Are all acquired Landsat scenes held in the USGS Landsat archive?

The USGS archive contains data acquired by the Landsat satellites from 1972 to present.

Data is downlinked to various ground stations around the world. While each ground station in the International Cooperator (IC) network is the primary source for distributing the captured data in their area, copies of the data have also been made available to the USGS to place in the Landsat archive for distribution via EarthExplorer, GloVis, and the LandsatLook Viewer.

Historical data not found in the USGS archive might be available from the ground station that collected the data. Go to the Landsat International Ground Station Network for contact information and coverage maps.

In 2010, the Landsat Global Archive Consolidation (LGAC) effort was created to consolidate the Landsat data archives of all international ground stations, make the data more accessible to the global Landsat community, and significantly increase the frequency of observations over a given area of interest to improve scientific uses such as change detection and analysis. 

Explore Landsat data: Landsat Data Access

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What are the acquisition schedules for the Landsat satellites?

The Landsat 7 and Landsat 8 satellites orbit the Earth at an altitude of 705 kilometers (438 miles) in a 185-kilometer (115-mile) swath, moving from north to south over the sunlit side of the Earth in a sun synchronous orbit, following the World Reference System (WRS-2) . Each satellite makes a complete orbit every 99 minutes, completes about 14...

How do I search for and download ascending (nighttime) Landsat scenes?

Ascending (nighttime) WRS-2 Path/Row numbers are different from descending (daytime) Path/Rows. Cloud cover values for Landsat night scenes will always be zero. If you know the daytime path/row or coordinates and want to know the nighttime path/row, use the WRS-2 Path/Row to Latitude/Longitude Converter . Use EarthExplorer to search using path/row...

What is the naming convention for Landsat Collections Level-1 scenes?

The Landsat Collection 1 Level-1 product identifier includes the Collection processing levels, processing date, collection number, and collection iter category: LXSS_LLLL_PPPRRR_YYYYMMDD_yyyymmdd_CC_TX Where: L = Landsat X = Sensor (“C”=OLI/TIRS combined, “O”=OLI-only, “T”=TIRS-only, “E”=ETM+, “T”=“TM, “M”=MSS) SS = Satellite (”07”=Landsat 7, “08...

Can Landsat satellite acquisition requests be made for a specific date and location?

Data acquisition requests are not available to the public. The Landsat 8 and Landsat 7 satellites each acquire data on a continual basis in accordance with their respective Long Term Acquisitions Plans. The Landsat Acquisitions page has calendars and information about daily schedules. Learn more: Landsat 8 Long Term Acquisitions Plan Landsat 7...

How do I open Landsat satellite data files?

Many image processing programs (ERDAS IMAGINE®, PCI Geomatica®, ENVI®, IDRISI®, etc.)* can import a variety of image formats, including the GeoTIFF files of Landsat data. Free Multispec software that is included with the USGS lesson plan Tracking Change Over Time can be used for limited spectral analysis. To view Landsat scenes without using...
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Date published: April 17, 2018

Free, Open Landsat Data Unleashed the Power of Remote Sensing a Decade Ago

In the old days, before 2008, a view of planet Earth from space often came at a cost.

Date published: November 8, 2017

USGS Releases Landsat Analysis Ready Data

Application scientists who download and prepare large amounts of Landsat scene-based data for time-series investigative analysis now will have that preparatory work greatly reduced for them through Landsat Analysis Ready Data (ARD) recently released by the U.S. Geological...

Date published: January 11, 2017

Landsat Eyes Help Guard the World’s Forests

“We’re seeing the loss of forests in many places,” said Matthew Hansen, a professor at the University of Maryland. “Dynamics include increasing tropical deforestation, more frequent and severe boreal forest fires, disease in temperate forests and the commoditization of subtropical forests.”

Date published: July 18, 2016

Landsat—The Watchman that Never Sleeps

In western North America, mountain pine beetles infest and ravage thousands of acres of forest lands. Landsat satellites bear witness to the onslaught in a way that neither humans nor most other satellites can.

Filter Total Items: 9
March 23, 2018

Landsat in Action - The Importance of Landsat with Curtis Woodcock

Boston University Professor Curtis Woodcock talks about the significance Landsat was had in science and what he hopes to see as the mission continues.

December 31, 2017

Landsat Collections

Landsat Collections: Providing a Stable Environmental Record for Time Series Analysis

This video introduces the new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat Collection 1 inventory structure. Collection 1 required the reprocessing of all archived Landsat data to achieve radiometric and geometric consistency of Level-1 products through time and across all Landsat sensors

Earth As Art image Tapestry
December 14, 2017


Soft colors contrast with harsh terrain in southwestern Saudi Arabia, near the border with Yemen. Calming blues and purples seem to collide with an angry orange in this rich tapestry of colors, which are the result of the region’s complex geology. The wild shapes in this busy landscape lie in a region known as the Asharah fault zone.

Source: Landsat 8

Earth As Art image Expressions in the Desert
December 2, 2017

Expressions in the Desert

In a remote part of the Western Desert in central Egypt, highly eroded plateaus rise from the desert floor. The bright speckles are ancient dry lakes, the salt deposits reflecting brightly. Long ago, water flowed off the plateau, forming the breaches seen on the plateaus’ edges. This desolate land between oases is surrounded by extensive sand dunes.

Source: Landsat

Earth As Art image Moody Carvings
December 1, 2017

Moody Carvings

These orange shades and ragged shapes give an impression of moodiness. The jagged scars are extensive valleys carved by water flowing from the Andes Mountains in northern Chile. The crater in the lower right is the volcano Cerro Guachiscota.

Source: Landsat 8

September 19, 2017

Landsat Collections — What are Tiers?

This is the third video in a series describing the new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat Collection 1 inventory structure. Collection 1 required the reprocessing of all archived Landsat data to achieve radiometric and geometric consistency of Level-1 products through time and across all Landsat sensors. This video explains how Landsat Collection Level-1 data products

Earth As Art image Parallel Dunes
January 5, 2016

Parallel Dunes

Most of this image is in the Simpson Desert Regional Reserve of South Australia. The shallow lakes, appearing in colors ranging from nearly black to aqua blue, are dry most of the time. Here, they seem to stretch with the sand dunes, which extend for hundreds of kilometers.

Source: Landsat 8

Earth As Art image No Man's Land
September 9, 2009

No Man's Land

A study in shades of blue and brown is actually one of the harshest landscapes on Earth. This glimpse of Africa's Sahara Desert, located near where the borders of Mali, Niger, and Algeria converge, is truly a no man's land, a world of sand and rock without roads or settlements. The horizontal lines across the top half of the image are intrusions of igneous rock, where

Earth As Art image Terkezi Oasis
January 1, 2000

Terkezi Oasis

A series of rocky outcroppings are a prominent feature of this Sahara Desert landscape near the Terkezi Oasis in the country of Chad.

  • Collection: Earth as Art
  • Source: Landsat 7
  • Scale: 1.6 miles (2.5km)
  • Download: JPG