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Why do some U.S. Landsat ARD tiles display areas of no data?

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Why do some U.S. Landsat ARD tiles display areas of no data?


Due to the structure of the U.S. Landsat ARD grid compared to the traditional Landsat swath-based acquisition for each day, there may not be sufficient data to fill each ARD tile completely.

The amount of usable data within in each tile is dependent upon 1) where the traditional Landsat swath-based WRS-2 path/row scene data acquired on each day falls within each tile and 2) the availability of suitable input data used to create ARD tiles. Each tile has different amounts of usable data. The no-data area of the tile is black-filled.

The images below display the same tile (h26v08) in western Pennsylvania. Figures 1, 2 and 3 all display data lengthwise, which indicates data from one or more Landsat WRS-2 scenes within the same swath met the ARD data input requirements (Landsat Collections Tier 1 and/or Tier 2). Figure 4 displays very little data, because the Landsat WRS-2 scene that would have provided the remaining data to the top of the tile did not meet ARD data input requirements.

h26v08 - Landsat 8: May 11, 2015   h26v08 - Landsat 4 TM: November 25, 1982
ARD Image: h26v08_L8_20150511
Figure 1. LC08_CU_026008_20150511_20170729_C01_V01
    ARD Image: h26v08_L4_19821125
Figure 2. LT04_CU_026008_19821125_20170511_C01_V01


h26v08 - Landsat 8: July 2, 2014


h26v08  - Landsat 5 TM: March 7, 2009

ARD Image: h26v08_L8_20140702
Figure 3. LC08_CU_026008_20140702_20170729_C01_V01


ARD Image: h26v08_L5_20090307

Figure 4. LT05_CU_026008_20090307_20170728_C01_V01

Because of this characteristic, users are encouraged to study their areas of interest to determine and select the tile(s) that are best suited for their particular scientific application.  The 'Results' tab in EarthExplorer's includes a 'Browse Overlay' option for each ARD tile, to view exactly where data falls within each ARD tile.

Visit the U.S. Landsat ARD webpage for more information.




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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