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

Landsat cumulative acquisitions
Landsat: the Cornerstone of Global Land Imaging
Evolving technology, free data and robust calibration have helped make Landsat the cornerstone of global
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Camp Fire smoke

The Synoptic View of California’s Camp Fire: A Scorching Reality of Today’s Fires

Sprawling urban fires that once plagued civilization were thought to be a thing the past—the Camp Fire let us know they are back.[]
animation of river meandering

Sharp Bends Make Rivers Meander, As Landsat Attests

Turns out, the rate of river migration is directly linked to how sharp its bends are.[]
Lake Havasu 1911 map

Geographia

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

Landsat 8 sketch

“Landsat provides wide coverage of the Himalayas for years with spatial and spectral quality, especially now, with Landsat 8 that has enhanced spectral resolution, which enables the monitoring of glacier state.”

“Landsat 8 represents yet another substantial advance to continuing a 40 year land data record, essential to understanding the Earth’s biosphere, anthropogenic changes to land use and land cover, the terrestrial carbon cycle, and the consequences for climate and biodiversity. This important extension to the Landsat series, the Landsat 8 mission, was achieved, through an outstanding interagency and industrial partnership, effectively managed to achieve brea…

“Thanks to Landsat, we were able to dramatically improve our satellite base map in Google Earth and Google Maps on two separate occasions, first in 2013, and again in June 2016. Our most recent 15 meter-per-pixel global mosaic was made from over 1.5 million Landsat 7 and Landsat 8 images and forms the view of Earth you see across our mapping products for the first twelve zoom levels of the imagery basemap.”

“Landsat is the only satellite data archive that allows the quantification of vegetation and flooding dynamics relationships across such a large area. Key features unique to the Landsat archive that are paramount for our work include the archive’s temporal depth and detail provided by over a quarter century of systematically acquired time series of imagery at management-relevant spatial resolution.”

“Landsat data is assimilated into our estimation system and therefore provides the key constraint on our snowpack estimates. Without Landsat data this analysis would have to be done in a modeling context or using limited in situ data and therefore would have significantly higher uncertainties.”

“With the Landsat satellite system capable of delivering global coverage every 8 days, we have an unprecedented ability to monitor global forest change. The 2014 tree cover loss data, incorporating hundreds of thousands of Landsat images, confirms that deforestation is not just high in certain countries, it’s speeding up. The next step is to use this information to improve forest protection and more equitably balance economic development with the invaluabl…

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

“We believe this type of continuous mapping of forest metrics at expansive scales would not have been possible without the excellent radiometric characteristics of Landsat 8, particularly the high level of quantization and the outstanding signal-to-noise ratio, which enables fine distinctions that were not previously possible.”

“The resolution of Landsat imagery and the size of the Landsat database enables critical insight for scalable, high resolution flood detection in several key ways… This increased resolution is particularly critical in urban areas.”

“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.”

“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.”