Landsat Satellite Imagery

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Since 1972, Landsat Program satellites have collected spectral imagery of the Earth’s continents and surrounding coastal regions. These continuously collected and consistent data have created a historical archive unmatched in quality, detail, coverage, and length, enabling people to study many aspects of our planet and to evaluate the dynamic changes caused by both natural processes and human practices.

Landsat is moderate spatial-resolution imagery, which provides large areas of repeated data coverage at a scale that enables users to see detailed human-scale processes, such as urbanization, but not individual houses.

Data Specifications

  • Area of Coverage: Global
  • Date(s) Available: 1972 to present
  • Format: GeoTIFF
  • Resolution/Scale: 30 meter pixels (1:100,000)
  • Minimal Mapping Unit: 30 meter pixel (1/4 acre)


  • Single Landsat scene covers a 185 x 185 kilometer area with a 16-day revisit time
  • Serves as unique resource for applications in agriculture, geology, forestry, regional planning, education, mapping, and global change research
  • Landsat 7 satellite’s 15-meter panchromatic band can be merged with the 30-meter multispectral bands to create a 15-meter color composite
  • Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LCDM), scheduled for launch in 2013, is next in Landsat series of satellites

Notes and Limitations: This is a 30-meter resolution data set that may not be suitable for local or site-specific management decisions that are usually made using high-resolution imagery.

Global Visualization (GloVis) Viewer

GloVis is an online search and order tool for selected satellite data. The viewer allows access to all available browse images from the Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+), Landsat 4/5 Thematic Mapper (TM), Landsat 1-5 Multi-Spectral Scanner (MSS), and Tri-Decadal data sets. It also provides access to Earth Observation (EO) 1 Advanced Land Imager (ALI), EO-1 Hyperion, and Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics (MRLC), as well as Aster Thermal Infrared (TIR), Aster Visible Near Infrared (VNIR), and Moderate Resolution Imagining Spectroradiometer (MODIS) browse images from the U.S. Geological Survey’s Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC) inventory.

Alternative formats of Landsat data are available.

Stories from the Field

Mapping Ecosystem Habitats along the Lower Columbia River
With technical assistance from NOAA’s Coastal Change Analysis Program, the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership developed a classification tailored to the Lower Columbia River’s unique system.

Assessing the Impact of Impervious Surfaces on Water Resources in Southern California
C-CAP data were used to produce additional land cover information to assess the impact of impervious surface on water supply.

Assessing Fire Hazard Risk in Southern California
C-CAP data were used to produce additional land cover information to assess the risk of fire and the proximity to urban developments.


Landsat Program Website
Provides more detailed information about the Landsat Program and data

How to Use Landsat Data
Provides a number of resources to learn how to use, process, and analyze Landsat data

Landsat 7 Science Data Users Handbook
Provides a basic understanding of the Landsat program and data

GloVis User Guide
Helps users view and order Landsat data through the Global Visualization (GloVis) Viewer

How Landsat Data Helps
Learn more about the ways in which Landsat helps society.

Landsat Podcasts and Videos
Listen to stories about Landsat.

See some examples of Landsat data and what this imagery can show.