Mission Areas

Land Remote Sensing Program

Programs L2 Landing Page

Our Nation’s economic security and environmental vitality rely on continuous monitoring of the Earth’s continents, islands, and coastal regions in order to record, study, and understand land change at local, regional, and global scales. The USGS Land Remote Sensing (LRS) Program helps meet this need.

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LRS and Remote Sensing

LRS and Remote Sensing

LRS works to provide continuous and easy access to remotely sensed land data, acquire regional and global land datasets from multiple sources, and define and develop future satellite missions to enhance the study of land change and its impacts.

Remote Sensing News

Featured Science

Featured Science

How are Landsat images and other remotely sensed data helping scientists understand land change and its implications? Check out our Featured Science articles for important news and key updates.

Science in Action

More to Explore

Follow these links to learn more about our remote sensing research partnerships, how to access and download data, our image collections, news articles, and more.

Requirements Capabilities & Analysis for Earth Observations

Find and Download Data

Image Collections

Newsroom

Pecora Award

News

Artist concept of Landsat 8
November 15, 2017

Two awardees have been presented with the 2017 William T. Pecora Award for achievements in Earth remote sensing. 

Satellite image showing the Las Vegas, Lake Mead, Grand Canyon area
July 20, 2017

Resourcesat data that are important for understanding changes associated with agriculture, forestry, phenology, and other applications are now available in the USGS archive.

Illustration of Landsat 7 in orbit
February 27, 2017

On Tuesday, February 7, Landsat 7’s Flight Operations Team fired the spacecraft’s 1-pound thrusters for about 13 minutes. After a pause of about 7½ hours, the thrusters fired a second time for about 13 minutes.This was the last such maneuver for Landsat 7 and the beginning of the end for the satellite, which has provided images of the earth’s changing resources for more than 17 years. 

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Raw imagery from the Falcon using a sony ILCE-5100 sensor.
Date Published: April 13, 2016

The USGS National UAS Project Office supports the safe, efficient, and cost-effective adoption of UAS technology into the research and operational activities of the DOI.

Pecora Brochure for nominations
Date Published: March 15, 2016

The William T. Pecora Award is presented annually to individuals or groups that have made outstanding contributions toward understanding the Earth by means of remote sensing. Nominations for the 2016 award must be received by June 10, 2016.

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USGS
July 18, 2017

GloVis

The USGS Global Visualization Viewer (GloVis) is an online search and order tool for selected  is an online search and order tool for selected remote sensing data.  

USGS
April 27, 2016

EarthExplorer

Query and order satellite images, aerial photographs, and cartographic products through the U.S. Geological Survey.

USGS
April 27, 2016

EarthNow!

EarthNow! displays data received from the Landsat 7 satellite. When a Landsat satellite passes within range of the ground station at the USGS Center for Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS), image data are downlinked and displayed in near-real time. When no satellites are within range, the most recent pass is displayed.

USGS
April 27, 2016

LandsatLook Viewer

The USGS LandsatLook Viewer allows comprehensive searching and downloading of full-resolution LandsatLook images, along with access to Level 1 Data Products.

USGS
April 27, 2016

Emergency Operations Portal

Explore critical pre- and post-disaster images and datasets online for immediate viewing and downloading. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Emergency Operations, in support of the Department of Homeland Security, provides these images for use in disaster preparations, rescue and relief operations, damage assessments, and reconstruction efforts.

Death Valley, Landsat 8
April 20, 2016

Find and Access Remotely Sensed Data

This link takes you to the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center remotely sensed land data archive, which contains millions of satellite images, as well as aerial photos, digitized maps, elevation and land cover products, and much more. Most are easily downloadable via the internet.

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Digital Elevation Model in the Atchafalaya Basin, LA
March 14, 2016

Explore our extensive collection of digitized maps and elevation products.

SLR graphic
March 12, 2016

With the National Map viewer, you have access to geospatial data and tools, web mapping services, and application services for orthoimagery, elevation, and land cover data.

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Year Published: 2014

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) activities at the Department of the Interior

The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) is responsible for protecting and managing the natural resources and heritage on almost 20% of the land in the United States. The DOI’s mission requires access to remotely sensed data over vast lands, including areas that are remote and potentially dangerous to access. Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS...

Quirk, Bruce K.; Hutt, Michael E.

