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 specialized software, download the LandsatLook images (.jpg) from EarthExplorer, GloVis, or the LandsatLook Viewer.

*Please note: the USGS does NOT endorse or support specific software packages. Any usability questions relating to software packages are to be directed to the software vendor.

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How do I search for and download Landsat data?

Landsat data products held in the USGS archives can be searched and downloaded at no charge from a variety of sources. Visit the Landsat Data Access web page for information about how Landsat data products can be downloaded individually or in bulk. Landsat imagery not found in the USGS archive might have been collected by one of the USGS...

What are Landsat Collection Tiers?

Landsat Collection Tiers are the inventory structure for Level-1 data products and are based on data quality and level of processing. The tier definition purpose is to support easier identification of suitable scenes for time-series pixel-level analysis, and provide temporary data that are processed immediately upon downlink to be dispensed...

What are Landsat Collections?

In 2016, the USGS reorganized the Landsat archive into a tiered collection. This structure ensures that Landsat Level-1 products provide a consistent archive of known data quality to support time-series analyses and data “stacking”, while controlling continuous improvement of the archive and access to all data as they are acquired. Learn more:...

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...

What are the best Landsat spectral bands for use in my research?

The Spectral Characteristics Viewer is an interactive tool that can be used to visualize how the bands--or channels--of different satellite sensors measure the intensity of the many wavelengths (colors) of light. This is also known as the relative spectral response (RSR). By overlaying the spectral curves from different features (spectra), one can...
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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: March 24, 2017

New “Landsat Collections” Help Facilitate Land Change Science

Access to consistent high-quality images to study changes on Earth’s surface is getting easier. The USGS Landsat standard (Level-1) product inventory is now structured by data quality and offers improved calibration. Data designated as Tier 1 provide the highest accuracy and can be reliably used to analyze changes to Earth’s surface over time.

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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

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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

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March 31, 2017

Landsat 8 Swath Animation

The Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center has created a video animation describing how Landsat 8 orbits the Earth. The video explains the 16-day cycle for capturing imagery of the entire world.