A half-section of land 10 miles north of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, surrounded by corn and soybean fields, is the home of the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center—and the Landsat archive. EROS has been archiving and distributing Landsat and other land data for 50 years. In that time, Landsat reveals a half-century of growth in Sioux Falls as it expands into agricultural areas.
The vast EROS archive also includes historical and current aerial photography. A sample of those photos shows EROS’ location. The building opened in 1973, with an addition completed in 1996.
The ponds beside the building are wastewater ponds, originally for the large amount of photo and film processing that took place at EROS up until 2005. You can also see the water tower and its shadow. Two radomes, which protect the antennas that receive data from the Landsat satellites and send commands, also sit on the property.
Receiving data from the orbiting Landsat satellites is one of the main reasons EROS is located where it is. The Sioux Falls area is near the center of North America. The antennas inside the radomes can receive data from the Landsat satellites as they pass anywhere over the 48 conterminous states. With the recent launch of Landsat 9, and Landsat Next targeted for launch in 2030, EROS will remain the archive and distribution center for Landsat data for years to come.
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