Year Published: 2014

National requirements for improved elevation data

This report presents the results of surveys, structured interviews, and workshops conducted to identify key national requirements for improved elevation data for the United States and its territories, including coastlines. Organizations also identified and reported the expected economic benefits that would be realized if their requirements for...

Snyder, Gregory I.; Sugarbaker, Larry J.; Jason, Allyson L.; Maune, David F.
National requirements for improved elevation data; 2014; OFR; 2013-1237; Snyder, Gregory I.; Sugarbaker, Larry J.; Jason, Allyson L.; Maune, David F.

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2017 (approx.)

This video focuses on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Terra and Aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Version 6 Thermal Anomalies and Fire data distributed by NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC).  Information about the MODIS Version 6 Thermal Anomalies and Fire data products, the thematic fire mask classes, and using a color map to visualize fires will be provided in this video. The video will also cover how to find Thermal Anomalies and Fire resources on the LP DAAC website. To learn more about on MODIS Version 6 Thermal Anomalies and Fire data and other data products distributed by the LP DAAC please visit https://lpdaac.usgs.gov/.

The LP DAAC is one of twelve NASA Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) DAACs. It is located at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The LP DAAC ingests, archives, processes and distributes NASA Earth science land processes data and information.

Comparison satellite images from 2016 and 2017 for moth damage.
2017 (approx.)

A large outbreak of gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) caterpillars attacked the hardwood forests of the northeastern United States in 2016. A fungus (Entomophaga maimaigaM) introduced from Japan has kept gypsy moth populations at relatively low levels since the late 1980s. However, abnormally low rainfall during May and June in 2014, 2015, and 2016 reduced the effectiveness of the fungus, resulting in the worst outbreak seen in New England in over 30 years.

2017 (approx.)

This video focuses on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Terra and Aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Version 6 Thermal Anomalies and Fire data distributed by NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC).  Information about the MODIS Version 6 Thermal Anomalies and Fire data products, changes between the Version 5 and Version 6 products, and how to access the data using NASA’s Earthdata Search is provided. To learn more about MODIS Version 6 Thermal Anomalies and Fire data and other data products distributed by the LP DAAC please visit https://lpdaac.usgs.gov/.

The LP DAAC is one of twelve NASA Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) DAACs. It is located at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The LP DAAC ingests, archives, processes and distributes NASA Earth science land processes data and information.

2017 (approx.)

This video focuses on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Terra and Aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Version 6 Thermal Anomalies and Fire data distributed by NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC). Information about MODIS Thermal Anomalies and Fire quality information, including how to decode quality bits, tools for working with quality data, and where to find additional information, will be provided.  To learn more about MODIS Version 6 Thermal Anomalies and Fire data and other data products distributed by the LP DAAC please visit https://lpdaac.usgs.gov/.

The LP DAAC is one of twelve NASA Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) DAACs. It is located at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The LP DAAC ingests, archives, processes and distributes NASA Earth science land processes data and information.

2017 (approx.)

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. This video explains why Collection 1 is the highest quality inventory of Landsat Level-1 products ever created. To learn more about Landsat Collections please visit https://landsat.usgs.gov/landsat-collections.

The Landsat Program is a series of Earth-observing satellites co-managed by USGS and NASA, and offers the longest continuous space-based record of Earth’s land in existence. Every day, Landsat satellites orbit Earth and provide essential information to help land managers and policymakers make informed decisions about our natural resources and environment. All Landsat data are distributed by the USGS at no charge from EarthExplorer, GloVis NEXT and the LandsatLook Viewer. To learn more about the Landsat Program please visit https://landsat.usgs.gov/ or follow us on Twitter @USGSLandsat or Facebook @NASA.Landsat.

November 29, 2017

In this tutorial, we will show you how to use some advanced features in the LandsatLook Viewer. The site can be found at: http://landsatlook.usgs.gov/
 

November 27, 2017

The imagery featured in this video was created using data distributed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC). These satellite-derived data are from NASA’s Making Earth System Data Records for Use in Research Environments (MEaSUREs) Global Food Security-support Analysis Data (GFSAD) Cropland Extent data product (GFSAD30AFCE; https://doi.org/10.5067/measures/gfsad/gfsad30afce.001), which provides information about where cropland can be found in Africa for nominal year 2015 at 30 meter resolution. To learn more about these data and other data products distributed by the LP DAAC, please visit https://lpdaac.usgs.gov/.

The LP DAAC is one of twelve NASA Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) DAACs. It is located at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The LP DAAC ingests, archives, processes, and distributes NASA Earth science land data and information. 

