Landsat-8 data

On May 30 2013 NASA handed control of the Landsat Data Continuity Mission to the USGS. With this the Landsat DCM became Landsat 8, and that means images are now public (woohoo!)
Calibrated imagery is available through the Earth Explorer. Unfortunately, the Earth Explorer interface can be a bit of a pain, so a Quick Guide to Earth Explorer for Landsat 8 can be found here (click the link).

Nicely presented, very general, information about the Landsat program can be found at:


The actual data can be found and downloaded from:

It is worth to check all these websites if you are interested in a region since strangely there are different scenes available for free download on the different websites.


Landsat 8 data includes additional bands, the combinations used to create RGB. Hence, the composites differ from Landsat 7 and Landsat 5. For instance, bands 4, 3, 2 are used to create a colour infrared (CIR) image using Landsat 7 or Landsat 5. To create a CIR composite using Landsat 8 data, bands 5, 4, 3 are used.

The graph at the bottom of the page shows the wavelengths from both Landsat 7 (bottom row) and Landsat 8 (top row). Seeing where the bands fall will help to create Landsat 8 RGB composites that will be comparable to Landsat 7 and 5.

Displayed below are a few common band combinations in RGB comparisons for Landsat 7 or Landsat 5, and Landsat 8.

                                                                                                  Landsat 7
                                                                                                  Landsat 5
Landsat 8
Color Infrared: 	4, 3, 2 	5,4,3 Color Infrared: 4, 3, 2 5,4,3
Natural Color: 	3, 2, 1 	4,3,2 Natural Color: 3, 2, 1 4,3,2
False Color: 	5,4,3 	6,5,4 False Color: 5,4,3 6,5,4
False Color: 	7,5,3 	7,6,4 False Color: 7,5,3 7,6,4
False Color: 	7,4,2 	7,5,3 False Color: 7,4,2 7,5,3

Landsat 8’s OLI sensor includes a new coastal/aerosol band (band 1), which can be used with two other bands for closer investigations of coastal waters and estimating the concentration of aerosols in the atmosphere, however, in most cases, models will use the radiance values of this band.

Also new, OLI’s cirrus band (band 9) provides better detection of cirrus cloud contamination in each scene.

Bandpass wavelengths for Landsat 8 OLI and TIRS sensor, compared to Landsat 7 ETM+ sensor