“The Landsat program has given each and every one of us in every part of the world a thoroughly objective, continuous look at ourselves in the mirror since 1972.”

“This is an example of something government can do well: investing in infrastructure that broadly benefits society, and provides a stable platform for the development of businesses and economic activity. Landsat is the data equivalent of the interstate highway system, a public good that has spawned a thriving for-profit remote sensing industry in the US and beyond.”

“With applied conservation programs, we’re using that [Landsat] imagery to say here are the areas that we can prioritize for conservation management, and here are areas that maybe we can let go. It’s a very powerful tool for getting conservation to happen.”

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

“We basically built … Tinder for Landsat maps: Swipe right if it’s good, swipe left if it’s bad.”

“Free and open access to the Landsat archive has already spurred scientific innovation and provided a foundation for REDD+ monitoring, reporting and verification.”

“What we’re able to do now is track the flow of the world’s ice from pole to pole and on every continent.”

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

“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.”

“The data policy for Landsat was a paradigm shift for the world. There is no doubt about it.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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 provides a very good coverage of Amazonia both spatially and temporally. We have known for some time already that the Landsat images can be used to identify ecologically relevant environmental and biotic variation in Amazonian rainforests, but this is the first time we use satellite images to actually predict species distributions.”

“The Landsat satellites have provided an unprecedented volume of high quality medium-resolution imagery spanning more than 30 years. Without this record it would be exceedingly difficult to place presently observed changes in ice discharge into a longer-term context.”

“Landsat 5 is kind of like the (Energizer) bunny — it just keeps running and running.”

“The US satellite series—its current flier is named Landsat 8—pioneered the science of monitoring the planet from orbit. It has assembled a continuous record of the world’s fluctuating features that stretches back more than 40 years. In satellite terms, it is the gold standard.”

“It’s really by stepping back and looking at the Earth, observing these changes in their context from space, can we really understand what’s happening.”

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

“We believe this type of continuous mapping of forest metrics at expansive scales would not have been possible without the excellent radiometric characteristics of Landsat 8, particularly the high level of quantization and the outstanding signal-to-noise ratio, which enables fine distinctions that were not previously possible.”

“We like to think about Landsat as being, for this particular problem, sort of the sweet spot—the perfect asset. We found Landsat was really good at mapping the bulk of biomass for this particular test area we were looking at.”

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

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

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.