November 2015


Global Forest Change Map
Nov 13, 2015Free Data Proves Its Worth for Observing Earth

Since late 2008, when Landsat earth observation images were made available to all users free of charge, nearly 30 million Landsat scenes have been downloaded through the U.S. Geological Survey portal – and the rate of downloads is still increasing.

Landsat on AWS
Nov 12, 2015Half a Year, Half a Billion Landsat Data Requests

On March 19, 2015 Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced that it was hosting Landsat 8 imagery. With the help of USGS and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, AWS started with a collection of over 85,000 Landsat 8 scenes.

Great Plains photo
Nov 9, 2015Picture This: Newly Released Photo Catalog Puts U.S. Landscapes On Exhibit

The U.S. Geological Survey announced today that it has made part of a huge national repository of geographically referenced USGS field photographs publicly available. USGS geographers developed a simple, easy-to-use mapping portal called the [...]

14 Landsat Images Provided to the International Charter in October 2015
Oct 31, 201514 Landsat Images Provided to the International Charter in October 2015

The International Charter is a system that supplies free satellite imagery to emergency responders anywhere in the world.

2M Landsat 7 scene
Oct 28, 2015Landsat 7 Captures Two-Millionth Scene

Landsat 7, which launched on April 15, 1999, has been continuing to acquire land images worldwide for 16 years. Landsat 5 may hold the Guinness World Record for longest Earth-observing satellite at 28+ years, but Landsat 7 also has an impressive [...]

Matt Hansen
Oct 21, 2015Visualizing Data—Landsat at the World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum has published a talk given by Illah Nourbakhsh, professor of robotics from Carnegie Mellon and Matthew Hansen, a remote sensing specialist at the University of Maryland, that demonstrates how visualizing big data can [...]

signing of agreement
Oct 19, 2015United States and European Union Sign Cooperation Arrangement on Copernicus Earth Observation Data

The European Commission and the United States signed the “Copernicus Cooperation Arrangement” which will facilitate data sharing from the Copernicus constellation of Sentinel Earth Observation satellites among a broad spectrum of users on both [...]

Mike Taylor
Oct 16, 2015The Chesapeake Bay in 661 Million Pixels

Imagine you're flying 438 miles above the Earth taking pictures and collecting information of everything below. What do you see? Now imagine you’ve been doing this non-stop for over 40 years. Do you notice any change?

ridge-top bristlecone pine forest
Oct 5, 2015A forest by any other name?
Semantics, carbon implications, and solutions


Using the world’s first global, Landsat-based 30-meter resolution map of tree cover, researchers found that ambiguity of the term “forest” has the potential to create 13 percent discrepancies in forest area maps. While ecologists have long [...]

Typical American suburban community with model homes.
Sep 15, 2015USGS Maps Anthropogenic Land Use Trends, 1974–2012

More and more we hear the term "anthropocene" used to describe the current epoch of our planet when humankind has had a profound impact on Earth. This month, the U.S. Geological Survey has released a Landsat-based report and dataset on [...]

first image from Sentinel-2A covers the Po Valley, framed by the Alps in the north and the coastal mountains of France and Italy in the south
Jun 30, 2015Sentinel-2 Delivers First Images

Just four days after being lofted into orbit, Europe’s Sentinel-2A satellite delivered its first images of Earth, offering a glimpse of the ‘color vision’ that it will provide for the Copernicus environmental monitoring program.

graphic from the L8 data users handbook
Jun 25, 2015Landsat 8 Data Users Handbook Now Available

Landsat 8 data users will be glad to hear that the new Landsat 8 Data Users Handbook is now available online in PDF format from USGS.

Landsat & Sentinel-2 band comparison
Jun 23, 2015Sentinel-2A Launches—Our Compliments & Our Complements

The European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2A successfully launched into orbit last night from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana aboard a Vega rocket (10:52 p.m. local time; 01:52 GMT).

flooding of Nicholson River in 2009
Jun 18, 2015A New Era of Space Collaboration between Australia and U.S.

On June 18, 2015 in Canberra, Australia, the U.S. Geological Survey and Geoscience Australia signed a comprehensive new partnership to maximize land remote sensing operations and data that can help to address issues of national and international [...]

fall foliage from Landsat 8
Jun 2, 2015Technical Announcement: USGS Ups Ease of Use for Landsat Data

The USGS has begun production of higher-level (more highly processed) Landsat data products to help advance land surface change studies. One such product is Landsat surface reflectance data.

the sound of deforestation
May 28, 2015The Sound of Deforestation, A Hack to Make Data Sing

In his lightning talk Lagomasino proposed a challenge to help study deforestation by linking satellite imagery and ground-images gathered via crowdsourcing

Dr. Martin O'Leary
May 22, 2015Here’s Looking at You Landsat, via @LandsatBot

Dr. Martin O'Leary is a glaciologist with Wales' Swansea University. He spends most of his time modeling glacier movements and from time-to-time he uses Landsat data to check things out, to get a lay of the land—or glacier. As a pet project he [...]

