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Question:

What are "no-Payload Correction Data" scenes?

Answer:

Payload Correction Data (PCD) provides critical information when correcting for geometric distortions inherent to the imaging system and temperature values used to estimate per-scan gains and biases necessary for the radiometric calibration of the instrument's thermal band data.

Over 260,000 Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper (TM) scenes acquired between January 1986 and December 1999, originally downlinked to international ground stations, lack the necessary PCD. The green dots on the map below displays the coverage of these scenes.

Landsat TM no-PCD coverage
Figure 1.  The green dots display the coverage of Landsat TM no-PCD.

Until recently, these scenes failed Landsat Level-1 data processing and could not be added to the Landsat data inventory. However, as of early February 2018, processing algorithm changes make it possible to process the majority of these scenes into the Landsat Collection 1 data inventory and make them available for download from EarthExplorer and GloVis. Adding these unique scenes significantly enriches the Landsat archive and improves the scope of time series analysis.

46 percent of the scenes processed within the required root square mean error (RMSE) of 12 meters or lesss, and were placed into the Tier 1 collection category. The remaining 54 percent of the scenes are cataloged as Tier 2.

No-PCD scenes are included in EarthExplorer's Landsat 4-5 TM Collection 1 Level-1 search results.  A new metadata field  "DATA_ANOMALY" is visible on EarthExplorer's metadata information for each scene, and is also listed in the metadata (.MTL.txt) file that accompanies the Level-1 product. The field value "NO_PCD" identifies these scenes as such.

Users may see some geometric distortions and differences in radiance values in TM no-PCD scenes. For more technical information about TM no-PCD scenes, please visit the Landsat no-PCD page.