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

a smelly HAB
Satellites on Toxic Algae Patrol
Increasingly, water managers are turning to satellites like Landsat to monitor inland waters.
+ details
results of mega fire

Fires, Floods and Satellite Views: Modeling the Boreal Forest’s Future

The 2014 megafires in Canada’s Northwest Territories burned 7 million acres of forest, making it one of the most severe fire events in Canadian []
Cape Code National Seashore

Landsat-based Global Study of World’s Beaches Shows Threat to Protected Areas

Using 30 years of Landsat data, a team of scientists and engineers from the Netherlands determined how Earth’s sandy beaches are changing.[]
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

“From now on, we’re going to be able to track all of the different types of changes in glaciers – there’s so much science to extract from the data.”

“I saw more use of Landsat as the gold standard of calibration than I’ve ever seen in the past. Most of the commercial vendors I heard from called out Landsat as the gold standard. Even the European vendors called out Landsat, which I thought was unique.”

“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…

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

“Thanks to its detailed spatial resolution, Landsat made the estimation of small reservoirs’ surface area possible.”

“We have mapped then analyzed the area of forest converted each year to industrial oil palm and pulpwood plantations from 2001 to 2016, looking mainly at land under company management – that is, concessions. We use LANDSAT satellite imagery to monitor the annual expansion of plantations. We combine this information with annual maps of forest loss also derived using LANDSAT satellites by Matthew Hansen’s research group at the University of Maryland. The Han…

“Landsat is the oldest continually operated program of its kind: Its satellites have been capturing images of the Earth since the Nixon administration.”

“The US satellite series—its current flier is named Landsat 8—pioneered the science of monitoring the planet from orbit. It has assembled a continuous record of the world’s fluctuating features that stretches back more than 40 years. In satellite terms, it is the gold standard.”

“Within Australia, Earth Observation is so commonly used across all levels of government, industry and society that the minimum economic impact of Earth Observation from space-borne sensors alone is approximately $5.3 billion each year [Australian $; ~4.15B US$].”

“When fighting broke out, the [New York Times] graphics team pulled up images from [the] Landsat 8 satellite to look for changes on the ground.”

“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.”

“Landsat provides a global view of the the worlds alpine glaciers and enables us to track their retreat in ways that would be difficult without this important environmental time series.”