USGS EROS Archive - Landsat Archives - Landsat 1-5 Multispectral Scanner (MSS) Level-1 Data Products

Science Center Objects

Multispectral Scanner (MSS) Level-180-meter multispectral data from Landsats 1 - 5. (1972-1992)

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Landsat 1-5 Multispectral Scanner (MSS) Level-1 Data

 Landsat 2 MSS acquired June 8, 1979
(Path 44, Row 36)
(Public domain)

The Landsat Multispectral Scanner (MSS) sensor was onboard Landsat 1 through Landsat 5 and acquired images of the Earth nearly continuously from July 1972 to October 1992. In June 2012, the MSS sensor was powered back on to see if imagery could be acquired, and the sensor collected data until January 2013. See the Landsat MSS Processing web page for more for details.

Landsats 1, 2 and 3 had an 18-day revisit cycle on the Worldwide Reference System-1.  Landsats 4 and 5 maintained a 16-day revisit cycle, and followed the Worldwide Reference System-2.

Standard Processing Parameters

All Landsat 1-5 MSS products are processed through the Level 1 Product Generation System (LPGS) with the following parameters applied for Product Type and L1T Terrain Correction*.

  • Pixel Size
    • 60m Reflective bands 4-7 (Landsat 1-3) and Bands 1-4 (Landsat 4-5)
  • Output Format
    • GeoTIFF
  • Resampling method
    • cubic convolution (CC)
  • Map Projection
    • UTM – WGS 84
    • Polar Stereographic for the continent of Antarctica.
  • Image Orientation
    • Map (North Up)
  • Distribution
    • HTTPS Download Only
  • Delivery Time
    • Immediate for scenes already processed and ready for download.
    • Landsat MSS scenes take 3 days to 1 week to process.

* While most Landsat scenes are processed with the Standard Terrain Correction (Level 1T), some scenes do not have the ground-control or elevation data necessary to perform these corrections. In these cases, the best level of correction is applied. (See Landsat Processing Details for details on correction levels.)

Specific Level 1T scenes are available for most of the globe under the Global Land Surveys (GLS) collections of 1975, 1990, 2000, 2005, and 2010. These datasets can be found on EarthExplorer or the USGS Global Visualization Viewer (GloVis).

Landsat 1-5 MSS Collection 1

Landsat Tiers are the inventory structure for Landsat Collection 1 Level-1 data products and are based on data quality and level of processing. All scenes in the Landsat archive are assigned to a Collection category. The purpose of Collection categories is to support rapid and easy identification of suitable scenes for time-series pixel level analysis.

During Collection 1 reprocessing, all Landsat 1-5 MSS scenes in the USGS archive are assigned to a specific “Tier”. These data have well-characterized radiometric quality and are cross-calibrated ​among the different Landsat sensors.​​​

Collection 1 Categories

  • Tier 1 (T1) – Contains the highest quality Level-1 Precision Terrain (L1TP) data considered suitable for time-series analysis. The georegistration is consistent and within prescribed tolerances [<12m root mean square error (RMSE)].
  • Tier 2 (T2) – Contains L1TP scenes not meeting Tier 1 criteria and all Systematic Terrain (L1GT) and Systematic (L1GS) scenes. Users interested in Tier 2 scenes can evaluate the L1TP RMSE and other properties to determine suitability for use in their applications and studies.

The Landsat Collections page contains additional information about changes applied to Landsat Level-1 data products for Collection 1.

Additional Information

Access Data

Landsat 1 - 5 MSS scenes held in the USGS archive can be searched using EarthExplorer, the USGS Global Visualization Viewer (GloVis), or the LandsatLook Viewer. (Only scenes with browse capability can be searched and downloaded from GloVis.)

Some Landsat 1 - 5 MSS scenes outside the United States were collected and archived at International Ground Stations.  The Landsat Global Archive Consolidation (LGAC) effort is underway to bring this data back to the USGS archive.

Data is delivered from the USGS only in digital format, with the parameters noted above. There are several commercial firms that may provide data in different formats.