Landsat Missions

Landsat 8

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Landsat 8

The Landsat 8 satellite images the entire Earth every 16 days in an 8-day offset from Landsat 7. Data collected by the instruments onboard the satellite are available to download at no charge from GloVis, EarthExplorer, or via the LandsatLook Viewer within 24 hours of reception.

Landsat 8 Instruments

Landsat 8 carries two instruments: The Operational Land Imager (OLI) sensor includes refined heritage bands, along with three new bands: a deep blue band for coastal/aerosol studies, a shortwave infrared band for cirrus detection*, and a Quality Assessment band. The Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) provides two thermal bands. These sensors both provide improved signal-to-noise (SNR) radiometric performance quantized over a 12-bit dynamic range. (This translates into 4096 potential grey levels in an image compared with only 256 grey levels in previous 8-bit instruments.) Improved signal to noise performance enable better characterization of land cover state and condition. Products are delivered as 16-bit images (scaled to 55,000 grey levels).

Landsat 8 images have a large file size, at approximately 1 GB compressed.

Band names, wavelengths and resolution for each sensor are listed on this FAQ.

Comparisons of Landsat 8 and Landsat 7 spectral bands and band combinations can be seen on this FAQ.

Landsat 8 Data Products

Landsat 8 data products are consistent with Landsat 1 to Landsat 7 standard Level-1 (orthorectified) data products, using the following specifications:

Level-1T - Terrain Corrected
Pixel Size:
OLI multispectral bands 1-7,9: 30-meters
OLI panchromatic band 8: 15-meters
TIRS bands 10-11: collected at 100 meters but resampled to 30 meters to match OLI multispectral bands

Data Characteristics:


  • GeoTIFF data format
  • Cubic Convolution (CC) resampling
  • North Up (MAP) orientation
  • Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) map projection (Polar Stereographic projection for scenes with a center latitude greater than or equal to -63.0 degrees)
  • World Geodetic System (WGS) 84 datum
  • 12 meter circular error, 90% confidence global accuracy for OLI
  • 41 meter circular error, 90% confidence global accuracy for TIRS
  • 16-bit pixel values
Data Delivery:
.tar.gz compressed file via HTTP Download
File size:
Approximately 1 GB (compressed), approximately 2 GB (uncompressed)

Landsat Data Processing Details

Landsat 8 Pre-WRS-2 Data Products

The Landsat 8 OLI/TIRS Pre-WRS-2 data set contains nearly 10,000 scenes acquired by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) and/or Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) sensors after launch (February 11, 2013) through April 10, 2013, when the satellite achieved operational orbit (WRS-2). The earliest images are TIRS data only. These data are also visible and can be downloaded using GloVis or EarthExplorer.

While these data meet the quality standards and have the same geometric precision as data acquired on April 11, 2013 and beyond, the geographic extents of each scene will differ.

Most data will be processed to an L1T (as other standard products), and the pixel size will be 30 meters. There may be some differences in the spatial resolution of the early TIRS images due to telescope temperature changes, but they should be within +/- 1 percent. The TIRS data will be resampled to 30 meters for co-registration with the OLI data.

Landsat 8 Data Documentation and Information

The Landsat 8 Data User's Handbook provides information about the Landsat 8 data products.

Landsat Project Documentation

The Frequently Asked Questions include interesting details about the Landsat 8 satellite and avaiable data products.

Information is available for coverting Landsat 8 Level-1 data to radiance, reflectance and at-satellite brightness temperature.

Images of important areas in the development of Landsat 8 are available.

Landsat 8/ LDCM’s Underfly with Landsat 7

*Gao, B.C. and Kaufman, Y.J. 1995. Selection of the 1.375 micrometer MODIS Channel for Remote Sensing of Cirrus Clouds and Stratospheric Aerosols from Space, Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 52 (23), p.4231-4237.


Landsat represents the world's longest continuously acquired collection of space-based moderate-resolution land remote sensing data. Four decades of imagery provides a unique resource for those who work in agriculture, geology, forestry, regional planning, education, mapping, and global change research. Landsat images are also invaluable for emergency response and disaster relief.


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Landsat Updates

The Landsat Update is an informal communication tool, prepared periodically and distributed electronically to USGS Landsat partners, to provide information about Landsat activities and related topics of interest.

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