Dr. Prasad S. Thenkabail (Prasad) is a Research Geographer 15 with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), USA. Prasad has 27+ years experience working as a well-recognized international expert in remote sensing and geographic information systems (RS/GIS) and their application to agriculture, wetlands, natural resource management, water resources, forests, sustainable development, and environmental studies. His work experience spans over 25+ countries spread across West and Central Africa, Southern Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, East Asia, Central Asia, North America, South America, and Pacific.
Dr. Thenkabail has conducted pioneering scientific research work in two major areas:
Hyperspectral remote sensing of vegetation;
Global Irrigated and Rainfed Cropland Mapping.
His research papers on these topics are widely quoted. He has published two seminal books in these areas of expertise:
He is a leader of many pioneering projects such as global cropland and cropland water use mapping for food security in the 21st century (
https://powellcenter.usgs.gov/globalcroplandwater/), global irrigated area mapping (www.iwmigiam.org), inland valley wetland mapping of African Nations, Drought monitoring in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, characterization of eco-regions in Africa, and numerous hyperspectral remote sensing of agriculture and vegetation projects. At present, he is also a principal investigator for a NASA Making Earth System data records for Use in Research Environments (NASA MEaSUREs) grant (3.5 million dollars over 5 years; 2013-2017) for developing a Global cropland Area Database at 30 m resolution (GCAD30). He is on the editorial board of the remote sensing of Environment and is the Editor-in-Chief of Remote Sensing Open Access Journal. He has been PI of other NASA, USGS, IEEE funded projects such as Hyperspectral remote sensing of vegetation and agricultural crops, Global croplands and their water use for food security in the twenty-first century, Automated Cropland Classification Algorithm (ACCA(e.g.,
http://www.sciencebase.gov/catalog/folder/4f79f1b7e4b0009bd827f548) within WaterSMART (Sustain and Manage America’s Resources for Tomorrow) Project, and Water productivity mapping in the irrigated croplands of California using multi-sensor remote sensing.
Currently, he is the global coordinator for Agriculture Societal Beneficial Area (SBA) of Committee for Earth Observation Systems (CEOS). He is active in Group on Earth Observation (GEO) agriculture and water efforts through Earth Observation. He is a co-lead of Water for the World Project (IEEE effort). He the current chair of International Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) Working Group WG VIII/7: “Land cover and its dynamics, including Agricultural & Urban Land Use” for the period 2013-2016. The USGS and NASA selected Prasad to be on the Landsat Science Team (2007-2011) for a period of 5-years (
http://ldcm.usgs.gov/intro.php). In June 2007, Prasad’s team was recognized by the Environmental System Research Institute (ESRI) for “special achievement in GIS” (SAG award) for their Tsunami related work (tsdc.iwmi.org) and for their innovative spatial data portals (
http://waterdata.iwmi.org/dtViewCommon.php; earlier http://www.iwmidsp.org). In 2008, Prasad and co-authors were the Second Place Recipients of the 2008 John I. Davidson ASPRS President’s Award for practical papers. He won the 1994 Autometric Award of the American Society of Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing (ASPRS). He was on a 3 member scientific advisory board of the Rapideye (a German Satellite Company) helping them design best wavebands for studying agriculture.
Dr. Thenkabail is, often, internationally sought as an invited expert speaker in many remote sensing, agriculture, water, and food conferences. He sits on several review panels such NASA, European Union, US Army Corps of Engineers, BARD - The US-Israel Agricultural Research & Development Fund, and Netherlands Space Office (NSO). He routinely reviews for about 10 major International Journals. Dr. Thenkabail obtained Ph.D. from the Ohio State University (1992). His Master’s degree in Hydraulics and Water Resources Engineering (1984), and Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering (1981) were from India. He began his professional career as a lecturer in hydrology, water resources, hydraulics, and open channel on India. Prasad comes from a farming family in India from a small village called “Thenkabail” in the heart of Western Ghats of India. Please see his detailed professional profile at:
Ph.D., Agricultural Engineer, 1992, Ohio State University, USA;
M.E., Hydraulics and Water Resources Engineering, 1984, Mysore University, India;
B.E., Civil Engineering, Mysore University, 1981, India.
Oct. 2008-present: Research Geographer, U. S. Geological Survey, USA;
March 2003-Sept. 2008: Principal Researcher and Head of Remote Sensing and GIS Unit, International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Colombo, Sri Lanka;
April 1997-March, 2003: Associate Research Scientist, Center for Earth Observation, Yale University, USA;
Nov. 1995-March, 1997: Remote Sensing Specialist, International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Katmandu, Nepal;
July, 1992-Nov., 1995: Remote Sensing Specialist and Post Doctoral Researcher, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Nigeria;
March, 1992-July, 1992: Post Doctoral Researcher, Agricultural Engineering Department, Ohio State University, USA;
August, 1988-March, 1992: Graduate Research Associate, Agricultural Engineering Department, Ohio State University, USA;
Dec. 1986-June, 1988: Scientist C, National Remote Sensing Agency, Department of Space, Govt. of India;
Jan. 1984-Dec. 1986: Lecturer in Civil Engineering teaching Hydraulics and Water Resources Engineering in Bangalore and Mysore University Colleges with approx. year at the Indian Institute if Science as Research scholar;
Thenkabail, P.S., Lyon, G.J., and Huete, A. 2011. Book entitled: “Hyperspectral Remote Sensing of Vegetation”. CRC Press- Taylor and Francis group, Boca Raton, London, New York. Pp. 781 (80+ pages in color).