November 7, 2017

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has improved Landsat data quality and usability through the creation of Analysis Ready Data (ARD) for the conterminous United States, Alaska, and Hawaii. Landsat ARD greatly reduces the preparatory work currently required to do time-series analysis for understanding landscape change for operational and science users. Landsat Collections Level-1 scenes are the input for generating Landsat ARD. ARD provides users with significant flexibility in how they access Landsat data. For example, users have the ability to tailor data requests according to specific needs in terms of geospatial regions of interest, spectral bands, and collection dates to generate customized data cube stacks for the purposes of data reduction, time series analysis, and interpretation.

The Landsat Program is a series of Earth-observing satellites co-managed by USGS and NASA, and offers the longest continuous space-based record of Earth’s land in existence. Every day, Landsat satellites orbit Earth and provide essential information to help land managers and policymakers make informed decisions about our natural resources and environment. All Landsat data are distributed by the USGS at no charge from EarthExplorer, GloVis, and the LandsatLook Viewer. To learn more about the Landsat Program please visit https://landsat.usgs.gov/ or follow us on Twitter @USGSLandsat or Facebook @NASA.Landsat.

Satellite image that shows the fires in California wine country.
October 11, 2017

Residents had little warning when wildfires that ignited late Sunday night, October 8, 2017, were fanned by wind gusts of 50 miles per hour and blasted across California's wine country. More than 100,000 acres have burned as of October 11, with less than 6 percent of the fires contained.

October 9, 2017

The 2017 Atlantic Hurricane season has seen several hurricanes in a row during the months of August, September, and October. Follow along with this video to see satellite imagery of hurricanes and tropical storms during this time period. 

The satellite imagery featured in this video was created using data distributed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC). These data are Surface Reflectance Climate Modeling Grid's (CMG) from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) sensor onboard the NASA/NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (S-NPP) satellite (VNP09CMG) and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor onboard the Terra satellite (MOD09CMG). To learn more about these data and other data products distributed by the LP DAAC please visit https://lpdaac.usgs.gov/.

The LP DAAC is one of twelve NASA Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) DAACs. It is located at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The LP DAAC ingests, archives, processes, and distributes NASA Earth science land data and information. 
 

Satellite image showing the Pine Glacier
September 28, 2017

Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica has snapped off its share of icebergs in recent years. The frequency of noteworthy breaks is evidence that the ice shelf is becoming increasingly fragile. The latest iceberg cracked off the end of the Pine Island Glacier ice shelf around September 23, 2017.

Satellite image showing the devastation to Puerto Rico after Maria.
September 26, 2017

This pair of Landsat 8 images shows the large-scale damage done to Puerto Rico. The lush green landscape in the 2016 image is replaced by a faded green. The strong winds stripped the leaves off trees to cause the degraded landscape. The forest is expected to recover.

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Satellite image showing the Las Vegas, Lake Mead, Grand Canyon area
July 20, 2017

Resourcesat data that are important for understanding changes associated with agriculture, forestry, phenology, and other applications are now available in the USGS archive.

Illustration of Landsat 7 in orbit
February 27, 2017

On Tuesday, February 7, Landsat 7’s Flight Operations Team fired the spacecraft’s 1-pound thrusters for about 13 minutes. After a pause of about 7½ hours, the thrusters fired a second time for about 13 minutes.This was the last such maneuver for Landsat 7 and the beginning of the end for the satellite, which has provided images of the earth’s changing resources for more than 17 years. 

USGS
October 31, 2016

Working together to advance international coordination of Earth observation programs

Artist’s rendition of Landsat 8 in orbit. NASA graphic.
October 11, 2016

Looking into the past to see the future on Earth Observation Day

Dr. William Pecora, USGS Director, 1965-71
September 21, 2016

An annual award for outstanding achievement in remote sensing

Canyonlands National Park as seen by Landsat 8
September 21, 2016

Toward a space-based perspective of our planet in the 1960s

Landsat 8
July 18, 2016

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.

The use of irrigation water in California fields like this can be monitored by Landsat satellites.
April 29, 2016

As droughts rage and aquifers dwindle, people may wonder: Is there enough water to meet all our needs?  Landsat satellites are helping to answer that question.

collage of scientists conducting science related to each mission are
March 15, 2016

The U.S. Geological Survey and the European Space Agency (ESA) have established an innovative partnership to enable USGS storage and redistribution of Earth observation data acquired by Copernicus program satellites.