Quotes to Note

“If you really want to have a long history of understanding any process in the Earth, Landsat is where you should go.”

— Tasso Azevedo, MapBiomas Initiative
April 19, 2021 •

“Without Landsat we would not have the record we have today about deforestation and changing agriculture across a vast and important biome.”

— Doug Morton, Chief of the Biospheric Sciences Lab at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
April 19, 2021 •

“The value of the Landsat archive is that we have a long-term memory of the changes that have occurred across the Amazon frontier.”

— Doug Morton, Chief of the Biospheric Sciences Lab at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
April 19, 2021 •

“Landsat satellite data are the most important source we have about how much deforestation happens each year across the Amazon.”

— Doug Morton, Chief of the Biospheric Sciences Lab at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
April 19, 2021 •

“Landsat is indispensable for Timelapse in Google Earth—and so much more. Thank you @USGSLandsat @NASA_Landsat program, the world’s only long-term, continuous, data record of the entire Earth’s land surfaces dating back to 1972.”

— @googleearth
April 15, 2021 •

“Landsat provides an unparalleled record of how terrestrial Earth has changed since the early 1970s, closely coinciding with the beginning of rapid environmental change. It provides important historical context for the current state of land cover and land use and provides a reference for identifying abnormal types and rates of change.”

— Justin Braaten, Google Earth Engine technical writer/coder
March 25, 2021 •

“I’m grateful that NASA, USGS, and scientists like William Pecora had the foresight to begin collecting Earth observations a half century ago.”

— Justin Braaten, Google Earth Engine technical writer/coder
March 25, 2021 •

Justin Braaten has the Code

“The first step of ecosystem accounting is to actually map the dynamics of ecosystems over time.”

— Celio De Sousa; NASA research scientist who uses Landsat data to create countrywide land cover maps
March 11, 2021 •

“I do sleep, but I dream of Landsat!”

— Justin Braaten, data scientist and prolific Google Earth Engine coder
February 25, 2021 •

“Without Landsat, we’d still be in the Dark Ages of tracking global forest carbon using spreadsheet models.”

— Dr. Nancy Harris, Global Forest Watch
February 11, 2021 •

“The Landsat Program continues to be one of the most valuable, respected, and referenced Earth observation programs in the world.”

— Ellie Leydsman McGinty, UtahView State Coordinator
January 27, 2021 •

Mapping Landsat's Long History

“That is one cool thing about Landsat… people are always finding new applications.”

— Jeff Masek, Landsat 9 Project Scientist
December 17, 2020 •

“This global census can help identify other lakes in need of monitoring or remediation, Dr. Shugar said. ‘We hope that it allows governments to see where the hot spots might be for glacial lakes growing in the future.'”

— Dan Shugar, glaciologist at the University of Calgary, speaking of his Landsat-based glacial lake inventory
October 2, 2020 •

“Whether it’s since 1985 or 2000, we see this greening of the Arctic evident in the Landsat record.”

— Logan Berner, a global change ecologist, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff
September 23, 2020 •

Warming Temperatures are Driving Arctic Greening; NASA

“The success of a mission, and the societal benefits it creates, relies on many factors, including design, manufacture, launch, and operation of the sensor. However, it also includes data acquisition, accessibility, availability, and continuity, all of which are embodied by the Landsat program.”

— Yuan et al.
August 1, 2020 •

“The really unique part about the Landsat record is the fact that it goes back to the ’70s. I can’t imagine what it would be like to describe what this volcano did without having a timeseries of Landsat. There is no other asset in the sky that can show us what Landsat does in terms of the effect of this eruption and also the effect of recovery following the eruption.”

— Sean Healey, research ecologist, Rocky Mountain Research Service, U.S. Forest Service
May 18, 2020 •

40 Years After Mount St. Helens’ Eruption, 40 Years of Forest Recovery

“There is no other asset in the sky that can show us what Landsat does in terms of the effect of this eruption and also the effect of recovery following the eruption.”

— Dr. Sean Healy, U.S. Forest Service
May 18, 2020 •

“I can’t imagine what it would be like to describe what this volcano did without having a time series of Landsat.”

— Dr. Sean Healy, U.S. Forest Service
May 18, 2020 •

“Land cover is fundamental for a plethora of applications. Approaches using #Landsat time series have been transformative.”

— Dr. Joanne C. White, Research Scientist, Canadian Forest Service
May 6, 2020 •

“Thanks to satellites and to science, we now know much more about Earth than we did on the first Earth Day fifty years ago.”

— Dr. Michael Freilich, former director of NASA’s Earth Science division
April 30, 2020 •

“I don’t think there’s any question about how important and how valuable MSS is.”

— Dr. Warren Cohen, U.S. Forest Service, Landsat Science Team former member
April 28, 2020 •

Making Use of MSS: The Effort to Fold the Earliest Data into the Landsat Record, USGS EROS

“Because Landsat’s been operating for so long—thermal imaging has been enabled since the 1980s—we can study how patterns in water use have changed over the landscape over long periods of time as the climate has changed and as land use patterns have changed. So Landsat has been really a critical sensor for our work.”

