“Measuring the past contributes to our understanding of the long-term consequences of our past economic and societal choices, and contributes to more informed management decisions in the future.”

“Agricultural engineer Jean-Francois Pekel and colleagues have created a kind of virtual time machine, showing past changes in surface water and providing a baseline for charting the changing future of our watery world. To achieve this feat, Pekel and colleagues used more than 3 million Landsat images of Earth’s lakes, wetlands, and rivers taken between 1984 and 2015.”

“Because of Landsat’s global coverage and long history, it has become a reference point for all Earth observation work and is considered the gold standard of natural resource satellite imagery.”

“Landsat represents a public good, Earth-observation infrastructure that allows everyone to study their respective land resources and their change over time.”

“The novelty of our study lies in the bigger picture—measuring glacier change over all main glaciated ranges in Bolivia—and in the identification of potentially dangerous lakes for the first time.”

“I would summarize Landsat 8’s science impacts in three ways: More data, better data, and improved, expanded applications.”

“We had to push the spatial resolution because we’re interested in humans.”

“To make accurate machine learning models of major crops, we needed decades of satellite imagery from the entire globe. Thanks to Google Earth Engine hosting the entire Landsat archive publicly on Google Cloud, we can focus on algorithms instead of worrying about collecting petabytes of data. Earth observation will continue to improve with every new satellite launch and so will our ability to forecast global food supply.”

“This is an example of something government can do well: investing in infrastructure that broadly benefits society, and provides a stable platform for the development of businesses and economic activity. Landsat is the data equivalent of the interstate highway system, a public good that has spawned a thriving for-profit remote sensing industry in the US and beyond.”

“We use Landsat images on a daily basis at SkyTruth for environmental monitoring.”

“The Deltares Aqua Monitor is the first global-scale tool that shows at 30-m resolution where water is converted to land and vice versa. With assistance from Google Earth Engine, it analyzes satellite imagery from multiple Landsat missions, which observed Earth for more than three decades, on the fly.”

“Nothing is harder to image than the past. It is imperative that all Landsat observations are archived and made available to users.”

“Work has begun on the next mission, Landsat 9, with launch scheduled for late 2020. Plans for the next generation of Landsat are also underway, with a series of studies leading to a decision on the Landsat 10 and beyond architecture in 2018.”

“Satellite data is revolutionizing the way we map the world and the way we understand the natural and anthropogenic processes acting on Earth.”

“We knew that ice had been retreating from this region recently but now, thanks to a wealth of freely available satellite data, we know this has been occurring pervasively along the coastline for almost half a century.”

“For our main aim of quantifying surface water extent dynamics during a period of high hydro-climatic variability, Landsat was the only satellite archive to meet all our criteria.”

“The primary archive available for reviewing the positions of coastlines and effects of sea-level rise is Landsat.”

“Free and open access to the Landsat archive has already spurred scientific innovation and provided a foundation for REDD+ monitoring, reporting and verification.”

“An alert system operating at the scale presented here depends on systematic global acquisitions, robust preprocessing, and free and accessible data. Only Landsat has these criteria at medium spatial resolutions, with Sentinel aspiring to emulate Landsat.”

“Since the first in the line of Landsat craft entered orbit in 1972, this satellite program has proven valuable to the economy of the United States.”

“New sensors are nice, but can’t let us see back in time. Happy 17th!”

“With 32 years’ worth of data — and ongoing data collection — the Landsat data record (satellites 5, 7 and 8) captures the decadal and interannual variability in forest losses and gains needed to drive global carbon cycle models.”

“We basically built … Tinder for Landsat maps: Swipe right if it’s good, swipe left if it’s bad.”

“The majority of tropical countries are using Landsat imagery as the primary source of information to support their forest change assessments.”

“The rich history of Landsat (40+ years) enables not only change detection and trend analysis, but also provides a unique oppurtunity for hydrologic model calibration and validation as shown in this application.”

“Landsat enabled us to collect a multi-decadal record of the [river] reaches at almost annual resolution. By extending our record into the past we were able to examine how the reaches changed through time providing us with a truly invaluable dataset.”

“The Landsat satellites have provided an unprecedented volume of high quality medium-resolution imagery spanning more than 30 years. Without this record it would be exceedingly difficult to place presently observed changes in ice discharge into a longer-term context.”

