Landsat

Diagram of Landsat 7 satellite (courtesy of NASA)

Diagram of the Landsat 7 Satellite
© Geoscience Australia

How to get Landsat imagery and data

To enquire about data availability or to order your Landsat satellite data, please contact Earth Observation Client Services.

A proporation of the Australia Landsat archive is available from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). This can be found by going to Earth Explorer.

Landsat ETM+, TM and MSS data is available under Creative Commons Licence 3.0

Satellite characteristics

Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) and Thematic Mapper (TM)

Geoscience Australia started acquiring ETM+ data from the Landsat 7 satellite in July 1999. The Geoscience Australia archive is the largest repository of Landsat 7 images covering Australia.

A fault with the Landsat 7 Scan Line Corrector (SLC) occurred on 31 May 2003 resulting in small gaps in the processed products.

Example of the Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) image

Example of a Landsat Thematic
Mapper image
© Geoscience Australia

Example of Landsat 7 image

Example of a Landsat 7 image
© Geoscience Australia

The Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) is a sensor onboard the Landsat 4 and Landsat 5 spacecrafts. It provided information on the Earth's surface in the visible, near, middle and thermal infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Thematic Mapper data of Australia, Papua New Guinea and South-Eastern Indonesia was acquired in Australia from September 1987 until 31 December 1999. Acquisitions of Landsat 5 TM data recommenced on 1 July 2003 and ceased on 18 November 2011.






Operational Land Imager (OLI) Thermal Infrared (TIR)

Radiometric Characteristics of the Landsat 8
Band Number Spectral Range(in Microns) ResolutionMeters EM Region Generalised Application Details
1 (VIS) 0.433 - 0.453 30 New Deep Blue Aerosol/Coastal Zone
2 (VIS) 0.45 - 0.515 30 Blue Pigments/scatter/coastal
3 (VIS) 0.525 - 0.6 30 Green Pigments/coastal
4 (VIS) 0.63 - 0.68 30 Red Pigments/coastal
5 (NIR) 0.845 - 0.885 30 NIR Foliage/coastal
6 (SWIR) 1.56 - 1.66 30 SWIR 2 Foliage
7 (SWIR) 2.1 - 2.3 30 SWIR 3 Minerals/litter/no scatter
8 Panchromatic (15m) 0.5 - 0.68 15 PAN Image Sharpening
9 Cirrus 1.36 - 1.39 30 SWIR Cirrus cloud Detection
10 (TIR) 10.3 - 11.3 100 Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) 1 Evaporation from soil & transpiration from plants
11 (TIR) 11.5 - 12.5 100 TIR 2 Evaporation from soil & transpiration from plants

?
Property
Ground Sampling Interval Bands 1-7,9 30m x 30m
Band 8 (Pan) 15m x 15m
Bands 11& 12 (TIR) 100m x 100m
Swath Width 170km x 185km
Repeat Coverage 16 days (233 Orbits)
Altitiude 705km
Quantisation 12 bit
On board Data storage Solid State Recorders
Orbit type Sun-synchronous
Inclination 98.2 degrees
Equatorial Crossing Descending Node: 10am Local Time
Orbit 98.9 minutes

Radiometric characteristics of the ETM+ and TM sensors

Band Number Spectral Range
(in Microns)
EM Region Generalised Application Details
1 0.45 - 0.52 Visible Blue Coastal water mapping, differentiation of vegetation from soils
2 0.52 - 0.60 Visible Green Assessment of vegetation vigour
3 0.63 - 0.69 Visible Red Chlorophyll absorption for vegetation differentiation
4 0.76 - 0.90 Near Infrared Biomass surveys and delineation of water bodies
5 1.55 - 1.75 Middle Infrared Vegetation and soil moisture measurements; differentiation between snow and cloud
6 10.40- 12.50 Thermal Infrared Thermal mapping, soil moisture studies and plant heat stress measurement
7 2.08 - 2.35 Middle Infrared Hydrothermal mapping
8 0.52 - 0.90 (panchromatic) Green, Visible Red, Near Infrared Large area mapping, urban change studies

