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Landsat Update July 2019

Landsat Updates are prepared periodically and distributed electronically to provide information about Landsat activities and related topics of interest.

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in this issue...

Landsat Advisory Group Releases Report on Data Cost Sharing Models

Landsat 9 Mission Status

        New Landsat 9 Factsheet Available

Landsat 7 Celebrates 20 Years in Space

Landsat Science Products Now Available

Landsat Collection 2: An Introduction

Registration for Second ARD Workshop Now Open

Recent Meetings

            Landsat Technical Working Group (LTWG)#28 Meeting Held

            Landsat Science Team Members Attend Summer Meeting

Upcoming User Conferences

Recent Popular Tweets

Landsat in the News



Landsat Advisory Group Releases Report on Data Cost Sharing Models

The National Geospatial Advisory Committee Landsat Advisory Group (LAG) released a report recommending that the Department of the Interior not implement fees for data with the characteristics of Landsat 8 and 9.

The LAG notes  “the annual societal benefit of Landsat data to U.S. users in 2011 was estimated at approximately US$1.8 billion, which is two times greater than the cost of building and launching Landsat 8” with much of that value coming from the 2008 open data policy announcement.

The group also recommends that future studies should look at how the cost of building and launching new Landsat missions can be reduced.

The complete report with the LAG’s recommendation is available.

Landsat 9 Mission Status

The Landsat 9 spacecraft and instruments are being developed towards a launch-readiness date of December 2020. Landsat 9, like previous missions, will be launched from Vanden­berg Air Force Base, California, onboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket.

The Landsat 9 spacecraft bus structure being assembled at Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems in Gilbert, AZ
The Landsat 9 spacecraft bus structure being assembled at Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems in Gilbert, AZ.

Landsat 9 will carry the Opera­tional Land Imager 2 (OLI–2), built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corpora­tion, Boulder, Colorado, and the Thermal Infrared Sensor 2 (TIRS–2), built at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland. Northrop Grumman is designing and fabricating the space­craft and will be responsible for integrat­ing the two instruments. 

Landsat 9 OLI-2 and TIRS-2 Instruments
(Left) The Landsat 9 TIRS-2 Instrument being prepared for environmental testing at NASA/GSFC; (Right) The Landsat 9 OLI-2 instrument at Ball Aerospace in Boulder, CO;

NASA is responsible for the space segment (instruments and spacecraft/observatory), mission integration, launch, and on-orbit checkout. The U.S. Depart­ment of the Interior/United States Geological Survey (USGS) is responsible for the ground system, flight operations, data processing, and data product distri­bution after NASA completes on-orbit checkout.

After launch, Landsat 9 will move into the current orbit of Landsat 7, which has sufficient fuel to operate into 2021, and will subsequently be decommissioned. Landsat 9 will image the Earth every 16 days in an 8-day offset with Landsat 8.


New Landsat 9 Factsheet Available

A Landsat 9 Factsheet was recently published and added to the USGS Publications Warehouse.


Landsat 7 Celebrates 20 Years in Space

Landsat 7 Mission Patch

Launched on this day 20 years ago, April 15, 1999, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS)’s seventh satellite in the long-running Landsat program launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, on a Delta II rocket.

Since launch, Landsat 7 has completed over 106,000 Earth orbits, traveled almost 3 billion miles, and contributed over 2.6 million scenes to the USGS Landsat archive.

Since 1972, the Landsat program has played a critical role of repeat global observations for monitoring, understanding, and helping manage Earth's natural resources.

Landsat 7 has contributed to almost half of the 46-year Landsat record, providing a unique resource for those who work in agriculture, geology, forestry, regional planning, education, mapping, emergency response, and global change.




Landsat Science Products Now Available

The USGS has developed research-quality, applications-ready, Level-2 and Level-3 science products derived from Landsat Collection 1 Level-1 data. These products can be used to monitor and assess how changes in land use, land cover, and land condition affect people and the environment. These data can be downloaded from EarthExplorer.

Landsat Level-2 and Level-3 Science Products

Landsat Collection 2: An Introduction

In 2019, the USGS will finalize the definition, production timeline and public availability of Landsat Collection 2 Level-1 and Level-2 products.

Two main components in Landsat Collection 2 will be improved geodetic accuracy using updated Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) ground control points tied to the Sentinel 2 Global Reference Image (GRI). In addition, the USGS will distribute a Level-2 standard product suite that includes surface reflectance and surface temperature. 

Landsat Collection 2 will contain Level-1 and Level-2 products as part of the standard Landsat Product Generation System (LPGS). Landsat Collection 2 will include imagery from Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI)/Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS), Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+), Landsat 4-5 Thematic Mapper (TM), and Landsat 1-5 Multispectral Scanner (MSS) instruments. Landsat 9 Operational Land Imager 2 (OLI-2)/Thermal Infrared Sensor 2 (TIRS-2) data will be included in Collection 2 in early 2021 after launch. The Landsat Collection 2 processing timeline would start no sooner than late in the calendar year of 2019. Landsat Collection 1 data processing and downloads will remain available during Collection 2 processing.

