This photo of the stratovolcano Mount Taranaki was taken about on June 15, 2005. The same precipitation that put snow on the mountains has made the surrounding farmland lush and green. The protected forest land of Egmont National Park makes the oddly geometric circle surrounding the volcano. That circle is about 19 kilometers in diameter. NASA / USGS / Emily Lakdawalla

Browsing Landsat data is a lot easier than I thought it was

Posted By Emily Lakdawalla
2013/02/08 05:05 CST

With the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (otherwise known as Landsat 8) scheduled to launch on Monday, there’s been a lot of Tweeting about Landsat, and through one such Tweet I learned about a resource that I hadn’t known existed before: the LandsatLook Viewer. This is a graphical interface to more than a decade worth of Landsat data, a tremendous resource for anyone interested in Earth’s changing surface, natural or manmade. I haven’t done much with Landsat data lately, but it’s the very first kind of satellite image data I ever processed, and I’m thrilled to find that LandsatLook puts it at my — and your — fingertips.

Landsat is a long series of satellites that have orbited Earth since 1972. All of them have carried similar camera systems, which means that they have established a continuous record of the changing face of Earth over those forty-plus years. Most Landsat image data are medium-resolution, at about 30 meters per pixel. This is too coarse to see most buildings, but it’s fine enough to see patterns of land use, and it’s a resolution at which you can achieve repeated global coverage.

Read more: Browsing Landsat data is a lot easier than I thought it was | The Planetary Society.

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