“Landsat has given us a critical perspective on our planet over the long term and will continue to help us understand the big picture of Earth and its changes from space. With this view we are better prepared to take action on the ground and be better stewards of our home.”

“Having Landsat 9 in progress, and a long-term commitment to sustainable land imaging, is great for natural resource science and for data-driven industries such as precision agriculture and insurance.”

“Thanks to its detailed spatial resolution, Landsat made the estimation of small reservoirs’ surface area possible.”

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

“We would not have been able to complete this research without Landsat’s free and open data policy.”

“That’s the beauty of Landsat—it allows us to quantify these spatial patterns that are of high interest to water managers.”

“Usage rocketed in 2008, when Landsat made its images free. More than a million images were downloaded in the first year, compared with a previous annual high of 25,000 images sold. More than 20 million images have been downloaded since the archive opened and the rate continues to increase.”

“We are looking forward to new exciting data to complement Landsat observations and to collaborative research—especially because ESA followed USGS in its open data policy.”

“The Landsat data record has been key to the Intertidal Extents Model methodology. Having such an extensive and dense time series of data has enabled us to partition the data into discrete tidal stages, and still be able to deal with issues such as cloud and cloud shadow—that is particularly crucial when dealing with the different conditions we encounter across the continent.”

“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.”

“A growing archive of Landsat images allow us to see how quickly icesheets are changing.”

“We have recognized for the first time that we’re not just going to do one more, then stop, but that Landsat is actually a long-term monitoring activity, like the weather satellites, that should go on in perpetuity.”

“Last year the White House found that GPS, weather satellites, and Landsat are the three most critical types of Earth-orbiting assets for civil applications, because they’re used by many economic sectors and fields of research.”

“What a Landsat it is! The data are strikingly good and the delivery system is flawless. Landsat 8 arrives just as Landsat data use has exploded under the free data policy and the ability to deliver geolocated and atmospherically-corrected products… new and exciting applications are being revealed daily.”

“The analysis enabled by Landsat heat data provides a foundation for planning and problem solving. Without the data, we’re just guessing about what interventions work best to mitigate hot spots… unraveling the complexity of urban heat will ultimately help us build better cities and improve residents’ quality of life.”

“The Landsat satellites have also proved to be very useful, particularly for trying to do more detailed, finer-scale risk mapping.”

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

“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.”

“I’d go to meetings and people were just jumping up and down because they had discovered another use for the data.”

“By seeing in electromagnetic increments beyond the normal range of human vision, Landsat revealed whole new worlds hidden within the folds of a familiar world we thought we knew so well.”

“To make accurate machine learning models of major crops, we needed decades of satellite imagery from the entire globe. Thanks to Google Earth Engine hosting the entire Landsat archive publicly on Google Cloud, we can focus on algorithms instead of worrying about collecting petabytes of data. Earth observation will continue to improve with every new satellite launch and so will our ability to forecast global food supply.”

“We looked at satellite images taken by the NASA-U.S. Geological Survey Landsat missions from 1972 and 1999 and the loss of forest and woodland cover along valleys and steep slopes was clear: eighty percent of the forests were gone. Through our analysis of Landsat forest change maps using GIS, we also calculated that the risk of landslide had increased fivefold during that time.”

“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.”

Landsat 9 bw
Landsat 9 bw
Landsat 9 bw

The NASA/USGS Landsat Program provides the longest continuous space-based record of Earth’s land in existence. Landsat data give us information essential for making informed decisions about Earth’s resources and environment.