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

Cousteau and his team during the experiment
“Go Now!” Aboard the Calypso During the 1975 NASA–Cousteau Expedition to See the Bottom of the Ocean from Space
In August 1975, Jacques Cousteau and his divers helped determine if Landsat could measure the depth of
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hummingbird

Getting a Bird’s-Eye View of Biodiversity with Landsat

This bird’s-eye view of the relationship between temperature and bird biodiversity will help conservationists figure out where to prioritize []
grapes

Raising a Glass in Wine Country to Better Water Management

Grape growers like Gallo are using data from Earth-observing satellites to better track soil and vine moisture levels, understand vine water use []

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

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

“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.”

“There are more than 800 billion Landsat-derived pixels of land in our imagery. If we printed out just our Landsat-based world map at poster resolution, it would cover two acres.”

“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…

“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 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.”

“We’ve got this data of every field, of every country…. the archive is just going to continue to yield good information, good science, better management, reduce costs. It’s incredible.”

“I am a big fan of Landsat 8 satellite images as a resource when making maps.”

“Population in 1972… was around 4 billion people. When we launched Landsat 8 there was 7 billion people on the surface of the planet. Due to those factors our land use and land cover has changed dramatically and continues to change and we use the information and the images from the Landsat satellites to understand the change, to study the trends, and to predict the future.”

“What makes this [Landsat 8] mission team special is the fervor they brought to task. They were challenged to retain the historic data continuity, yet take advantage of new technology while balancing cost and complexity. Few, if any, missions face such a challenge with such consequences on the line. After more than a decade of dedication, this Team launched a new sensor that was more sensitive and robust than previous sensors, and provided not only data co…

“Free and open access to the Landsat archive has already spurred scientific innovation and provided a foundation for REDD+ monitoring, reporting and verification.”

“Until we made the map of coral reefs with Landsat 7, global maps of reefs had not improved a lot since the amazing maps that Darwin drafted.”