New Report Explains Landsat’s Role as ‘Gold Standard’ for Calibration

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Landsat data have long been recognized for the quality and reliability of their calibration. A recent report puts a spotlight on that commitment to accuracy.

Landsat 7 image showing the area near Ciudad Obregón, Mexico

Example of the Landsat 7 ETM+ Collection 2 level-1 product. This Landsat 7 image was acquired on January 1, 2003 near Ciudad Obregón, Mexico and is shown as a natural color composite using the red, green, and blue bands (bands 3,2,1).

new report outlining why Landsat data are recognized as the standard for radiometric and geometric calibration was recently released by the Landsat Advisory Group of the National Geospatial Advisory Committee.

The U.S. Geological Survey’s National Land Imaging Program requested the report to describe to a general audience the benefits of Landsat’s Earth observations. The report explains how satellite images are calibrated for location and color with a variety of visual examples. It spotlights the usefulness of products that help monitor and interpret land cover change over time, such as the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index.

The accuracy of Landsat’s calibration gives other civil and commercial satellite data a trusted “gold standard” reference point, the report explains. It also points out the importance of Landsat’s unparalleled continuity for nearly 50 years and its consistent calibration throughout.

The Landsat Advisory Group that developed the report included members from Maxar Technologies, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, the National Geographic Society, Roberta E. Lenczowski Consulting, Planet, and St. Louis University Geospatial Institute. The National Geospatial Advisory Committee is a Federal advisory committee sponsored by the Department of the Interior.

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