NASA forest structure mission releases first data

Friday 21 Feb 2020

NASA's Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation mission (GEDI) has released its first publicly available data, giving researchers access to measurements of forests around the world.

GEDI surveys Earth's forests from aboard the International Space Station, using its three lasers to construct detailed 3-dimensional (3-D) maps of forest canopy height and the distribution of branches and leaves in the forest. By accurately measuring forests in 3-D, GEDI data play an important role in understanding how much biomass and carbon forests store and how much they lose when disturbed—vital information for understanding Earth's carbon cycle and how it is changing. Data from the mission can also be used to study plant and animal habitats and biodiversity, and how these may change over time.

The first data release contains the first eight weeks of GEDI data: Hundreds of millions of data points, covering the globe between southern Canada and the tip of South America. By the time it reaches its second birthday, GEDI will have collected an estimated 10 billion laser observations, representing the most comprehensive global satellite data set on forest structure ever produced.

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