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

L9 integration
Landsat 9: The Pieces Come Together
Landsat 9’s two science instruments are now attached to the spacecraft.
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the view towards Chola Glacier, beneath Cholatse peak

Landsat Reveals Expanding Plant Life in the Everest Region

Plant life is expanding in the area around Mount Everest, and across the Himalayan region, new research shows.[]
Bull Run reservoir

Fire & Water: How Wildfires Can Impact Drinking Water

Fires in forested watersheds that support drinking water supplies can introduce contaminants that overwhelm current treatment capabilities. Earth []
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

“Landsat has been producing Big Data since before data was big.”

“A new era of open-access satellite data has arrived. In 2008, The U.S. Geological Survey released for free to the public its Landsat archive, which dates back to the 1970s and is the world’s largest collection of Earth imagery.”

“Very importantly, big data and its use for societal good is based on really progressive data policies. The Landsat sensor has 40 years of data in the archive and it is available to anyone on the planet.”

“The community was very vocal regarding the value of a free and open data policy.”

“The Landsat archives were the foundation of our study. Landsat unlocks the previous three decades’ of global river changes by recording these ‘natural experiments.’ We were able to quantify the degree of accelerated migration and channel widening caused by 13 cutoff events, estimate the amount of sediment released into the channel due to the cutoffs, and infer the physical processes driving river response to cutoffs.”

“With Landsat we can see temperature of individual fields and how it varies from field-to-field. The temperature of the land surface gives us a good indication of how rapidly water is evaporating off that surface. And this is really important for knowing how healthy the crops are and also for supplying information for irrigators: how much water was used last week and how much do they need to replenish in the current week to keep the crops healthy.”

“The Landsat series of satellites is a cornerstone of our Earth observing capability. The world relies on Landsat data to detect and measure land cover/land use change, the health of ecosystems, and water availability.”

“This [Google Earth] update was made possible in a large part thanks to the Landsat program and its commitment to free and accessible open data. Landsat, a joint program of the USGS and NASA, has observed the Earth continuously from 1972 to the present day and offers a wealth of information on the changes to the Earth’s surface over time.”

“Having water consumption maps produced quickly on Smartphones has been everyone’s dream. In two years time we hope to see all farmers watching their fields from their phones and scheduling irrigations. EEEFlux is making Landsat the evapotranspiration satellite.”

“There is a sensor in the Landsat satellite which measures the intensity of the reflected radiation back into space. What if we could use satellite imagery from the Landsat program to find fossils?”

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

“Landsat pays dividends not only to the prosperity of the global economy, but also to people and planet.”