Landsat Missions

Using the USGS Spectral Viewer

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The USGS Spectral Viewer tool helps users determine what bands of satellite sensors work best for image interpretation studies.

View Graph

  • The main viewing tab of the tool; all selections on other tabs of the tool are displayed here.
  • A zoom feature allows a closer look at the wavelengths and spectra values.
  • Reset Graph = resets the graph to the beginning zoom view, and displays the default Landsat 8 OLI Bands and Lawn Grass Spectra.
  • Save Graph = allows the current view to be as a .jpg file.
  • Set Default = returns to beginning display of Landsat 8 OLI Bands and Lawn Grass Spectra.
  • Print: The current view can be printed.

Select Spectra

(Source of reflectance spectra: USGS Spectroscopy Lab

  • Lists the available spectra that can be selected to view
  • Users have the option to save the values of the selected spectra as a .txt file.

Select Bands

Select Convolve

  • To simulate how a sensor detects a surface feature in a given spectral band, the feature's spectrum is "convolved" with the sensor's RSR. This is based on the average of the wavelength extents of the full width at half maximum values.

Add Atmosphere

  • Particles and gasses in the atmosphere affect the transmission of incoming electromagnetic radiation, and influence which wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum we use for remote sensing applications. Wavelengths that transmit radiant energy effectively are called atmospheric windows.
  • The Atmospheric Transmittance can be selected to help determine which bands are optimal.


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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Page Last Modified: 04/25/18 01:57 pm