Obviously it's potentially a very powerful tool, but I'm curious as to what practical applications people are using it for?

Admittedly, this is a very broad question... The reason I ask is because while I personally am aware of a number of applications, I'm sure that others out there have thought of many other novel uses that might be interesting to share, and think about.

In addition, if you are using LANDSAT data yourself, what sort of workflow are you going through to get what you need from the data?

8 Answers 8


You could refer this 47 page report by USGS "The Users, Uses, and Value of Landsat and Other Moderate-Resolution Satellite Imagery in the United States—Executive Report"

This page gives a list of research works done using Landsat Data.

  • (+1) Table 2 on p. 11 enumerates several dozen practical applications.
    – whuber
    Commented Feb 27, 2012 at 16:32

I am using Landsat 7 satellite images to estimate evapotranspiration from reeds to establish wetlands water balance. Pity that Landsat 7 has failed Scan Line Corrector but still it is useful. Here is the link to a short description of my PhD research about it.




Before the Scan Line Corrector failed on Landsat 7, we were using Landsat imagery for delineating snow covered areas. Because we have a relatively short snow season and the added gamble of Landsats temporal resolution mixed with the lottery of good weather in winter we used to get two or three good images per year.

Since then we have used products derived from Landsat imagery such as vegetation classifications and direct image products for moderate resolution base map imagery.


I used some Landsat7 ETM+ SLC-off scenes, stitched together using the most-recent on top, and filled the missing pixels by using timely neighboring acquisitions, to assess the accuracy of burned area maps derived from MODIS surface reflectance products. Details to be found in the work Burned area mapping via non-centered PCA using Public Domain Data and Free Open Source Software


I'm using landsat to quantify land loss for agriculture along a 200Km section of the river Indus in Pakistan. I'm reclassify the imagery over as many years worth of data I could download using the standard geoprocessing tools in Arcmap. The problems I am having is misclassified land and identifying the bank edge in a braiding river.


I used Landsat 7 to evaluate land cover changes related to internally displaced people/refugees in Africa. I derived the LCC from a time series analysis based on multitemporal MODIS data.

Although the Scan Line Corrector failed Landsat 7 imagery could be used to compare to the trends from MODIS time series (higher resolution).


Global Forest Watch uses Landsat data to track forest change.

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I don't use it much anymore, but I once used the thermal band of Landsat imagery to study the Urban Heat Island Effect and compare how surface temperature changes from urban areas to vegetated areas.

Due to the continuity of the Landsat program, I was able to measure the changes between 1990 - 2009.

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