Change Detection - Persistent Change Monitoring (PCM®)

Using change detection results to monitor human activity

The Earth’s land cover is continuously changing, whether due to human activity or the forces of nature.  MDA’s PCM® change detection algorithm highlights areas of new construction activity by isolating changes that persist over time, allowing it to filter out noise from seasonal, agricultural and other natural cycles which hamper traditional image-to-image change detection methods.

MDA’s PCM® change detection tip-off products lead to efficient, pinpoint updates of geospatial information and cost-effective surveillance 

  • Save time and money by prioritizing updates to geospatial datasets, like feature databases, cadastral maps, navigational charts, image bases and environmental surveys
  • Conduct cost-effective surveillance of human activity over broad areas for regulatory enforcement or intelligence tip-offs
  • Analyze rates of change using the PCM® change history, covering up to 30 years of change
  • Guide geospatial analysts directly to specific changes for efficient feature extraction

Delivering a geospatial data layer designed to fit your existing systems and workflows

To create the PCM® change tip-off layer, MDA uses multispectral imagery and patented algorithms to detect changes that persist over time, usually the result of human impacts. PCM® users receive data layers that guide them directly to these changes. Customizable PCM® data attributes provide estimates of the date the changes occurred and their potential causes. PCM® layers are provided in easy to use formats (geodatabase, shapefile, KML or GEOTIFF) that can be delivered via email, FTP, hard drive, or in person by one of our expert PCM® trainers. Our trainers work side-by-side with you to tailor PCM® to your specific mission and integrate the data into your workflow. Remote webinar training sessions and videos are also available.

Use PCM® change detection to monitor:

  • Construction
  • Mining
  • Deforestation
  • Damage from fires and other natural disasters 
  • Agricultural expansion or loss
  • Environmental changes
  • Large refugee migrations

PCM® detection of natural gas operations in the Woodford Shale (Oklahoma, U.S.)

Did you know?

MDA is the sole provider of the National Urban Change Indicator (NUCI) to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). NUCI is a change indicator dataset covering the lower 48 United States that uses MDA’s PCM® imagery-derived change detection to map persistent changes in the landscape (often resulting from urban development). The dataset consists of a change history that locates changes on an annual basis from 1987 to the present.

FEMA uses the NUCI annual change history to support their Risk Mapping, Assessment and Planning (Risk MAP) program. The Risk MAP program seeks to identify and reduce flood risk across the United States by assessing the factors that contribute to flood severity and cost. The NUCI change indicators are an important factor in that assessment, as they help determine if a flood hazard map should be re-evaluated. Flood hazard zones that have had a significant amount of urban development, indicated by NUCI, are more likely in need of updating. With NUCI, FEMA has an efficient way to quantify the amount of development within each flood hazard area to focus their Risk MAP resources.


For more information, contact us.