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Goal: Deliver Benefits to the Public Processing forest inventory data at 182 million pixels per second

The USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory & Analysis (FIA) program can't measure everything nor can remotely-sensed data replace boots on the ground. FIA developed BIGMAP - the Big Data Mapping and Analytics Platform - to radically reorient analysis, reporting, and knowledge delivery within the FIA program.

BIGMAP analyzes thousands of LANDSAT imagery scenes with a technique called harmonic regression to generate fine-scale maps of measured FIA data. USDA Forest Service image.

Although the FIA program monitors more than 350,000 plots across the U.S. and measure hundreds of variables, it can't measure everything. There is incredible variation in land use and forested systems that occurs in between each of the plot observations. At the same time, remotely sensed imagery alone can't match the richness of data captured by FIA. To address these challenges and gaps, FIA created the Big Data Mapping and Analytics Platform, or BIGMAP. BIGMAP is a cooperative effort between the Forest Service and ESRI.

The ultimate result of the BIGMAP project is a spatially enabled FIA database, the public database of record for the U.S. that contains more than 20 million tree records.

BIGMAP is tuned to leverage the parallelization and mass storage required for raster processing at scale that fuses thousands of Landsat scenes with hundreds of thousands of plots. BIGMAP can process tens of trillions of pixels in the cloud to create first-of-its-kind data products, data delivery portals, and education and outreach materials for power users and new users alike.

BIGMAP tackles complex, multi-dimensional raster analysis problems to support planning and decision-making with a seamless workflow from data generation to discovery, consumption, and application.

With BIGMAP, the USDA Forest Service joins NASA, NOAA, and other agencies in its ability to process large data and produce broad-scale mapped products on a reliable, regularly updated basis.

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Principal Investigators
Christopher M. Oswalt, Research Forester
4801 - Forest Inventory and Analysis
Strategic Program Area
Inventory & Monitoring
Research Partners
Charles H. Perry - Northern Research Station FIA
Barry T. Wilson - Northern Research Station FIA
James D. Garner - Northern Research Station FIA
Chuck E. Werstak - Rocky Mountain Research Station FIA
David M. Bell - Pacific Northwest Research Station
FS CIO Geospatial Branch
External Partners