What are some known issues that users might find in Landsat data?

A number of artifacts and anomalies can happen to any remote sensing data. Banding, dropped scan lines, and detector failures are only a few of the anomalies that can be seen in Landsat data. Go to Landsat Known Issues for details about anomalies that have been discovered and investigated.

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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 are some Landsat browse images black?

Black browse images are night (ascending) scenes, which are occasionally acquired for WRS-2 rows 123 to 246. Ascending scenes are available to download; see this FAQ for more information on searching and downloading ascending scenes.

What are the processing levels for Landsat Level-1 data?

The table below shows the Landsat Collections Level-1 processing levels: Landsat Level-1 Processing Levels Processing Level Description Terrain Precision Correction (L1TP) Radiometrically calibrated and orthorectified using ground control points (GCPs) and digital elevation model (DEM) data to correct for relief displacement.The highest quality...

Why is there so much color variation among the Landsat browse images?

A custom color stretch is performed on the images, based on individual scene content. Scenes from within the same area and/or acquisition date might vary in band content (due to differences such as cloud content or ground moisture). This differing content will cause variation in the results of the color stretch. Pixelation is an artifact of the...

Why is there so much color variation among the Landsat browse images?

A custom color stretch is performed on the images, based on individual scene content. Scenes from within the same area and/or acquisition date might vary in band content (due to differences such as cloud content or ground moisture). This differing content will cause variation in the results of the color stretch. Pixelation is an artifact of the...

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
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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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Landsat Data Loss - Sunglint Anomaly
July 24, 2018

Landsat Data Loss - Sunglint Anomaly

Examples of sun glint anomaly in Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper (TM) images. 

See https://www.usgs.gov/land-resources/nli/landsat/data-loss for more information. 

Landsat Data Loss - Dropped Scans
July 24, 2018

Landsat Data Loss - Dropped Scans

Example of a dropped scan in Landsat 7 ETM+ Level-0 data, Band 7.

See https://www.usgs.gov/land-resources/nli/landsat/data-loss for more information. 

Landsat Data Loss - Christmas Tree Anomaly
July 24, 2018

Landsat Data Loss - Christmas Tree Anomaly

Example of Christmas tree anomaly in Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper (TM) Level-1 data, Bands 3,2, and 1.

See https://www.usgs.gov/land-resources/nli/landsat/data-loss for more information. 

February 27, 2018

Landsat's Calibration and Validation

Engineers and scientists from both Landsat and Sentinel missions are working together to calibrate observation data and validate its quality to improve the science using these resources.
 

Landsat Known Issues - Detector Failure

Landsat Known Issues - Detector Failure Examples

These images display Detector Failure anomalies found in Landsat 7 and Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper (TM) data. From top: Landsat 7 Band 6, transient failure in detector 6; Landsat 5 TM Band 4, transient failure in detector 14; Landsat 5 TM Band 4, transient failure in detector 14; Landsat 5 TM Band 5, transient failure in detector 15. 

See

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Landsat 7 ETM+ Detector Ringing Examples

Examples of Detector Ringing in Landsat 7 ETM+ imagery

Examples of Detector Ringing in Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) data. Top to bottom: Nighttime imagery Band 1, Detector 9; Terrain imagery, Band 1, Detector 9; Nighttime imagery, Band 8, Detector 14; Water imagery, Band 1, Detector 9. 

See https://www.usgs.gov/land-resources/

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Example of transmission striping in Landsat 2 MSS RGB data.

Example of Transmission Striping in Landsat 2 MSS RGB Image

Example of transmission striping in Landsat 2 MSS RGB image.

See https://www.usgs.gov/land-resources/nli/landsat/detector-striping for more information. 

A Close-up of Scan Mirror Pulse Anomaly in Landsat MSS scene

A Close-up of Scan Mirror Pulse Anomaly in Landsat MSS scene

A Close-up of Scan Mirror Pulse Anomaly in Landsat MSS scene.

See https://www.usgs.gov/land-resources/nli/landsat/scan-mirror-pulse for more information. 

Example of Oversaturation in Landsat 7 ETM+, Band 7 data over a wildfire.

Example of Oversaturation in Landsat 7 ETM+ data over a wildfire

Example of Oversaturation over a large wildfire. Landsat 7 ETM+, Band 7 data.

See https://www.usgs.gov/land-resources/nli/landsat/oversaturation for more information. 

Example of Oversaturation over reflective targets on the ground. Landsat 7 ETM+ Band 1 data.

Example of Oversaturation in Landsat 7 Band 1 data

Example of Oversaturation in Landsat 7 ETM+ Band 1 data over reflective targets on the ground.

See https://www.usgs.gov/land-resources/nli/landsat/oversaturation for more information.