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

Landsat cumulative acquisitions
Landsat: the Cornerstone of Global Land Imaging
Evolving technology, free data and robust calibration have helped make Landsat the cornerstone of global
+ details
Camp Fire smoke

The Synoptic View of California’s Camp Fire: A Scorching Reality of Today’s Fires

Sprawling urban fires that once plagued civilization were thought to be a thing the past—the Camp Fire let us know they are back.[]
animation of river meandering

Sharp Bends Make Rivers Meander, As Landsat Attests

Turns out, the rate of river migration is directly linked to how sharp its bends are.[]
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

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

“Another landmark program within USGS is called Landsat… USGS made a decision…to be able to open up that data, make it free, and the scientific discoveries, the articles, the access, the utility of that data just went absolutely through the roof. So it’s been a really wonderful story about how opening up scientific data allows more discovery, gets people more excited… We really do try to put our data out there in a way that it is usable by the most a…

“Continental scale applications of medium and high-resolution earth observation data are becoming increasingly important and feasible, driven largely by free and open access to the Landsat archive…the Landsat archive offers a temporal dimension for decades long retrospective analysis and ongoing monitoring capabilities.”

“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.”

“When the archive was opened, there were more Landsat images outside it than in it. Many images were retained by the global network of receiving stations. An effort to consolidate these has added more than 3 million images to the repository since 2010; agreements are in place for a further 2 million to be ingested.”

“When we showed historical Landsat and more recent high resolution images to communities and shared our analysis, people realized what they’d lost over time and wanted to engage in conversations about how to bring the forests back.”

“Landsat 8 is an incredible resource for global change research and has been used in a diverse array of scientific endeavors including the monitoring of deforestation, population growth, and glacier recession.”

“Landsat is the crown jewel of Earth Observation datasets—unique 40+ year archive.”

“The Landsat science community is giddy at the results they’re seeing from the latest Landsat instrument. It’s that much better than the last one.”

“The growth of open satellite-image archives such as Landsat is leading to more sophisticated data products.”

“It’s really by stepping back and looking at the Earth, observing these changes in their context from space, can we really understand what’s happening.”

“We cannot do this project if the Landsat program doesn’t deliver this open data to the scientific community… We are benefiting from these long-term investments now.”