Note: Collection 2 Level-2 MSS product feasibility studies are ongoing and will be shared with the Landsat user community upon their completion.

Visit the Landsat Collection 2 web page to review summaries of the characteristics of Landsat C2 Level-1 and Level-2 data products, and to access a sample of the C2 Level-1 metadata file.


Registration for Second ARD Workshop Now Open

ARD19 – Second ARD Workshop on Remote Sensing Data Interoperability is taking place on August 5-7, 2019 in Menlo Park, CA at the USGS Menlo Park Campus.

The workshop is dedicated to discussing interoperability between commercial data sources of imagery and public datasets. Different approaches to data harmonization will be presented with an emphasis on determining standard approaches and practical recommendations on standards for Analytics Ready Data (ARD). The workshop is open to technical staff in commercial EO data providers, government agencies like USGS, NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) - as well as data analytics providers, researchers and NGOs. Space is limited, please use the follow form to apply. We are also currently accepting sponsors.

To attend, complete the sign-up form found here. 

Topics for 2019 include (see here for last’s year ARD18 program and videos):

  • Geometric and Radiometric Harmonization
  • Image Quality Metrics, Monitoring and Specification
  • Machine-learning applications/methods
  • Time-series Analysis
  • Fusing satellite imagery with drones, sensor networks and other non-space sources
  • Color and Visual Products
  • Sensor-fusion algorithms
  • ARD-driven Payload design & System Engineering, Hardware
  • Product Development and Application-driven Requirement Gathering
  • Standards for Data Distribution and Commercialization (Open Data Cube, STAC, COGs, etc.)
  • Imaging Pipelines, Software Engineering and Distributed Computing for ARD


Recent Meetings

Landsat Technical Working Group (LTWG) #28 Meeting  - June 2019

Landsat International Cooperators from ground stations around the world came to Sioux Falls, South Dakota from June 10-14, 2019 for the Landsat Technical Working Group-28 meeting.

Landsat Technical Working Group-28 Meeting Participants June 10, 2019
Landsat Technical Working Group-28 Meeting Participants June 10, 2019.

Attendees heard from the USGS on current and future Landsat satellite missions and science data product plans, and also heard reports from other ground stations and the work they are doing.

To honor the relationships between the USGS and International Cooperators, a permanent display in the lobby of the USGS EROS Center was unveiled to the group during their tour of the facility.


Landsat Science Team Members Attend Summer Meeting

The Landsat Science Team was held June 19-21 at the USGS EROS Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. 

Landsat Science Team - June 2019
The Landsat Science Team at USGS EROS June 20, 2019.

The meeting covered the following objectives:

  • Received Landsat programmatic updates on Landsat's data policy, on Landsat 9, and on key Landsat activities since the Summer 2018 Landsat Science Team meeting
  • Reviewed and discussed Landsat Collection 2 processing, Landsat data products, Landsat data in the cloud, and Landsat near-real time capabilities
  • Received and discussed updates from the 2019 Architecture Study Team's draft requirements for Sustainable Land Imaging
  • Learned about ongoing 2018-2023 Landsat Science Team member science and application contributions

The full agenda and presentations are available  on the Landsat Science Team Meetings web page. A link to a complete summary of the meeting will be published in a future Landsat Update.

To date, the Landsat Science Teams have published 4,244 journal articles, book sections, reports, and conference proceedings all of which can be found on the Landsat Science Team Publications web page.


Upcoming User Conferences

Pecora 21/ISRESE38 will be held October 6-11, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. The USGS Landsat Session titled “Landsat Science Products: The Next Generation” contains the following presentations:

  • USGS Landsat Archive: Revolutionary Enhancements (#797)
  • Landsat Science Products (#883)
  • Landsat Provisional Surface Temperature Product (#934)
  • Landsat Collection 2 (#839)
  • Landsat Legacy with Landsat 9 (#871)
  • Cloud Migration for Landsat (#848)

American Geophysical Union (AGU)                2019 Dec 9-13                        San Francisco, CA
Visit the AGU Fall Meeting web page to submit your abstract by July 31, 2019.


Recent Popular Tweets

Popular Landsat Tweets - April,May 2019
Left: Popular Landsat Tweet - May 18, 2019 marks the 39th anniversary of the @MtStHelensNVM eruption that destroyed ~230 square miles of forest. #Landsat has been a witness to its recovery over the years. Right: Popular Landsat Tweet - April 16, 2019 its launch twenty years ago this week, #Landsat7 has collected ~2.6m scenes, representing ~32% of the total @USGS @USGS_EROS #Landsatarchive. @NASA_Landsat #L7Turns20 #TriviaTuesday


Landsat In the News

A Burning Lava Lake Concealed by a Volcano’s Glacial Ice – New York Times, June 12, 2019

Keep Landsat data free, panel urges Department of the Interior – Science, June 12, 2019

Antarctic glaciers to honour 'satellite heroes' – BBC news, June 7, 2019

Landsat: the Cornerstone of Global Land Imaging – GIM International, February 2, 2019

Why Are NASA Scientists Tracking Penguin Poop From Space? – Forbes, Dec 18, 2018



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