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

“By analyzing velocity estimates extracted from 30 years of Landsat data, this study highlights the complex, and sometimes counterintuitive, interplay between surface meltwater and ice motion.”

“It’s being able to go back in time for the same location, with the same program, that’s given us a tremendous amount of really valuable information… With Landsat we can do that because the archive is so rich.”

“The most unique thing about Landsat is its length of record… The ability to go back 30 years or more is something you just can’t do with any other sensor.”

“When you have Landsat you can actually show people how we are changing the face of the planet.”

“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.”

“We are looking forward to new exciting data to complement Landsat observations and to collaborative research—especially because ESA followed USGS in its open data policy.”

“In a world of scarce resources, there are distinct tradeoffs in costs and benefits of land use, and whether to conserve or convert forest to cropland. Map-based images are perhaps one of the most succinct means of helping policymakers digest complex ideas of social and economically driven environmental change.”

“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.”

“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.”

“Tropical deforestation plays a big role in global climate cycles… without the transparency of Landsat satellite data is difficult to put your finger on changing trends.”

“Science and reliable data need to be at the heart of policy decisions around the globe if we are to tackle climate change and other serious environmental challenges facing our world. It is vital that we share the trusted data that comes from Earth observation so citizens, scientists, and political leaders everywhere can most effectively work together to meet these most difficult challenges.”

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