How does data from Sentinel-2A’s MultiSpectral Instrument compare to Landsat data?

The Sentinel-2A MultiSpectral Instrument (MSI) data has spectral bands very similar to Landsat 8 (excluding the thermal bands of Landsat 8’s Thermal Infrared Sensor).


Learn more: USGS EROS Sentinel-2 Landsat Comparison

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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 band designations for the Landsat satellites?

The sensors aboard each of the Landsat satellites were designed to acquire data in different ranges of frequencies along the electromagnetic spectrum ( View Bandpass Wavelengths for all Landsat Sensors ). The Multispectral Scanner (MSS) carried on Landsat 1,2,3,4 and 5 collected data in four ranges (bands); the Thematic Mapper (TM) sensor on...

Why do Landsat 7 Level-1 products contain two thermal bands?

Landsat 7 acquires thermal data in two bands from one detector in both high (Band 6H) and low (Band 6L) gain. The difference in gain settings is important to different types of studies (i.e., clouds vs. deserts). Aside from the resolution differences and saturation on the high and low ends, the two bands provide the same Digital Numbers (DN) for...

What are U.S. Landsat Analysis Ready Data (ARD)?

U.S. Landsat Analysis Ready Data (ARD) are pre-packaged and pre-processed bundles of Landsat data products that make the Landsat archive more accessible and easier to analyze, and reduce the amount of time users spend on data processing for time-series analysis. ARD contains Level-2 products derived from Landsat Collections Level-1 scenes. ARD are...

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...

Are there any restrictions on the use or redistribution of Landsat data?

There are no restrictions on Landsat data downloaded from the USGS; it can be used or redistributed as desired. We do request that you include a statement of the data source when citing, copying, or reprinting USGS Landsat data or images. Details are on the EROS Data Citation page. Learn more: USGS Copyrights and Credits statement

What is the Landsat satellite program and why is it important?

The Landsat Program is a series of Earth-observing satellite missions jointly managed by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey. On July 23, 1972, in cooperation with NASA, the Earth Resources Technology Satellite (ERTS-1) was launched. It was later renamed Landsat 1. Additional Landsat satellites followed in the 1970s and 1980s. Landsat 7 was...

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: August 19, 2016

EarthView–Crater Lake Image Shows Potential of Sentinel-2A

Sentinel 2A's coverage shows it can be a great complement to Landsat imagery.

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Sentinel-2 image of Volcano Agung
July 2, 2018

Sentinel-2 image of Volcano Agung - Indonesia

ESA Sentinel-2 image, Volcano Agung - Indonesia

Sentinel-2B Southern Wind River Mountain Range WY
May 8, 2018

Sentinel-2B Southern Wind River Mountain Range WY

Sentinel-2B - Southern Wind River Mountain Range, WY 

Image shows blue expanse of the North Sea with a white streak in the middle
September 27, 2016

Sentinel-2A View of North Sea Sediment Plume

Sentinel-2A shows a sediment plume in the North Sea near England on July 23, 2016. Credit: ESA Sentinel-2.

Sentinel-2A satellite image showing the Crater Lake in Oregon.
May 28, 2016

Crater Lake Image Shows Potential of Sentinel-2A

This image from the European Space Agency's Sentinel-2A satellite offers a breathtaking view of Crater Lake National Park in southern Oregon. It offers something equally important to park managers, scientists, and anyone else interested in land cover change—a view that is highly similar and complementary to Landsat acquisitions.

August 6, 2015


Sentinel-2A tile over a portion of Denmark and Sweden (August 6, 2015)

Missouri River Flooding - Sentinel-2B

Images from the Sentinel-2B satellite show the impact of 2019 Missouri River flooding on the Midwest. The first image shows the area in March of 2018, with rivers at typical levels. The second shows the Missouri River and its tributaries after heavy flooding. 

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January 24, 2014

Landsat and Sentinel-2: Synergy, Opportunities, and Issues

The Landsat Science Team drafted the document Landsat and Sentinel-2: Synergy, Opportunities, and Issues to answer the question "Can Sentinel-2 data be used for the full breadth of Landsat applications?" 

Team members provided detailed observations, opportunities, and issues related to this subject. 

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