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

Lake Imja
Global Survey Using Landsat Shows Dramatic Growth of Glacial Lakes
Using 30 years of Landsat data, researchers have found that the volume of glacial lakes worldwide has
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reindeer and caribou in the arctic

Warming Temperatures are Driving Arctic Greening

Using satellite images to track global tundra ecosystems over decades, a new study found the region has become greener, as warmer air and soil []
Forests in Banff, Canada

The Stuff of Trees:
Three-Decades of Forest Biomass Measured Across Canada

A new study reports a net increase of 5.38 petagrams of forest biomass between 1984 and 2016; carbon-wise, that is equivalent to a train of []

Explore Landsat at Home

Have fun learning about Landsat with these hands-on activities and explore the various benefits the Landsat series of satellites have brought to society since 1972.
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Landsat 8 sketch

“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.”

“This portal harnesses more than 37,000 images from Landsat archives, dating back to the early 1970s, to track changes in outlet glaciers over time.”

“The Landsat science community is giddy at the results they’re seeing from the latest Landsat instrument. It’s that much better than the last one.”

“Thanks to satellites and to science, we now know much more about Earth than we did on the first Earth Day fifty years ago.”

“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 proof-positive of the value of Earth observation data, and particularly open access to Earth observation data.”

“Sterling service of over four decades of Earth Observations. No ifs, no buts, just a long-term mission to aid science & society.”

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

“We cannot do this project if the Landsat program doesn’t deliver this open data to the scientific community… We are benefiting from these long-term investments now.”

“LANDFIRE is the only complete, nationally consistent collection of spatial resource datasets with an ecological foundation.”

“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.”

If [collecting regular images of Earth from space] sounds like an unremarkable idea, it’s only because—just as you might read Shakespeare and find it full of clichés—the assumptions of the Landsat program have so soaked into society that we hardly notice them.