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

NPS Kenai Fjords map
National Park Service Cartographer Tom Patterson Talks Landsat
National Park Service cartographer Tom Patterson’s mapmaking process often
+ details
erosion along Alaska's coastline

New Study Provides the First Comprehensive, Long-term Look at Alaska’s Changing Ecosystems

This is the first study to document more than three decades of land and water changes across Alaska.[]
dead red gum trees

Rain Showers, Flowers, and Floods—Understanding How Vegetation Responds to Flooding and Drought in Australia’s Breadbasket

Using a quarter century of Landsat data, geospatial researchers have mapped and modeled how vegetation responds to water availability across the []
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

“The issue of forest disturbance could not have been addressed without our analysis of Landsat Time-series Stacks”

“Landsat has given us a critical perspective on our planet over the long term and will continue to help us understand the big picture of Earth and its changes from space. With this view we are better prepared to take action on the ground and be better stewards of our home.”

“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.”

“Satellite technologies have led to one of the most productive periods in the history of cartography, comparable only to the golden age of mapmaking in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.”

“The Landsat archive holds great potential for studying the processes behind the Greenland Ice Sheet’s response to our changing climate over multi-decadal time scales. It is essential that this record be exploited over other areas of the Greenland Ice Sheet.”

“Nothing is harder to image than the past. It is imperative that all Landsat observations are archived and made available to users.”

“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.”

“Landsat is the only satellite data archive that allows the quantification of vegetation and flooding dynamics relationships across such a large area. Key features unique to the Landsat archive that are paramount for our work include the archive’s temporal depth and detail provided by over a quarter century of systematically acquired time series of imagery at management-relevant spatial resolution.”

“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 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.”

“Landsat is currently the only satellite program to provide a consistent, cross-calibrated set of records stretching back over more than four decades, which in turn means the program occupies a key position in the provision of terrestrial essential climate variables.”