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

Cape Code National Seashore
Landsat-based Global Study of World’s Beaches Shows Threat to Protected Areas
Using 30 years of Landsat data, a team of scientists and engineers from the
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results of mega fire

Fires, Floods and Satellite Views: Modeling the Boreal Forest’s Future

The 2014 megafires in Canada’s Northwest Territories burned 7 million acres of forest, making it one of the most severe fire events in Canadian []
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.[]
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

“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 value of Landsat data is internationally recognized as indispensable to science, natural resource management, commerce, security, foreign policy, agriculture, and education.”

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

“You may have heard me say this before, but I firmly believe there are few topics more fundamental to study than the workings of our planet. The earth sciences aim to unravel how the lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere operate—and how they operate together. It is a science of synthesis. And it’s one that needs to move forward, both because of the great service the earth sciences perform for society and the understanding of world-shaping pro…

“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.”

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

“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 Landsat program doesn’t produce images like the ones of astronauts playing golf on the moon nor geologists scaling an erupting volcano, but it has created one of the most important scientific repositories of data ever made.”

“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.”

“Our new interface specifically uses Landsat to track flow velocity fields of Greenland’s outlet glaciers and how they have changed over time.”

“Giant kelp forests are especially sensitive to environmental changes and have a history of undergoing abrupt, dramatic declines and increases in response to a variety of climatic and human-induced factors. The application of our remote sensing methods to the long-term (continuous since 1984), high frequency (~ once per month) global coverage of Landsat imagery is providing a unique opportunity for studying these dynamics over spatial and temporal scales t…

“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.”