How to Use Data

How to Use Data

How to Use Data

Below you will find a number of resources that can help you learn how to use, process and analyze Landsat data.    


USGS How-to Video Library

This series of videos shows you how to search and download data from the USGS EarthExplorer, Glovis, LandsatLook Viewer, and more.    


Downloading Landsat 8 OLI Data and Computing NDVI in ArcGIS Pro [YouTube Video]

This AmericaView video tutorial outlines the end-to-end process of downloading Landsat 8 OLI data from the USGS GloVis website, and processing the data to produce a normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) for vegetation analysis. (Video produced by Jarlath O’Neil-Dunne; AmericaView StateView member: VermontView)  


Landsat 8 Data Users Handbook 

The Landsat 8 Data User’s Handbook is a living document prepared by USGS and NASA. Its purpose is to provide a basic understanding and associated reference material for the Landsat 8 observatory and its science data products.  

++Important TIRS calibration notice from USGS, Jan. 6, 2014: “Due to the larger calibration uncertainty associated with TIRS band 11, it is recommended that users refrain from relying on band 11 data in quantitative analysis of the TIRS data, such as the use of split window techniques for atmospheric correction and retrieval of surface temperature values.”

We suggest that Band 10 be used in conjunction with an atmospheric model to estimate surface brightness temperature. Our calibration team has found that with current processing these surface brightness temperatures are accurate to within ~±1 K for many 15 – 35° C targets, e.g., growing season vegetated targets.

 Atmospheric Correction Parameter Calculator for Landsat Thermal Bands

An atmospheric correction tool for the thermal bands of the Landsat 5 (Band 6), Landsat 7 (Band 6), and Landsat 8 (Band 10 only). It uses the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) modeled atmospheric global profiles interpolated to a particular date, time and location as input. Using MODTRAN radiative transfer code and a suite of integration algorithms, the site-specific atmospheric transmission, and upwelling and downwelling radiances are derived. These calculated parameters can be applied to single band thermal imagery from Landsat 5 TM, Landsat 7 ETM+, or Landsat 8 OLI (Band 10 only) to infer an at-surface kinetic temperature for every pixel in the scene.    


How to Interpret a Satellite Image: Five Tips and Strategies

An Earth Observatory feature article on the basics of interpreting satellite images.    


Why is that Forest Red and that Cloud Blue? How to Interpret a False-Color Satellite Image

An Earth Observatory feature article to help you understand false-color satellite images.    


How To Make a True-Color Landsat 8 Image

An Earth Observatory Elegant Figures blog post from Robert Simmon about turning Landsat 8 data into images.    


Processing Landsat 8 Using Open-Source Tools

A MapBox tutorial on downloading a Landsat 8 scene, and then using open source tools to composite, color-correct, and analyze the image.    


Landsat 7 Science Data Users Handbook

The Landsat-7 Science Data User’s Handbook is a living document prepared by the Landsat Project Science Office at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The purpose of this technical document is to provide a basic understanding of the joint NASA/USGS Landsat 7 program and to serve as a comprehensive resource for the Landsat 7 spacecraft, its payload, the ground processing system, and methodologies for rendering Landsat 7 data into a form suitable for science.    


MultiSpec ©: A Multispectral Image Data Analysis System

MultiSpec (© Purdue Research Foundation) is a free processing system for interactively analyzing Earth observational multispectral (multi-band) image data such as that produced by Landsat. MultiSpec© is a result of on-going, multiyear research intended to create a robust tool based upon the fundamental principles for analyzing multispectral and hyperspectral image data.    

Banner Image Caption: The Operational Land Imager 2 (OLI-2) aboard Landsat 9 captured this image of Croatia's second largest city, Split, on Feb. 4, 2022. Landsat 9 data is now freely available for anyone to download from USGS.