How-To download Landsat imagery
In this guide we will show how to download free Landsat images using EarthExplorer. With the same procedure you can download many more aerial/satellite data sets from many satellites like ASTER, MODIS etc, also some Digital Elevation data sets like ASTER, GTOPO and SRTM. You can also find some LiDAR data in EarthExplorer’s database.
The first step is to access EarthExplorer at http://earthexplorer.usgs.gov
If it’s the first time you are using EarthExplorer, register using the “Register” Link at the top right (see red mark at the image above). Although it is not required to search the data sets, you need to register in order to download them. The next step is to login using the “Login” link beside the “Register” link.
Searching for data
Enter an address in to the box on the left and/or zoom into an area and click “Use Map” to limit your search to a specific geographic area. Alternatively, you can upload a shapefile or a KML file of your study area.
When you specify your area choose a date range of the imagery and then click “Data Sets”.
Expand Landsat Archive and check off the datasets you are interested in e.g. L4-5 TM for Landsat ThematicMapper 4-5 data sets. Click “i” to learn more about each dataset. Then, click “Results”.
Now, you see all the available satellite images in the date range you specified earlier with preview image, acquisition date, ID etc. You also have a bar with 7-8 buttons like: Show Footprint, Show Browse Overlay, Compare Browse, Show Metadata and browse, Download Options etc. When you decide which image is the best for your needs click “Download Options”.
Afterwards, you will see a popup with Download Options like: LandsatLook “Natural Color” Image, LandsatLook Thermal Image, LandsatLook Images with Geographic Reference and Level 1 Product which is usually the biggest and the most complete solution. Choose “Level 1 Product” (or any other choice if you think it’s better for your needs) and click “Select Download Option”.
All* Landsat standard data products are processed using the Level 1 Product Generation System (LPGS) with the following parameters applied:
- GeoTIFF output format
- Cubic Convolution (CC) resampling method
- 30-meter (TM, ETM+) and 60-meter (MSS) pixel size (reflective bands)
- Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) map projection (Polar Stereographic projection for scenes with a center latitude greater than or equal to -63.0 degrees)
- World Geodetic System (WGS) 84 datum
- MAP (North-up) image orientation
* A very small number of Landsat TM scenes are processed using the National Land Archive Production System (NLAPS). Details about the differences between LPGS and NLAPS can be found at http://landsat.usgs.gov/products_IP_LPGSvsNLAPS.php.
The final step is the popup above in which the only think you have to do is to click “Download” and then Landsat image will be saved in your computer’s local disk.
There is an EarthExplorer Help Tutorial with more details written by USGS. Download it!