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Question:

How do I determine the processing level of the Landsat scene I have downloaded?

Answer:

The processing level is noted in the metadata (.MTL.txt) file that is delivered with each Landsat Level-1 data product. 

Processing level designations changed when Landsat 1-8 scenes were processed into Collection 1 Level-1 data products (see the table below). 

Landsat 9 Level-1 data products will contain the same processing level designation.

Landsat Level-1 Data Products Processing Levels

Pre-Collection (MSS)

Collection 1
 

Description
L1T L1TP

Radiometrically calibrated and orthorectified using ground control points and digital elevation model (DEM) data to correct for relieft displacement. These are the highest quality Level-1 products suitable for pixel-level time series analysis.

L1Gt L1GT

Radiometrically calibrated and systematic geometric corrections applied using the spacecraft ephemeris and DEM data to correct for relief displacement.

L1G

L1GS

Radiometrically calibrated with systematic geometric corrections using the spacecraft ephemeris data.

 

Within the MTL.txt file for each Pre-Collection and Collection 1 scene, the processing level is listed as DATA TYPE, as seen in the figure below.

Comparison of Pre-Collection and Collection 1 MTL Processing Levels
Pre-Collection (left) and Collection 1 processing levels as noted in the metadata (MTL.txt) file.