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Landsat 8 OLI (Operational Land Imager) and TIRS (Thermal Infrared Sensor)

       

The Operational Land Imager (OLI) and Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) are instruments onboard the Landsat 8 satellite, which was launched in February of 2013. The satellite collects images of the Earth with a 16-day repeat cycle, referenced to the Worldwide Reference System-2.  The satellite’s acquisitions are in an 8-day offset to Landsat 7 (see http://landsat.usgs.gov/tools_acq.php). The approximate scene size is 170 km north-south by 183 km east-west (106 mi by 114 mi).

The spectral bands of the OLI sensor, while similar to Landsat 7’s ETM+ sensor, provide enhancement from prior Landsat instruments, with the addition of two new spectral bands: a deep blue visible channel (band 1) specifically designed for water resources and coastal zone investigation, and a new infrared channel (band 9) for the detection of cirrus clouds. Two thermal bands (TIRS) capture data with a minimum of 100 meter resolution, but are registered to and delivered with the OLI data product. (See Landsat satellite band designations for more information.) Landsat 8 file sizes are larger than Landsat 7 data, due to additional bands and improved 16-bit data product (see http://landsat.usgs.gov/L8_files.php).

Landsat 8 Level 1 data products typically include data from both the OLI and TIRS sensor; however there may be OLI-only and/or TIRS-only scenes in the USGS archive.  The first two values of the Landsat 8 scene ID designates the data provided in each scene:

LC80290302014084LGN00  = Combined (both OLI and TIRS data)
LO80810202014064LGN00  = OLI data only
LT81172002013314LGN00  = TIRS data only

A Quality Assurance (QA.tif) band is also included. This file provides bit information regarding conditions that may affect the accuracy and usability of a given pixel – clouds, water or snow, for example. More information about the QA band can be found at http://landsat.usgs.gov/L8QualityAssessmentBand.php.

LandsatLook Images (full resolution files) are also available for Landsat 8 scenes, as they are for all previous Landsat scenes.  In addition to the Natural Color, Thermal, and Geographic Reference bundle files available, Landsat 8 scenes also include a Quality .png file. This provides a visual representation the QA.tif file.  Details about LandsatLook images can be found on http://landsat.usgs.gov/LandsatLookImages.php.

Standard Processing Parameters

Processing:

Level 1T - Terrain Corrected

Pixel Size:

  • OLI Multispectral bands: 30 meters
  • OLI panchromatic band: 15 meters
  • TIRS Thermal bands: 100 meters (resampled to 30 meters to match multispectral bands)

Data Characteristics:

  • GeoTIFF data format
  • Cubic Convolution (CC) resampling
  • North Up (MAP) orientation
  • Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) map projection (Polar Stereographic for Antarctica)
  • World Geodetic System (WGS) 84 datum
  • 12 meter circular error, 90% confidence global accuracy for OLI
  • 41 meter circular error, 90% confidence global accuracy for TIRS
  • 16-bit pixel values

Data Delivery:

HTTP Download within 24 hours of acquisition

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 https://lta.cr.usgs.gov/citation.

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

Long Term Archive User Services
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
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