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Two of the PREDICTS team - Sean Tuck (MSc 2011-2012, currently completing a PhD at Oxford) and Helen Phillips (MSc 2011-2012, currently completing a PREDICTS-related PhD at Imperial) - recently released the MODISTools R package. MODISTools fetches data from the NASA's archive of MODIS (Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) satellite data - complete coverage of the whole of the Earth every 1 to 2 days at 36 spectral bands. The MODIS data are processed by NASA into products that provide information about areas such as land surface temperature, snow cover and vegetation indices. MODIS data are increasingly widely used in ecological studies and PREDICTS uses the MODIS vegetation indices products to assess both changes in and loss of habitats.

The MODISTools package allows subsets of the MODIS products of interest to be downloaded and stored using just a single line of code, avoiding time consuming and often error-prone manual steps. The PREDICTS team have found MODISTools to be invaluable. The package can be installed in R by running: install.packages('MODISTools').