Observer News

Land Cover Challenge 2022 Summary and Wrap-up

Examples of land cover from space: an urban area, trees along a river, farmland, water and an island, and ice sheets

From 26 July to 26 August, we asked our volunteer scientists to use GLOBE Observer to collect observations of land cover, tying in with the 50th anniversary of the Landsat satellite and with a special focus on land cover in a changing climate. And our volunteers delivered! You sent in over 1,600 observations during the challenge period, compared to the usual average of about 300 a month during the first five months of 2022. Those observations came from 180+ individual observers at over 1,100 different data collection sites in 28 countries and from all six GLOBE regions. In addition, we had 22 volunteer observers who collected more than 25 land cover observations, and 12 of those volunteer observers collected more than 50 observations. An extra big thank you to those especially dedicated individuals!

During the challenge, we also encouraged participants to explore the activities and resources related to remote sensing through Camp Landsat new window, celebrating the Landsat satellite’s five decades of benefiting life on Earth. Following the Camp Landsat weekly themes, we shared video reels highlighting different aspects of science and community, looking at land cover and how it relates to urbanization, ecosystem change, food security, ice cover, and more. If you missed any of the videos (or just want to watch them again), take a look at the playlist below.


As a result of the challenge, over 9,100 new photos were added to the GLOBE database. These photos document the current land cover and provide a snapshot in time of the conditions at those locations – information that can help with future research on a number of topics. In addition, we encouraged volunteer scientists to comment in the field notes about any changes they saw or knew had occurred in the area photographed, or changes they know are planned. We selected a small subset of photos with those types of comments for the highlights video below, to showcase that especially valuable additional data. Existing land cover databases (such as the 50-year record from the Landsat satellite new window) may be able to indicate where change has happened, but they don’t always include the reasons why those changes occurred, so any local, on-the-ground knowledge shared by observers can be especially helpful. You can explore all the images (and other data) in the GLOBE database using the GLOBE Visualization System.


For all our participants, you can download a customizable certificate of participation (PDF) to print or share on social media. For those observers who contributed more than 25 or more than 50 observations, we will be in touch with you soon about your digital Landsat image and/or mailing you Landsat material. Thank you to everyone for participating, and remember that even though the challenge is over, you can always continue to collect data for GLOBE!

This certificate is presented to "Your Name Here" for participating in the NASA GLOBE Land Cover Challenge 2022: Land Cover in a Changing Climate



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