Reviews of this book:
Thenkabail. P., Lyon, G.J., Turral, H., and Biradar, C.M. 2009. Book entitled: “Remote Sensing of Global Croplands for Food Security” (CRC Press- Taylor and Francis group, Boca Raton, London, New York. Pp. 556 (48 pages in color). Published in June, 2009.
Thenkabail, P.S., Gumma, M.K.,, Landis, D.R., Huemmrich, F.K., Middleton, E.M. 2013. Selection of hyperspectral narrowbands (HNBs) and composition of hyperspectral twoband vegetation indices (HVIs) for biophysical characterization and discrimination of crop types using field reflectance and Hyperion/EO-1 data. IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing” (JSTARS). Accepted.
Thenkabail P.S., Knox J.W., Ozdogan, M., Gumma, M.K., Congalton, R.G., Wu, Z., Milesi, C., Finkral, A., Marshall, M., Mariotto, I., You, S. Giri, C. and Nagler, P. 2012. Assessing future risks to agricultural productivity, water resources and food security: how can remote sensing help?. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, August 2012 Special Issue on Global Croplands: Highlight Article. 78(8): 773-782.
Thenkabail, P.S. 2012. Special Issue Foreword. Global Croplands special issue for the August 2012 special issue for Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing. PE&RS. 78(8): 787-788.
Thenkabail, P.S. 2012. Guest Editor for Global Croplands Special Issue. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing. PE&RS. 78(8).
Thenkabail P.S., Wu Z. An Automated Cropland Classification Algorithm (ACCA) for Tajikistan by Combining Landsat, MODIS, and Secondary Data. Remote Sensing. 2012; 4(10):2890-2918.
Download the paper @ this link:
Thenkabail, P.S., Hanjra, M.A., Dheeravath, V., Gumma, M. 2011. Book Chapter # 16: Global Croplands and Their Water Use Remote Sensing and Non-Remote Sensing Perspectives. In the Book entitled: “Advances in Environmental Remote Sensing: Sensors, Algorithms, and Applications”. Taylor and Francis Edited by Dr. Qihao Weng. Pp. 383-419.
Thenkabail P.S., Hanjra M.A., Dheeravath V., Gumma M. A. 2010. A Holistic View of Global Croplands and Their Water Use for Ensuring Global Food Security in the 21st Century through Advanced Remote Sensing and Non-remote Sensing Approaches. Remote Sensing open access journal. 2(1):211-261. doi:10.3390/rs2010211.
Dheeravath, V., Thenkabail, P.S., Chandrakantha, G, Noojipady, P., Biradar, C.B., Turral. H., Gumma, M.1, Reddy, G.P.O., Velpuri, M. 2010. Irrigated areas of India derived using MODIS 500m data for years 2001-2003. ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.isprsjprs.2009.08.004. 65(1): 42-59.
Thenkabail, P.S., Biradar C.M., Noojipady, P., Dheeravath, V., Li, Y.J., Velpuri, M., Gumma, M., Reddy, G.P.O., Turral, H., Cai, X. L., Vithanage, J., Schull, M., and Dutta, R. 2009. Global irrigated area map (GIAM), derived from remote sensing, for the end of the last millennium. International Journal of Remote Sensing. 30(14): 3679-3733. July, 20, 2009.
Velpuri, M., Thenkabail, P.S., Gumma, M.K., Biradar, C.B., Dheeravath, V., Noojipady, P., Yuanjie, L., 2009. Influence of Resolution or Scale in Irrigated Area Mapping and Area Estimations. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing (PE&RS). 75(12): December 2009 issue.
Biradar, C.M., Thenkabail, P.S., Noojipady, P., Yuanjie, L., Dheeravath, V., Velpuri, M., Turral, H., Gumma, M.K., Reddy, O.G.P., Xueliang, L. C., Schull, M.A., Alankara, R.D., Gunasinghe, S., Mohideen, S., Xiao, X. 2009. A global map of rainfed cropland areas (GMRCA) at the end of last millennium using remote sensing. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation. 11(2). 114-129. doi:10.1016/j.jag.2008.11.002. January, 2009.
PLATONOV, A., Thenkabail, P.S., Biradar, C., Cai, X., Gumma, M., Dheeravath, V., Cohen, Y., Alchanatis, V., Goldshlager, N., Ben-Dor, E., Vithanage, J., Manthrithilake, H., Kendjabaev, Sh., and Isaev. S. 2008. Water Productivity Mapping (WPM) using Landsat ETM+ Data for the Irrigated Croplands of the Syrdarya River Basin in Central Asia. Sensors Journal, 8(12), 8156-8180; DOI: 10.3390/s8128156.