“Landsat offers a globally consistent data set with a short enough revisit time to allow us to consider the percent of time that surface water is present on an annual and seasonal basis, while its 30 meter resolution also enables detection of smaller ponds and rivers, providing greater connectivity.”

“In order to produce a rock outcrop map for the entire Antarctic continent, we required a freely available georeferenced multispectral dataset. The dataset needed to cover the high latitudes; be recently acquired; be of a high enough resolution to identify individual outcrops and geomorphological features; and have suitable coverage of the continent. On this basis, the Landsat 8 multispectral satellite data was chosen for analysis as no other platform met these requirements. It would not have been possible, or at least would have been prohibitively expensive, to carry out this study without Landsat data.”

“Until recently the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has relied on very high spatial resolution imagery to assess environmental conditions that may pose threats to national security. This project has demonstrated the beneficial use of Landsat to assess water quality at a regional scale, which enables a broader understanding of changing environmental conditions.”

“Assessing land cover change, especially the dynamics of smaller water bodies, requires spatial resolution and temporal frequency that are currently only available from the Landsat program. The continuation of the Landsat program will increase the data quantity available for analysis.”

“The issue of forest disturbance could not have been addressed without our analysis of Landsat Time-series Stacks”

“A recent industry report estimates that total annual value of $2.19 billion, far exceeding the multi-year total cost of building, launching, and managing Landsat satellites and sensors. The value is derived from consumer use of the data. There is no inherent value in idle data.”

“NASA’s comprehensive study of Earth has provided much of the underlying understanding of current trends in the planet’s climate – including definitive measurements of rising sea levels, glacier retreat, ice sheet changes and the decline in the volume of the Arctic sea ice cap. Our satellites have provided global, long-term views of plant life on land and in the ocean. And our supercomputing power is allowing us to better understand how all the parts of the Earth system work together and help us to predict how this could change.”

“We recognize the essential role forests play in the long-term health of our planet, in contributing to sustainable development, and in meeting our shared goal of avoiding dangerous climate change. More than a billion people depend directly on forests for their livelihoods, and the remaining six billion of us depend on forests for a variety of economic, social, and environmental benefits such as the rainfall, biodiversity, pollinators, carbon storage, and clean water they provide. Forests also play a critical role for many countries in their ability to adapt to a changing climate.”

“Having all of this [30 m] Landsat data available more or less globally since 1984 will keep glaciologists busy for some more years, if not decades.”

“Landsat is key to a wide range of applications that support global glacier monitoring and elucidate the impacts of global climate change.”

“This research was only possible thanks to the free and open Landsat data policy.”

“Science and reliable data need to be at the heart of policy decisions around the globe if we are to tackle climate change and other serious environmental challenges facing our world. It is vital that we share the trusted data that comes from Earth observation so citizens, scientists, and political leaders everywhere can most effectively work together to meet these most difficult challenges.”

“You can acquire data until the cows come home. But if the data isn’t available, you can only go so far. If people can’t rely on data availability and continuity, they won’t build a system to use it. And then the whole puzzle falls apart.”

“The Landsat archive holds great potential for studying the processes behind the Greenland Ice Sheet’s response to our changing climate over multi-decadal time scales. It is essential that this record be exploited over other areas of the Greenland Ice Sheet.”

“Landsat offers a unique continuous record of the surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet over the last 40 years, no other mission would have been able to provide observations of ice velocity change over such a long time period.”

“We would not have been able to complete this research without Landsat’s free and open data policy.”

“By analyzing velocity estimates extracted from 30 years of Landsat data, this study highlights the complex, and sometimes counterintuitive, interplay between surface meltwater and ice motion.”

“One of the things we like about the [Landsat] satellite is that as it orbits the Earth it is calibrated consistently so we have a globally constant picture that we can make comparisons—apples to apples—of what’s happening. We can drill down to countries, even parks, and say this is what is happening at a local scale. That is another really powerful part of this big data story.”

“Very importantly, big data and its use for societal good is based on really progressive data policies. The Landsat sensor has 40 years of data in the archive and it is available to anyone on the planet.”

“Having water consumption maps produced quickly on Smartphones has been everyone’s dream. In two years time we hope to see all farmers watching their fields from their phones and scheduling irrigations. EEEFlux is making Landsat the evapotranspiration satellite.”

“The use of [Landsat] satellite imagery provides the means to monitor the agricultural water consumption over every square foot of land surface.”