— Dr. Martha Anderson, USDA Researchers and Landsat Science Team Member
April 22, 2020 •

“The archive is just going to continue to yield good information, good science, better management, reduced costs… The biggest contribution of Landsat will be that archive.”

— Dr. John Schott, professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology
April 17, 2020 •

“You can launch a new satellite, but you can’t put something up in the past. Landsat will always be that historic record that new satellites can tie themselves to.”

— Dr. Michael Wulder, Canadian Forest Service and Landsat Science Team member
March 13, 2020 •

“@USGSLandsat @NASA_Landsat wrote the book on open data, how to do it right, how it creates businesses and benefits economy, and — of course — gifts the world with a 4+ decade *scientific* record of our planet’s changing dynamics.”

— Chris Herwig, Google GeoData Engineer, on 100 millionth Landsat download from USGS
March 11, 2020 •

“A 35-year dataset in marine biology is really hard to find… But we need long-term data to understand climate change and how it impacts populations. This was an exponential increase in the amount of information available about kelp forests in Oregon.”

— Sara Hamilton, OSU marine biologist , on the importance of Landsat data for her work
March 5, 2020 •

“Using Landsat images, an epidemiologist can build dynamic prediction models that take into account sudden environmental changes which may increase the risk of disease spread.”

— Dr. Donal Bisanzio, senior epidemiologist with RTI International
March 5, 2020 •

“By analyzing 34 years of [Landsat] data, we estimated that about 56% of the rivers globally are affected by seasonal ice [and] that there is 2.5 percentage points decline of river ice globally during this time.”

— Xiao Yang, paleoclimatologist, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
February 25, 2020 •

“Even though I have a book coming out about the Moon Landing, I’ll say it: Landsat is likely the greatest, most impactful, yet under-appreciated, accomplishment of the entire space age.”

— Dr. Danny Bednar, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography, Western University
January 22, 2020 •

“The results of the Scopus bibliometric analysis indicate that inland water quality remote sensing has been growing dramatically since its introduction in the 1970s…The most pronounced year-on-year jump occurs right after 2008, which corresponds to the public release of freely available Landsat imagery by NASA and the US Geological Survey…This result is consistent with previous research showing that for multiple earth observation fields, the release of the Landsat archive resulted in more frequent and larger-scale studies.”

— Simon N. Topp et al., 2020
January 7, 2020 •

“The opening of the Landsat archive in 2008 was pivotal… We now have the best available map of disturbances for the United States.”

— Sean Healey, an ecologist with the USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station
December 23, 2019 •

“By combining the 34-year record provided by Landsat [30 m] with climate data, we can now quantify relations between water availability and vegetation dynamics in ways that were not previously possible.”

— Dr. Christine Albano, ecohydrologist at the Desert Research Institute
December 13, 2019 •

“The availability and accessibility of remotely sensed digital imagery obtained from Landsat satellites allow coastal scientist—and more importantly community members—the opportunity to map, evaluate and continuously monitor shoreline movement at regular intervals given the unprecedented pace of Arctic climate change.”

— Dr. Ravi Darwin Sankar, geologist with the Arctic Institute of North America & the University of Calgary in Canada
December 12, 2019 •

“Landsat fit all our criteria, and best of all it was free and very easy to download and work with.”

— Dr. Emily Fairfax, Assistant Professor in the department of Environmental Science and Resource Management at California State University Channel Islands
December 11, 2019 •

“Landsat makes it possible to compare images over almost 5 decades and makes the role of climate change unmistakable in this incredibly beautiful mountainous part of Alaska.”

— Dr. Christopher Shuman, glaciologist with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and the University of Maryland at Baltimore County
December 11, 2019 •

“There is no satellite record that has the temporal reach of Landsat. While new satellite- and aircraft-based sensors are coming online with sub-meter resolution offering more and more spectral bands, none of them allow the types of temporal investigation that the combined generations of Landsat offer.”

— Dr. Zachary Brecheisen, post-doctoral research associate at Purdue University
December 10, 2019 •

“The long-term acquisition plan of the Landsat mission provides a unique and invaluable dataset for tracking multi-decadal changes in the density and distribution of mangroves at continental scales.”

— Dr. Leo Lymburner, Landsat Science Team Member
December 4, 2019 •

“Landsat has been one of the only ways we can directly measure the global food supply.”

— Brad Doorn, program manager for NASA’s Applied Sciences Water Resources and Agriculture Research at NASA Headquarters in Washington
November 27, 2019 •

“During abnormal growing seasons or natural disasters, satellites shine. Landsat is a robust and independent way to validate what our statistics are telling us.”

— Rick Mueller, Head of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, or NASS Spatial Analysis Research Section and manager of the Cropland Data Layer Program in Washington.
November 27, 2019 •

“Landsat is the longest civil satellite data collection we have. The USGS opening the archive has created opportunities for instructors like us to integrate students.”

— Ramesh Sivanpilla, University of Wyoming
October 29, 2019 •

“The Landsat time series is so convenient and easy to use and has triggered science that was not possible a few decades ago.”

