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 7 launch photo
Twenty Years with Landsat 7
In the long and winding history of the Landsat Program, April 15, 1999 was an important day.
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TIRS-2 Completes Baseline Thermal Vac Test

The completion of this test represents a major milestone for the TIRS-2 project, demonstrating that the team has built a well working instrument []
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.[]
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

“Without the free and open Landsat data policy, a lot of commercial applications wouldn’t be feasible and a lot of commercial companies—including GDA—would be very different than they are.”

“Our Landsat-based insect atlas facilitates comparisons across space, time, and insect agents that have not been possible to date.”

“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.”

“Satellite imagery can help us get the biggest bang for our buck by targeting conservation initiatives in a specific window of time at key locations. Landsat is the longest running Earth observation satellite system we have, and free access to this data enables researchers to look at the effects of seasonality, climate cycles, and long-term trends in land-use change.”

“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.”

“We use Landsat 8 to document glacier velocity patterns on a mountain-range-wide scale. Mapping glacier velocity is facilitated by Landsat’s high radiometric resolution and precise geolocation.”

“Landsat is widely considered to be a crucial national asset, comparable to the satellite-based GPS system and National Weather Service satellites. Ready access to Landsat images supplies a reliable common record of Earth conditions that fosters the mutual understanding of environmental challenges by citizens, researchers, and decision makers worldwide.”

“Data from Landsat and the MODIS sensor are well-suited to help people make informed policy decisions about ecosystem health, water management, agriculture and much more.”

“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 …

“We hope to accelerate innovation in climate research, humanitarian relief, and disaster preparedness efforts around the world by making Landsat data readily available near our flexible computing resources.”

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