Data processing, TOA, SR of Mt. Vesuvius image
Apr 20, 2015USGS Fact Sheet on Landsat Surface Reflectance Data Available

In support of the guidelines established through the Global Climate Observing System, the U.S. Geological Survey has embarked on production of higher-level Landsat data products to support land surface change studies. One such product is Landsat [...]

Landsat mosaic of Australia
Mar 31, 2015Holding the Key—Australia Unlocks Its Landsat Archive

In Australia, the Unlocking the Landsat Archive (ULA) project has created a "living and accessible" archive of Landsat 5 and 7 data, for years 1998–2012.

Server farm at Google
Mar 26, 2015Big Data Helps Scientists Dig Deeper

In 2008, the U.S. Geological Survey took 3.6 million images acquired by Landsat satellites and made them free and openly available on the Internet.

Earth data
Mar 26, 2015More Ways to Get Landsat Data

Last Thursday, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced that it is now hosting Landsat 8 imagery on its publicly accessible Simple Storage Service (S3).

vicarious calibration
Mar 25, 2015Landsat and the Private Tech Sector: Direct and Complementary Uses of Imagery

Landsat is a key data input for many products developed and used in water resources, agricultural monitoring, land use and land cover monitoring, forest management, and development planning.

TIRS
Mar 16, 2015L8 TIRS Data Processing Resumed

On March 13, 2015 at 4:00 pm CT, processing of Landsat 8 Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) data resumed. The newly processed data includes the revised Calibration Parameter Files established after the mechanism control electronics (MCE) swap on [...]

TIRS
Mar 6, 2015TIRS Resumes Nominal Operations

The Landsat 8 Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) resumed normal imaging operations.

The LDCM Thermal Infrared Sensor
Feb 26, 2015Landsat 8 Thermal Sensor Update

After extensive investigation and testing, the decision has been made to switch the TIRS Mechanism Control Electronics from the primary to redundant side on Monday, March 2, 2015.

energy reaching TIRS
Feb 19, 2015Landsat 8 Remote Sensing Special Issue

A trio of Landsat calibration scientists—Brian Markham (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center), Jim Storey (Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies for USGS EROS) and Ron Morfitt (USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science Center) Landsat 8 Special Issue [...]

Previous NLCD (2001) Alaska land cover product
Feb 18, 2015A Decade of Change in America’s Arctic: New Land Cover Data Released for Alaska

The latest edition of the National Land Cover Dataset (NLCD 2011) for Alaska is now publicly available. The extensive NLCD database continues to add to our understanding of where land cover change has occurred across the Nation over time. [...]

Elephant Foot Glacier
Feb 18, 2015Landsat Goes Over The Top: A Long View of the Arctic

On February 11, 2013, the Landsat 8 satellite rocketed into space to extend a four-decade legacy of Earth observations. A few months after launch, we published a composite of images that spanned 9,000 kilometers of land from Russia to South [...]

Landsat 8 Beauty Shot
Feb 11, 2015Landsat 8 at 2 years

Two years ago today, Landsat 8 blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base!

Now & Then: The History of Portrait U.S.A.
Jan 29, 2015Now & Then: The History of Portrait U.S.A.

USGS released provisional Landsat surface reflectance products in December. Surface reflectance products correct for atmospheric distortions thereby providing “less hazy” images.

Moore and Surui chief
Jan 28, 2015Wrangling a Petabyte of Data to Better View the Earth

When viewed from space, clouds largely obscure the Earth. It isn’t a matter of time of day, angle or distance. It’s just the way it is – unless, of course, you are gazing at the planet using Google Earth. The story of how Google Earth offers [...]

USGS Landsat 8 TIRS Update
Jan 27, 2015USGS Landsat 8 TIRS Update

On December 19 the TIRS instrument on Landsat 8 was reconfigured due to detection of anomalous current levels associated with the scene select mirror encoder electronics. Since that time substantial testing has been conducted to isolate the root [...]

Landsat Seen as Stunning Return on Public Investment
Jan 15, 2015Landsat Seen as Stunning Return on Public Investment

Orbiting Earth more than 400 miles away in space, far from human view; recording repeated images of land around the globe for more than 42 years; offering customers petabytes of historical and current data for free, the Landsat program of Earth [...]

cloudless satellite composite image
Dec 23, 2014Mapbox: Innovating with Landsat

Mapbox is a cloud-based map platform startup that creates custom maps with open source tools. The team at Mapbox consists of over fifty cartographers, data analysts and software engineers, located in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, [...]

