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

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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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 []
Lake Havasu 1911 map

Geographia

Journey with us into the cartographic past. Latest look: Creating an Oasis in the Desert: Lake Havasu City, Arizona, 1911 []

Landsat 8 sketch

“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.”

“Landsat 8 can collect more than 700 images per day—14 times as much as in the 1980s.”

“The Landsat mission has been monitoring Earth from orbit for more than 40 years. It is by far the longest continuous record of the surface of the planet, and certainly one of the most valuable data sets in existence.”

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

“I really believe that Landsat data made a change in how we perceive global change. All of the things we have done so far would not have been possible without the unique Landsat dataset”

“The resolution of Landsat imagery and the size of the Landsat database enables critical insight for scalable, high resolution flood detection in several key ways… This increased resolution is particularly critical in urban areas.”

“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.”

“With applied conservation programs, we’re using that [Landsat] imagery to say here are the areas that we can prioritize for conservation management, and here are areas that maybe we can let go. It’s a very powerful tool for getting conservation to happen.”

“We started with all of the Landsat images from the beginning of the [30-meter resolution era of the] Landsat program, so we could go back to 1984 and show how the surface of the planet had changed. It shows the changes in cities, the birth of cities. It shows flooding. It shows things like deforestation. It shows the incredible expansion of agriculture. There’s just so many things you get from that data set.”

“The Landsat data record has been key to the Intertidal Extents Model methodology. Having such an extensive and dense time series of data has enabled us to partition the data into discrete tidal stages, and still be able to deal with issues such as cloud and cloud shadow—that is particularly crucial when dealing with the different conditions we encounter across the continent.”

“We have recognized for the first time that we’re not just going to do one more, then stop, but that Landsat is actually a long-term monitoring activity, like the weather satellites, that should go on in perpetuity.”

“Anything that’s historic, it’s got to be Landsat. In temporal depth, Landsat is really the only game in town.”