L8 image of Juneau, Alaska
Oct 30, 2014 • [Source: USGS Landsat] 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) Center. These downloads brought the total number of Landsat data downloads to more than 20 million.

This Landsat 8 scene was one of the many downloaded on September 16. It shows the area around Juneau, Alaska. Water is dark and includes Lynn Canal, the long water body in the middle of the image. Green is vegetation and forested mountain areas.

This image also provides a clear view of the Juneau Icefield. Several glaciers flow from this icefield, and glaciologists are using the 42-year Landsat archive to monitor the advance and retreat of the glaciers over time. Since Landsat 7 and Landsat 8 together provide an 8-day repeat cycle, Landsat can be an important supplement to ground-based glacier monitoring.

Scientists, students, city planners, environmental engineers, and many others have been able to use the vast archive of Landsat data free of charge to support and enhance their research. The free availability of Landsat data enables scientists to conduct large-scale global studies that would otherwise be too costly.