Landsat Data

Landsat is an ongoing mission of Earth observation satellites developed under a joint program of the USGS and NASA. The Landsat mission provides the longest continuous space-based record of Earth’s land, dating back to 1972 and the Landsat 1 satellite. Starting with Landsat 4, each of the satellites imaged the Earth’s surface at a 30-meter resolution about once every two weeks using multispectral and thermal instruments.

This collection includes the complete USGS archive from Landsat 4, 5, 7, and 8. It covers their full operational lifetimes, with over four million unique scenes over 35 years:

  • Landsat 4: 1982 - 1993
  • Landsat 5: 1984 - 2013
  • Landsat 7: 1999 - present
  • Landsat 8: 2013 - present

Landsat data has set the standard for Earth observation data due to the length of the mission and the rich data provided by the multispectral sensors. Landsat data has proven invaluable to agriculture, geology, forestry, regional planning, education, mapping, and tracking global change. Landsat images have also been invaluable for emergency response and disaster relief.

Thanks to the open data policies of USGS and NASA, this dataset is available for free as part of the Google Public Cloud Data program. It can be used by anyone as part of Google Cloud.

Dataset structure

These Landsat images are processed to Level 1, which means they are orthorectified, map-projected images containing radiometrically-calibrated data. See the Landsat Level-1 Standard Data Products page, in particular the Data Users Handbooks, for additional details.

The images are stored in the GeoTIFF file format, with each spectral band stored in a separate file for easy access. The images are organized in the Worldwide Reference System (WRS-2) grid, which is a global grid dividing the world into 251 orbital paths and 248 rows. Different Landsat satellites have used sensors with slightly different characteristics, so Cloud Storage organizes the data by sensor in the following effective directory structure:

/[SENSOR_ID]/PRE/[PATH]/[ROW]/[SCENE_ID]/

The components of this path are:

  • [SENSOR_ID]: An identifier for the particular satellite and camera sensor.
  • [PATH]: The WRS path number.
  • [ROW]: The WRS row number.
  • [SCENE_ID]: The unique scene ID.

As an example, one Landsat 8 scene over California can be found here:

gs://gcp-public-data-landsat/LC08/PRE/044/034/LC80440342016259LGN00/

Dataset access

The image data can be used easily with any software that recognizes GeoTIFF files. Each scene also includes metadata in an accompanying text file.

To help locate data of interest, an index CSV file of the Landsat data is available. This CSV file lists basic properties of the available images, including their acquisition dates and their spatial extent as minimum and maximum latitudes and longitudes. The file is found in the Landsat Cloud Storage bucket:

gs://gcp-public-data-landsat/index.csv.gz

Alternatively, this index data is available in BigQuery for you to easily query using SQL.

Google Earth Engine

One way that you can query, visualize, and analyze the Landsat data is by using Google Earth Engine, where the data is available in image collections in the LANDSAT/ folder.

About the dataset

Dataset Source: U.S. Geological Survey.

Category: Satellite imagery, Geo.

Use: There are no restrictions on Landsat data, and it can be used or redistributed as desired. However, a statement of the data source when citing, copying, or reprinting USGS Landsat data or images is requested. Details can be found on the EROS Data Citation page.

Update Frequency: New Landsat scenes are added daily as they become available. Data is typically available 1-2 days after publishing by USGS. There may occasionally be additional delays due to planned or unplanned maintenance.

Format: GeoTIFF plus ancillary data.

GCS Location: gs://gcp-public-data-landsat (located in the US region).

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