Landsat data stack
Dec 9, 2014Unleashing Climate Data and Innovation for more Resilient Ecosystems

Ecosystems provide vast services and benefits to humankind: food and water that is needed for survival; nutrients and other natural products that fuel farms and industries; natural controls on many pests and pathogens; storage of carbon safely [...]

L8 image of Juneau, Alaska
Oct 30, 2014Over 20 Million Landsat Scenes Downloaded

Since 2008, all Landsat data—archived and newly acquired—have been available for free download. On September 16, 2014, users worldwide downloaded over 14,000 scenes from the servers at the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) [...]

saturation event
Oct 14, 2014Keeping Cal

The Landsat calibration team published a number of papers in the SPIE Conference Volume 9218: Earth Observing Systems XIX. Our calibration team (or cal team) is a group of scientists and engineers who work together to ensure the scientific [...]

20 Million and Counting
Sep 19, 201420 Million and Counting

The USGS Landsat project reported on twitter today that Landsat data downloads have hit the 20 million marker this week.

Landsat coverage density
Sep 3, 2014A Call for Open Access Earth Observations

This month in Nature, an emphatic plea to make more Earth satellite imagery free was made by Michael Wulder, a senior research scientist with the Canadian Forest Service and Landsat Science Team member; along with Nicholas Coops, a remote [...]

Ivanpah Valley
Aug 28, 2014Sun Seekers Unite in Ivanpah Playa

On public land in the Ivanpah Valley near the California/Nevada border, the world’s largest concentrated solar thermal plant sprawls across the desert landscape. Just on the other side of Interstate 15 (the long straight diagonal line) is the [...]

Taking Landsat 8 to the Beach
Aug 22, 2014Taking Landsat 8 to the Beach

Some things go perfectly with a summer trip to the coast: sunscreen, mystery novels, cold beverages, and sand castles. Other things—like algae blooms or polluted runoff—are a lot less appealing. The newest generation of Landsat satellite is [...]

WELD 2010 global collection
Jul 18, 2014Web-Enabled Landsat Data (aka WELD) Going Global

The Web-Enabled Landsat Data (WELD) project has released prototype global data sets for climate year 2010. The data sets are available as both monthly and annual 30m products generated from Landsat 5 and 7 data.

Rebecca Moore
Jul 2, 2014Maps for Good: Saving Trees and Saving Lives with Petapixel-Scale Computing

Google has leveraged the massive amount of data collected about our planet from space over the last four-plus decades—Landsat being one of the key data sets. In this video, Google Earth Engine founder Rebecca Moore shares how Google Earth began [...]

Landsat 8 Daily Imaging Rate to Increase
May 21, 2014Landsat 8 Daily Imaging Rate to Increase

During the 2014 Northern Hemisphere growing season the daily imaging rate will be gradually increased to optimize Landsat 8’s science data collection.

CLASlite team
Mar 7, 2014Carnegie Landsat Analysis System-lite (CLASlite) Classroom Launches in Spanish

On March 4, 2014, the CLASlite team at the Carnegie Institution for Science (Department of Global Ecology) launched the Spanish version of the Carnegie Landsat Analysis System-lite (or CLASlite) Classroom, hosted by Stanford University Online [...]

Lunar image from OLI March
Feb 28, 2014Landsat 8 Images Earth’s Biggest Satellite—Check it Out

Landsat 8 was built to do something none of its predecessors had done before: look at the Moon. You may ask why an Earth-observing mission would want to image Earth’s natural orbiting celestial body. Well, it all goes back to getting good data [...]

Landsat 8: Good Things, Getting Better
Feb 18, 2014Landsat 8: Good Things, Getting Better

It’s hard to believe a year has passed since the launch of Landsat 8. This first anniversary is going to be an exciting, upbeat celebration because the new satellite is meeting, if not exceeding, all expectations. “Landsat 8 is nearly perfect,” [...]

L7 velocity graphic
Feb 12, 2014Recent Landsat 7 Maneuvers Affect WRS Footprints

On January 9, 2014, the USGS executed a delta-velocity (Delta-V) maneuver to pre-position Landsat 7 for a larger delta-inclination (Delta-I) maneuver used to maintain the satellite’s mean local crossing time.

Landsat SR CDR products
Feb 6, 2014Landsat Surface Reflectance Fact Sheet Available from USGS

Landsat Surface Reflectance Climate Data Records (CDRs) are high level Landsat data products that support land surface change studies. Climate Data Records, as defined by the National Research Council, are a time series of measurements with [...]

Landsat 7 Acquisitions to be Interrupted
Feb 3, 2014Landsat 7 Acquisitions to be Interrupted

No Landsat 7 data will be acquired beginning at 8:30 a.m. CT on Tuesday, February 4, 2014, until about 2:15 p.m CT on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 due to a Delta-I (Inclination) maneuver.