Careers Using Landsat

Do you like exploring and viewing Earth from space? Do you like using satellite images, maps and other geospatial data? Do you like thinking in terms of systems and relationships? If so, you may want to investigate some of the ideas below to find out how you can build or enhance a career using Landsat and other geospatial technologies.

    • Climate Scientists – Landsat data reveals how glaciers are shrinking, how shorelines are changing, where deforestation is occurring, and how some ecosystems are changing in response to climate.


    • Disaster Mitigation Specialists – Specialists use Landsat to quantify the extent of floods, assess the impacts of hurricanes, tornadoes, and drought, and to map the extent of volcanic eruptions


    • Earth System Scientists – Many scientists in geography, geology, and atmospheric sciences integrate Landsat with other data to model past and future changes on local, regional, and continental scales. Such models help to inform people today who may be profoundly affected by change in the future.


    • Ecologists – Researchers use Landsat to map ecosystems, to track species distributions, and to help assess the effectiveness of ecosystem restoration projects.


    • Educators – Educators can use Landsat imagery to illustrate changes on the land, to talk about climate change, or to help students understand the carbon cycle and other Earth science processes. Science, social studies, and mathematics can be integrated to help students quantify and understand changes in their own landscapes over time.


    • Energy Experts – Such specialists use Landsat to locate oil, natural gas, geothermal vents, and uranium deposits; to monitor surface mines and reclamation efforts, and to mitigate harmful ecological impacts from hydroelectric dams.


    • Farmers – Owners of large farms and ranches, universities, and federal agencies use Landsat data to monitor the health of crops and to predict crop yield.


    • Foresters – After a forest fire, researchers can assess the severity and extent of the impact. Special recovery crews can identify where the burn has been most severe, and target those areas for mitigation. Foresters can predict timber yield and can assess damage from pests such as the pine bark beetle.


    • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialists – Conservation groups, civil engineers and city planners integrate Landsat data with other data to gain an in-depth spatial understanding of their areas and to identify creative ways to solve the problems of urbanization.


    • Historians – Landsat’s more than 40-year record, shows changes in Earth’s lands around the world over time. Historians can use these images to tell the stories of landscapes and peoples around the world.


    • Natural Resource Managers – Both government and private land management agencies use Landsat data to help them monitor and manage their resources and track ways that ecosystems are changing over time.


    • Programmers – Have you ever used Google maps? Landsat contributes to these maps and to many other mapping programs.


  • Water Resource Managers – Irrigation specialists, farmers and land managers use data from Landsat to quantify water use by a given farming field or rangeland. Other water authorities monitor the sizes of reservoirs, lakes, and rivers, and some use Landsat to assess water quality.

Job Seeker Resources




  • – a website targeted at young adults seeking employment in natural resources (managed by DOI and USDA)