Free Earth Observation Data… A Quick Overview of The Landsat Data Access Program

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Landsat Data Access Program

The Landsat Data Access Program (LDA) refers to the free and open access to the Landsat satellite imagery archive provided by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Landsat is a series of Earth-observing satellite missions that have been continuously collecting high-quality, moderate-resolution multispectral imagery of the Earth’s surface since 1972.

LDA’s main objective is to promote scientific research, environmental monitoring, and natural resource management by providing easy access to satellite imagery for a wide range of users, including researchers, government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), private companies, and the general public.

LDA has revolutionized the field of Earth observation, enabling countless studies and applications in areas such as climate change, deforestation, agriculture, urbanization, and disaster response. By providing open access to this valuable data, the program has significantly contributed to our understanding of the Earth and its dynamic processes.

Key Features of LDA

Continuous Data Collection

The Landsat program has been in operation for over five decades, making it one of the longest-running Earth observation satellite programs. This long-term data archive enables the monitoring of changes in land cover, land use, and the environment over time.

Multispectral Imagery

Landsat satellites capture images in various spectral bands, including visible, near-infrared, shortwave infrared, and thermal infrared. This capability allows for the identification and analysis of a wide range of surface features, such as vegetation, water bodies, and urban areas.

Global Coverage

Landsat satellites have near-global coverage, capturing images of the Earth’s entire land surface, including coastal areas and islands. This extensive coverage enables the study of various ecosystems, climate zones, and human-induced changes across the planet.

Frequent Revisit Times

Landsat satellites have a revisit time of 16 days, which means that each location on Earth is imaged every 16 days. This frequency allows for the monitoring of seasonal changes, natural disasters, and human-induced alterations to the environment.

Free and Open Access

The USGS provides access to the entire Landsat archive at no cost to the user through the EarthExplorer, GloVis, and LandsatLook platforms. Users can search, download, and analyze the data for a wide range of applications.