Biradar, C.M., Thenkabail, P.S., Platonov, A., Xiangming, X., Geerken, R., Vithanage, J., Turral, H., and Noojipady, P. 2008. Water Productivity Mapping Methods using Remote Sensing. Journal of Applied Remote Sensing, Vol. 2, 023544 (6 November 2008).
Thenkabail, P.S., GangadharaRao, P., Biggs, T., Krishna, M., and Turral, H., 2007. Spectral Matching Techniques to Determine Historical Land use/Land cover (LULC) and Irrigated Areas using Time-series AVHRR Pathfinder Datasets in the Krishna River Basin, India. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing. 73(9): 1029-1040. (Second Place Recipients of the 2008 John I. Davidson ASPRS President’s Award for Practical papers).
Thenkabail, P.S., Biradar, C.M., Turral, H., Noojipady, P., Li, Y.J., Vithanage, J., Dheeravath, V., Velpuri, M., Schull M., Cai, X. L., , Dutta, R. 2006. An Irrigated Area Map of the World (1999) derived from Remote Sensing. Research Report # 105. International Water Management Institute. Pp. 74. Also, see under documents in:
Thenkabail, P.S., Schull, M., Turral, H. 2005. Ganges and Indus River Basin Land Use/Land Cover (LULC) and Irrigated Area Mapping using Continuous Streams of MODIS Data. Remote Sensing of Environment. Remote Sensing of Environment, 95(3): 317-341.
Thenkabail, P.S., Gamage, N., and Smakhin, V. 2004. The use of remote sensing data for drought assessment and monitoring in south west Asia. IWMI Research report # 85. Pp. 25. IWMI, Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Thenkabail, P.S., Stucky, N., Griscom, B.W., Ashton, M.S., Diels, J., Van Der Meer, B., and Enclona, E. 2004. Biomass estimations and carbon Stock calculations in the oil palm plantations of African derived savannas using IKONOS data, International Journal of Remote Sensing. International Journal of Remote Sensing. 25(23):5447-5472.
Thenkabail, P.S., Enclona, E.A., Ashton, M.S., Legg, C., Jean De Dieu, M., 2004. Hyperion, IKONOS, ALI, and ETM+ sensors in the study of African rainforests. Remote Sensing of Environment, 90:23-43.
Thenkabail, P.S., Enclona, E.A., Ashton, M.S., and Van Der Meer, V. 2004. Accuracy Assessments of Hyperspectral Waveband Performance for Vegetation Analysis Applications. Remote Sensing of Environment, 91:2-3: 354-376.
Thenkabail, P.S. 2003. Biophysical and yield information for precision farming from near-real time and historical Landsat TM images. International Journal of Remote Sensing. 24(14): 2879-2904.
Thenkabail P.S., Smith, R.B., and De-Pauw, E. 2002. Evaluation of Narrowband and Broadband Vegetation Indices for Determining Optimal Hyperspectral Wavebands for Agricultural Crop Characterization. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing. 68(6): 607-621.
Thenkabail P.S., Nolte, C., and Lyon, J.G. 2000a. Remote sensing and GIS modeling for selection of benchmark research area in the inland valley agroecosystems of West and Central Africa. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, Africa Applications Special Issue, 66(6):755-768.
Thenkabail P.S., Smith, R.B., and De-Pauw, E. 2000b. Hyperspectral vegetation indices for determining agricultural crop characteristics. Remote sensing of Environment. 71:158-182.
Thenkabail S. Prasad, and Nolte, C. 2000. Regional characterisation of inland valley agroecosystems in West and central Africa using high-resolution remotely sensed data. (Book Chapter # 8 Pp. 77-99). in the book entitled: "GIS applications for water resources and watershed management" by John G. Lyon, Pp. 266. Taylor and Francis, London and New York.
Thenkabail S. Prasad 1999. Characterisation of the Alternative to slash-and-burn benchmark research area representing the Congolese rainforests of Africa using near-real-time SPOT HRV data. The International Journal of Remote Sensing. 20(5):839-877.
Thenkabail P.S., Smith, R.B., and De-Pauw, E. 1999. Hyperspectral vegetation indices for determining agricultural crop characteristics. CEO research publication series No. 1, Center for earth Observation, Yale University. Pp. 47. Book:ISBN:0-9671303-0-1. (Yale University, New Haven).
Thenkabail, P.S., 2012. The Committee on Earth Observation Satellites has released the 2012 The Earth Observation Handbook, Special Edition for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, June 20-22, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. USGS research geographer Prasad Thenkabail was the lead contributor for the Global Food Security Case Study:
Dr. Prasad S. Thenkabail, Ph.D.
Research Geographer, U. S. Geological Survey (USGS), USGS Western Geographic Science Center (WGSC)
2255, N. Gemini Dr.
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Tel.: 928-556-7221; Fax: 928-556-7112