project were provided to the Phoenix Transit Department to aid in assessing which of the 4,000 bus stops could benefit from structures that provide relief from the heat. Efforts from this project can aid in reducing the risk of heat-related illnesses for the bus-riding population.

Watch this video created by the Phoenix Health & Air Quality Team to learn more about their project and how they used NASA Earth science remote sensing data.

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 eight focus areas, including Agriculture & Food Security, Disasters, Ecological Forecasting, Energy, Health & Air Quality, Urban Development, Water Resources, and Transportation & Infrastructure.
Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.


Phoenix Health & Air Quality Team, NASA DEVELOP National Program, 2017, Phoenix Health & Air Quality Team - NASA DEVELOP Spring 2017 @ Arizona – Tempe, accessed November 29, 2017, at https://youtu.be/A6g8Il1h-RM.  

Dunbarr, T., Murphee, M., and Watkins, L., 2017, Beating the heat—Assessing extreme temperatures of public transit, accessed November 29, 2017, at https://develop.larc.nasa.gov/2017/spring/PhoenixHealthAQ.html.

Written by: Danielle Golon1, Tamara Dunbarr3, McKenzie Murphee3, and Amanda Clayton4

Innovate!, 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 G15PD00467 for LP DAAC2.

LP DAAC Work performed under NASA contract NNG14HH33I.

NASA DEVELOP Phoenix Health and Air Quality team, Arizona State Universtiy.

SSAI, NASA DEVELOP National Program, Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia, USA.