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

L8 launch
Landsat 8 at Five
Landsat 8 marks five years since launch.
+ details
global cropland distribution

New Landsat-Based Map of Worldwide Croplands Supports Food and Water Security

A new map was released today detailing croplands worldwide in the highest resolution yet.[]
American Oyster

Oyster Prospecting with Landsat 8

In the first study of its kind, researchers from the University of Maine have demonstrated that Landsat 8 satellite data can be used to find []
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

“We have a globally consistent, locally relevant map product that can be used in a variety of applications: estimating emissions from deforestation, modeling biodiversity, assessing protected areas, and studying forest and human health. We plan to move our record forward and backward where Landsat has a sufficiently rich archive of data.”

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

“Remote sensing with satellites such as Landsat and sensors such as MODIS allows scientists to conduct a range of studies they wouldn’t otherwise be able to.”

“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.”

“Landsat has been extremely beneficial as it allowed us to frequently evaluate the movement of the shoreline based on data gleaned from one consistent source over the duration of the study period. Further, the continued use of Landsat will allow for ongoing monitoring of the coastline in this region to ensure that potential infrastructural improvements are sustainable based on projections of near-term climate change.”

“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.”

“We show governments across the world that it makes financial sense to release broadly and openly the data that the taxpayer has already paid for. It will build your economy, it is certainly good for transparent government and, it is a boon for capacity building and education.”

“With applied conservation programs, we’re using that [Landsat] imagery to say here are the areas that we can prioritize for conservation management, and here are areas that maybe we can let go. It’s a very powerful tool for getting conservation to happen.”

“This is an example of something government can do well: investing in infrastructure that broadly benefits society, and provides a stable platform for the development of businesses and economic activity. Landsat is the data equivalent of the interstate highway system, a public good that has spawned a thriving for-profit remote sensing industry in the US and beyond.”

“Dai Yamazaki, a hydrodynamic engineer at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, calls the new [Landsat-based] imagery collection the best understanding yet of Earth’s changing surface water.”

“Without Landsat it would be essentially impossible to get good Ground Control Point locations from other sources.”

“This project would have been entirely impossible without the free and open-access data policy of the NASA/USGS Landsat-data archive.”