Landsat 8 will ensure the continued acquisition and availability of Landsat data with instruments that will collect image data for nine shortwave bands and two longwave thermal bands.

Landsat 8 LDCM was launched by NASA on 11th February 2013 from the Vanderberg Air Force Base, California. The joint Landsat Program of NASA and USGS sees the launch of Landsat 8 LDCM as the continuation of 30-plus years of global data collection and distribution. The data from the program constitute the longest continuous record of the Earth’s surface as seen from space.

Resolution 15m Panchromatic Operational Land Imager (OLI)
30m Multispectral OLI
30m Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) resampled
Scene Size 170km x 185 km
Bands Coastal Aerosol 427-459nm
Blue 436-528nm
Green 513-611nm
Red 626-692nm
NIR 830-901nm
SWIR1 1516-1699nm
SWIR2 2038-2356nm
Pan 488-693nm
Cirrus 1341-1410nm

Archive Availability From 11 April, 2013
Programmable? No
Minimum area of purchase Varies from source
Stereo available? No
Largest Scale 1:40,000 - pansharpened 15m
1:80,000 - OLI
Bit depth 12 bits
Applications Spectral processing for mineral exploration
Vegetation analysis
Large regional coverage
Extensive archive for change detection
Availability of imagery over cloud affected areas
Minimal expense, medium resolution dataset

Landsat 8 LDCM Updates:

Landsat 8 LDCM differs from its predecessor Landsat 7 ETM+ with the addition of 2 new spectral bands; Coastal Aerosol (band 1), designed to investigate water resources and coastal zones, and Cirrus (band 9) a new infrared channel for the detection of cirrus clouds.  The data and radiometric quality is a marked improvement at 12-bits in comparison to previous Landsat instrumetns at 8-bits.  Within one day Landsat 8 LDCM will have collected 400 scenes and placed in the USGS archive to become available within 24 hours of acquisition. 

Uses of the new bands

Coastal Aerosol band (band 1) allows closer investigation of atmospheric aerosol concentrations, as well as, coastal waters relative to MODIS and SeaWIFS sensors.
Cirrus band (band 9) is designed to provide a more comprehensive detection of cirrus cloud contamination an indicator to atmospheric contamination. In addition, the use of the cirrus band will allow for improved cloud masking and haze removal processing techniques important over tropical and sub-tropical environments.

Comparison of Landsat 7 to Landsat 8

Image is Path 1 / Row 77 – Chile
Left hand images are all Landsat 8 captured on the 19 April 2013 
Right hand images are all Landsat 7 captured on the 29 April 2002 
Each image is 15km by 15km 
Top images are bands 7,4,1 
Middle is LSFIT for clay detection 
Bottom Abram’s Ration 5/7, 3/1, 4/3 in RGB 

The 16 bit quantisation of the Landsat 8 data compared to the 8bit quantisation of the Landsat 7 is evidenced particularly in the ratio image and the LSFIT where the noise levels (speckle) are drastically reduced and features are much better defined.

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