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Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) Film Only


    TM scenes from Landsat 4
    and 5 (1982-1988)


    Band 4 image of the
    Cascade Mountain Range

The Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM), a sensor carried on Landsats 4 and 5, acquired seven spectral bands of radiant energy from the earth's surface. The wavelength range for the TM sensor is from the visible through the mid-infrared and into the thermal-infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.

The satellites operated from a sun-synchronous, near-polar orbit, imaging the same 185 km swath every 16 days. The scenes are approximately 170 km by 185 km at a resolution of 30 meters for the six reflective bands and 120 meters for the thermal band. Bands 1 through 5 and 7 are reflective radiation; band 6 is thermal radiation.

NASA launched Landsat 4 in 1982 and Landsat 5 in 1984. Original TM data was recorded on high density magnetic tape, corrected for atmospheric scattering and sent to a laser beam film recorder where the photographic images were created. The TM Film Only collection includes recovered scenes that were acquired from 1982 through 1988 where the original data for these scenes are no longer available from magnetic media. The only remaining source for this subset of TM data are the black-and-white film images. Since all TM data are of historical value for global change research, these images have been scanned at 1000 dpi (25 micron) making the data digitally accessible to the scientific community.

Digital Products

Two digital download options are available through EarthExplorer for the TM Film Only scenes held in the USGS archive.

A seven band Landsat TM image is a file that consists of a zip file containing seven co-registered spectral bands for each scene. The file size for each black-and-white band is approximately 75 MB. The files are stored in a TIFF format.

A full resolution color composite of a Landsat TM Film Only scene is a Red, Green, Blue (Bands 5, 4, 3) image created from the black & white scans. The file size for a TM color composite image is approximately 8 MB. The file is stored in a JPG format.

Coverage Maps

Coverage Maps indicating the availability of TM Film Only products are available for download.

Additional Information:

Data Use and Citation Policies

For information on how to cite USGS data plus guidance on usage restrictions,
please see our Data Citations and Use page at

Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and
does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Contact Information for User Assistance

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
47914 252nd Street
Sioux Falls, SD 57198-0001

Phone Number: 605-594-6151
Toll Free: 800-252-4547
Fax: 605-594-6589


Business Hours: Monday thru Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Central Time