First images from Landsat 8 begin to roll in

We told you earlier this year about the launch of the Landsat 8 satellite and now the first images captured by that satellite are starting to arrive.


NASA’s Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) page has quite a bit of detail about the imagery including the following:

But the work is only beginning for validating the data quality and getting ready for normal mission operations. These images were processed using pre-launch settings, which must be checked and adjusted now that LDCM is in orbit to ensure that the data accurately measure the intensity of reflected and emitted light received by the instruments. The mission operations team also needs to ensure that each pixel is accurately located on Earth’s surface.

LDCM’s normal operations are scheduled to begin in late May when the instruments have been calibrated and the spacecraft has been fully checked out. At that time, NASA will hand over control of the satellite to the USGS, which will operate the satellite throughout its planned five-year mission life. The satellite will be renamed Landsat 8, and data from OLI and TIRS will be processed and added to the Landsat Data Archive at the Earth Resources Observation and Science Center in South Dakota, where it will be distributed for free over the Internet.

There is no specific timeframe for when imagery from this satellite may arrive in Google Earth, but it’s certainly coming. You can read more about this imagery on the LCDM site or the Google Geo Developers Blog.

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.


  1. On google earth how many years back can you see the geography?

  2. Landsat-8 will be a turning point towards turning the entire Google Earth present concept, as we know from Nasa information.Thanks Google.Keep going on.
    However we sincerely thanks for putting ‘Bangladesh Independence Day 2013’ in Google landing page logo.

  3. Who cares? Give street view from across Poland. You liars.

  4. archangelmichael2 says:

    How the heck do you comment on their blog? I looked and looked by find no comment box unlike here where it’s clearly visible.

  5. How many men from Google does it take to screw on a light bulb?

  6. bernd reuter says:

    all these announcings….they should do their homework and improve the algorithm. In all the latest updates they are loosing quality by darkening and grizzling the raw material.
    For example look at Akthubinsk Airfield in Russia to see what I mean 48.305187°46.214890° or former Moscow ABM site 56.339476° 36.793874°. Compare this with Bing!
    Restore the situation which you had a couple of years ago. That is the main task. What should the user do with new pictures from what satellite so ever if you are going to destroy them by your “preparing of the pictures” into google software. The quality is sometimes so bad that you hide more recent pictures into the history layer!

  7. Mickey – do you have any information for GEB readers on whether the quality of the imagery from Landsat 8, once processed by Google, will be better or worse than the current imagery on GE ?
    Judging by the latest update, decline in the quality of new imagery in terms of resolution, clarity, and colour loss is becoming a serious issue.

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