Other satellite and image characteristics

Property Landsat 7 ETM+ Landsat 5 TM
Ground Sampling Interval (GSI)
(pixel size)
Bands 1-5 & 7
Band 6
Band 8
30- 30 m
60- 60 m
15- 15 m pixel size (18- 18 m GSI)*
30- 30 m
120- 120 m
N/A
Swath width 185 km 185 km
Repeat coverage interval 16 days (233 orbits) 16 days (233 orbits)
Altitude 705 km 705 km
Quantisation Best 8 of 9 bits 8 bits (256 levels)
On-board data storage 375 Gb (solid state) Magnetic tape failed
Orbit type Sun-synchronous Sun-synchronous
Inclination 98.2 98.2
Equatorial Crossing Descending node: 10:00 am Descending node: 10:10 am
* ETM+ band 8 (panchromatic) was designed to be acquired at 15m resolution, but post-launch testing shows a ground sampling interval closer to 18m.

Multispectral Scanner (MSS) - No longer available from Geoscience Australia

Example of a Landsat Multispectral Scanner (MSS) image

Example of a Landsat Multispectral
Scanner image
© Geoscience Australia

The Landsat Multispectral Scanner (MSS) was on Landsat 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. This sensor provided information on the earth's surface in the visible and near infrared parts of the spectrum. Geoscience Australia acquired Landsat MSS image data from 14 September 1979 to 30 November 1997. Some of this imagery data can be obtained from archives held by the USGS.

Radiometric characteristics

Band
Landsat 1-3
Band
Landsat 4 & 5
Spectral Range
(Microns)
EM Region Generalised Application Details
4 1 0.5 - 0.6 Visible Green Assessment of vegetation vigour, coastal water mapping
5 2 0.6 - 0.7 Visible Red Chlorophyll absorption for vegetation differentiation
6 3 0.7 - 0.8 Near Infrared Delineation of water bodies, biomass surveys
7 4 0.8 - 1.1 Near Infrared Delineation of water bodies, biomass surveys

Other characteristics

Ground Sampling Interval (pixel size) Landsat 1-3 57- 79 m
Quantisation 6 bit (64 levels)
Ground Sampling Interval (pixel size) Landsat 4,5 57- 82 m
Scene Size 184- 185.2 km
Quantisation 8 bit (256 levels)

History

Geoscience Australia receives and processes data from the Landsat series of satellites. The Landsat Program is the longest running satellite series for imaging Earth from space. The first satellite in the series was launched in 1972, and since then seven satellites have been launched. The eighth satellite, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission, is due to be launched early 2013. The Landsat Program has produced one of the most successful satellite ventures in space history with Landsat 5. Commencing in March 1984, the satellite had an expected life of 3 years. As of 2012 Geoscience Australia no longer processes or distributes Multispectral Scanner (MSS) data.

Of the sensors carried, the Multispectral Scanner (MSS) with 80-metre pixels and four spectral bands was found to provide information of unforeseen value. In July 1982, the launch of Landsat 4 saw the inclusion of the Thematic Mapper (TM) sensor with a 30-metre resolution and 7 spectral bands. Both sensors are on Landsat 5.

The newest in this series of remote sensing satellites is Landsat 7. Launched on 15 April 1999, Landsat 7 has the new Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) sensor. This sensor has the same 7 spectral bands as its predecessor, TM, but has an added panchromatic band with 15-metre resolution and a higher resolution thermal band of 60 metres. The ETM+ sensor also has a five percent absolute radiometric calibration.

Landsat MSS data was recorded over Australia by USGS from 1972 to 1979. Geoscience Australia (then ACRES) began acquisition of this data in September 1979. Acquisition of Landsat MSS image data ceased in December 1997. From late 1979 we have archived nearly every pass over Australia and continue to receive and archive data from Landsat 7 daily.

Diagram showing operational status of Landsat satellites 2005.

Diagram showing operational status of Landsat satellites 2005.
© Geoscience Australia

Satellite Launch Date Notes
Landsat 1 23 July 1972 Decommissioned 6 January 1978
Landsat 2 22 January 1975 Decommissioned 25 February 1982
Landsat 3 5 March 1978 Decommissioned 31 March 1983
Landsat 4 16 July 1982 Decommissioned June 2001
Landsat 5 1 March 1984 Thematic Mapper stopped acquiring data 18 November 2011
Landsat 6 October 1993 Failed on launch
Landsat 7 15 April 1999 Operating in SLC-Off mode after May 2003
LDCM - Landsat 8 24 January 2013 Due to be launched 24 January 2013

Topic contact: earth.observation@ga.gov.au Last updated: January 28, 2014