“Landsat enabled us to collect a multi-decadal record of the [river] reaches at almost annual resolution. By extending our record into the past we were able to examine how the reaches changed through time providing us with a truly invaluable dataset.”

“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.”

“Landsat 8 represents yet another substantial advance to continuing a 40 year land data record, essential to understanding the Earth’s biosphere, anthropogenic changes to land use and land cover, the terrestrial carbon cycle, and the consequences for climate and biodiversity. This important extension to the Landsat series, the Landsat 8 mission, was achieved, through an outstanding interagency and industrial partnership, effectively managed to achieve breakthrough improvements in satellite …

“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.”

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

“Another landmark program within USGS is called Landsat… USGS made a decision…to be able to open up that data, make it free, and the scientific discoveries, the articles, the access, the utility of that data just went absolutely through the roof. So it’s been a really wonderful story about how opening up scientific data allows more discovery, gets people more excited… We really do try to put our data out there in a way that it is usable by the most amount of people as possible.”

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

“Landsat’s work is epic in scale. In 43 years, it has amassed over a petabyte of data, with over 4 million scenes and counting.”

“The advent of Landsat data enabled an unparalleled increase in our understanding of the Earth system.”

“Very importantly, big data and its use for societal good is based on really progressive data policies. The Landsat sensor has 40 years of data in the archive and it is available to anyone on the planet.”

“This [Google Earth] update was made possible in a large part thanks to the Landsat program and its commitment to free and accessible open data. Landsat, a joint program of the USGS and NASA, has observed the Earth continuously from 1972 to the present day and offers a wealth of information on the changes to the Earth’s surface over time.”

“The water resources communities all through the United States, especially in the irrigated areas, are very appreciative that NASA put the thermal imager on Landsat 8 and that future Landsats are guaranteed to include a thermal imager.”

“By using Landsat 8 imagery, and classification tree analysis, which is an advanced artificial intelligence routine, we have been able to construct a reliable classification system to identify cheatgrass infestations that is accurate. This has implications for fire susceptibility. Cheatgrass is driving wildfire on rangelands and we need to identify areas that have heightened susceptibility to wildfire.”

“Landsat, now one of the largest and most powerful tranches of Earth-science data, is an invaluable scientific resource.”

“The Landsat program doesn’t produce images like the ones of astronauts playing golf on the moon nor geologists scaling an erupting volcano, but it has created one of the most important scientific repositories of data ever made.”

“Landsat 8 is an incredible resource for global change research and has been used in a diverse array of scientific endeavors including the monitoring of deforestation, population growth, and glacier recession.”

“The key role of Landsat in the context of climate change is to document the impact of climate change on global ecosystems, which is highly relevant for the future availability of food, water, and fiber resources, as well as the provision of ecosystem services including biodiversity.”

“Assessing land cover change, especially the dynamics of smaller water bodies, requires spatial resolution and temporal frequency that are currently only available from the Landsat program. The continuation of the Landsat program will increase the data quantity available for analysis.”

“We have a globally consistent, locally relevant map product that can be used in a variety of applications: estimating emissions from deforestation, modeling biodiversity, assessing protected areas, and studying forest and human health. We plan to move our record forward and backward where Landsat has a sufficiently rich archive of data.”

“From now on, we’re going to be able to track all of the different types of changes in glaciers – there’s so much science to extract from the data.”

“From a valuation standpoint, Landsat is an extremely valuable public good just in its direct use—let alone the economic value of all the indirect uses built on the direct data.”

“Our new interface specifically uses Landsat to track flow velocity fields of Greenland’s outlet glaciers and how they have changed over time.”

“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.”

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.