The Landsat Program

This joint NASA/USGS program provides the longest continuous space-based record of Earth’s land in existence. Every day, Landsat satellites provide essential information to help land managers and policy makers make wise decisions about our resources and our environment. + Landsat Case Studies ebook

NPS Kenai Fjords map
National Park Service Cartographer Tom Patterson Talks Landsat
National Park Service cartographer Tom Patterson’s mapmaking process often
+ details
erosion along Alaska's coastline

New Study Provides the First Comprehensive, Long-term Look at Alaska’s Changing Ecosystems

This is the first study to document more than three decades of land and water changes across Alaska.[]
dead red gum trees

Rain Showers, Flowers, and Floods—Understanding How Vegetation Responds to Flooding and Drought in Australia’s Breadbasket

Using a quarter century of Landsat data, geospatial researchers have mapped and modeled how vegetation responds to water availability across the []
Lake Havasu 1911 map


Journey with us into the cartographic past. Latest look: Creating an Oasis in the Desert: Lake Havasu City, Arizona, 1911 []

Landsat 8 sketch

“With these new [Landsat] data, we can begin to unravel the mechanisms by which the ice flow is speeding up or slowing down in response to changing environmental conditions.”

“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.”

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

“The economic and scientific benefits to the United States of Landsat imagery far exceed the investment in the system.”

“We are now beginning to see that the combination of high performance computing, data storage facilities, data preparation techniques, and advanced systems can materially accelerate the value of Landsat data.”

“Landsat is the oldest continually operated program of its kind: Its satellites have been capturing images of the Earth since the Nixon administration.”

“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.”

“What we’re able to do now is track the flow of the world’s ice from pole to pole and on every continent.”

“Landsat’s work is epic in scale. In 43 years, it has amassed over a petabyte of data, with over 4 million scenes and counting.”

“Within Australia, Earth Observation is so commonly used across all levels of government, industry and society that the minimum economic impact of Earth Observation from space-borne sensors alone is approximately $5.3 billion each year [Australian $; ~4.15B US$].”

“There are more than 800 billion Landsat-derived pixels of land in our imagery. If we printed out just our Landsat-based world map at poster resolution, it would cover two acres.”