— Zhe Zhu, Assistant Professor of Natural Resources and the Environment at UConn & 2018-2023 Landsat Science Team member
September 18, 2019 •

“Landsat’s thermal data is critical for tracking water use in the western United States, where rainfall can be short in supply and managing water resources is critical to ensuring a sustainable supply for farmers, cities, and natural ecosystems.”

— Bruce Cook, NASA Landsat 9 deputy project scientist
August 23, 2019 •

“[T]he case for open data is more than proven by Landsat and Copernicus. Many innovative applications using these datasets are the dividends that benefit the taxpayer.”

— Arup Dasgupta
August 5, 2019 •

“The Landsat collection 1 datasets represent a milestone in remote sensing science, with comparatively stable radiometric calibration and atmospheric correction.”

— Bruce Cook, NASA Landsat 9 deputy project scientist
July 1, 2019 •

“The Landsat archive enables us to develop products that tackle problems and address issues at a continental scale. For a country the size of Australia, this would simply not be possible without free and open access to the full time-series that the Landsat archive provides.”

— Dr. Stephen Sagar, Aquatic Remote Sensing Project Leader at Geoscience Australia
June 27, 2019 •

More than Naught: The Z of Where Land Meets Sea

“I am a big fan of Landsat 8 satellite images as a resource when making maps.”

— Tom Patterson, National Park Service cartographer
June 13, 2019 •

“The community was very vocal regarding the value of a free and open data policy.”

— Frank Avila, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and National Geospatial Advisory Committee member
June 12, 2019 •

“You can see the changes of your orchard over time & over space, and by measuring the canopy temperature [with Landsat] you can see whether the canopy is in balance with the rest of the environment around the trees.”

— Dr. Daniele Zaccaria, UC Davis
June 6, 2019 •

“As a researcher with a limited budget, using the Landsat data for free made this project possible. The global geographic range together with free availability ensures that our study could potentially be repeated in other countries.”

— Kristine Engemann, Department of Bioscience at Aarhus University in Denmark
May 22, 2019 •

“Our mapping techniques build on the historical Landsat record to provide highly needed information on regional scale and this helps in evaluating subtle changes in mangroves over a long period of time (trends) and to detect sudden changes due to natural catastrophes or dramatic anthropogenic impacts… [and] Thanks to the increased abundance of Landsat satellite images, it is becoming progressively easier to collect available images of mangrove habitats captured at low tide and high tide.”

— Hesham El-Askary, Center of Excellence in Earth Systems Modeling & Observations and Schmid College of Science and Technology, Chapman University
May 9, 2019 •

“Global Forest Watch’s ability to take advantage of Landsat imagery to produce a global forest monitoring platform highlights why remote sensing has become such a revolutionary technology. The imagery has achieved a state-of-the-art quality—NASA’s Landsat data is delivered in 30x30meter squares and has been for the past 40 years. Beyond this, it has been made radically accessible. Since 2008, anyone has been able to view and download the data from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) website free of charge, which has made satellite imagery a primary tool for forest and land cover monitoring. Without it, GFW would not be possible.”

— Sarah Ruiz, writer/editor at Global Forest Watch
April 11, 2019 •

“Without the free and open Landsat data policy, a lot of commercial applications wouldn’t be feasible and a lot of commercial companies—including GDA—would be very different than they are.”

— Dmitry L. Varlyguin, Geospatial Data Analysis Corp. Vice President & Chief Scientist
April 9, 2019 •

“Landsat data is hugely important for society, science, and technology.”

— Zhe Zhu, Assistant Professor of Natural Resources and the Environment at UConn & 2018-2023 Landsat Science Team member
March 8, 2019 •

“Landsat is an invaluable tool for people working in our field of community wildfire safety.”

— Zeke Lunder, a pyrogeographer and founder of Deer Creek GIS
February 19, 2019 •

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

“During the decade following 1969, a singular development catapulted computer mapping: the launch of Landsat by NASA and the U.S. Department of the Interior in July 1972.”

— Joe Francica
December 31, 2018 •

“You need decades of data to say that a change in kelp is due to climate change rather than other cyclical factors, with Landsat, we have those data.”

— Luba Reshitnyk, Hakai geographer
December 6, 2018 •

“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.”

— Greg Stensaas, manager of the Requirements, Capabilities and Analysis for Earth Observation (RCA-EO) project and JACIE coordinator for EROS
October 5, 2018 •

“Landsat pays dividends not only to the prosperity of the global economy, but also to people and planet.”

— Jay Neuner
October 4, 2018 •

“Landsat is proof-positive of the value of Earth observation data, and particularly open access to Earth observation data.”

— Jay Neuner
October 4, 2018 •

“We cannot replace Landsat with Copernicus. In fact the programs complement each other. The world has been benefitting from Landsat data for the past 40 years now. It is really a unique and extremely valuable data source that has provided knowledge and understanding of the planet.”

— Josef Aschbacher, Director of EO Programs, European Space Agency
October 3, 2018 •
— Laura Buchheit, National Park Service Ranger
October 19, 2022 •

The Satellite Stewards of Glacier Bay

— Danielle Rappaport, scientist and co-founder of the Amazon Investor Coalition
August 11, 2022 •