I am working on a project were I am using LANDSAT 8 images for remote sensing. The issue that I have is that when I zoom into them the photo is pixellated. I can not see a thing. When I zoom out and view it from a distance it works, but I need to be able to view it closely. What I need is to have a clear view at say a scale of 1:1,250. Is this possible? I have taken and looked at pan-sharpening the bands, is there anything else that I may be missing? The program that I am using is ArcMap.


The reason why it looks pixelated at 1:2500 (and probably at 1:10K or 1:20K) is that you are looking at a single resolution cell (30 metres on the ground, as pointed out by Mapperz) across multiple pixels on the screen.

Lets assume that you're looking at a 30m cell at 1:1000 (in true scale, ignore that your monitor probably doesn't really do that) - that means that the cell would be 30m / 1000 = 30 millimetres (3 cm). At 1:2500, it will be 2.5 times smaller (or a bit more than 1 cm), and at 1:10K its still 3mm.

Again, as pointed out by Mapperz in his comments, you'll need finer grained data (higher resolution) if you want it to look like a nice photograph. There is a panchromatic band in Landsat 8 that is only 15m, which you can use to pan sharpen. However that isn't going to get you to 1:2500.

You can add details if you have something to work with, but you can't create good data where there isn't detail to work from. In the end, you only have the data you have.

  • Thank you for the information. I have used the band 8 to pan sharpen, but like you said it still does not provide the level of detail that I need. I Have looked at the sites Mapperz listed, do you know of any more? Using sites like usgs.earthexplorer does not provide high resolution. – Paul Carlson Nov 20 '13 at 3:13
  • WorldView 2 or Quickbird data might be useful - depends on the bands you need. – BradHards Nov 20 '13 at 3:36

As others have pointed out at the scales you want to work at Landsat data is too coarse. However, one thing you can try which will help a bit is to change the resample technique that is used to display the image. You can do that by following these instructions:

  1. Right click on the Landsat layer in the Table of Contents
  2. Choose the Properties item from the menu
  3. Click on the Display tab of the Layer Properties Dialog. Halfway down (see screenshot) there will be a drop down titled Resample during display using:. The default method is Nearest Neighbor, select either Bilinear interpolation or Cubic Convolution enter image description here
  4. Click the OK button

This won't let you view Landsat at 1:1250 but it will improve the image a bit.

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