Sunday, March 22, 2015

Landsat Satellite Imagery on AWS

The big mapping news this week was the release of Landsat 8 satellite imagery as a data-set on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Landsat on AWS provides free access to Landsat 8 satellite imagery. This is great news for map developers who can now use Landsat 8 imagery without the cost of downloading and storing Landsat data.

Landsat is a partnership between the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and NASA that creates moderate-resolution (30 meter) satellite imagery of the Earth's land surface every 16 days. The imagery has been free to use since 2008. Now, thanks to AWS, developers can also avoid the cost of hosting the data.

An informative CartoDB animated map provides a nice visualization of how Landsat 8 Completes an Entire Picture of the World Every 16 Days. The map uses the new AWS Landsat data-set to show how Landsat captures fresh satellite imagery of the Earth's entire land mass over the course of 16 days.

If you want to explore the latest Landsat imagery in more detail you can view the newest imagery on Mapbox's Landsat-live. Landsat-live uses the latest Landsat 8 satellite imagery to provide a near real-time satellite view of the Earth at 30 meter resolution.

Because the map uses the most recent Landsat 8 satellite imagery many locations around the world will be affected by cloud cover. If you find your town is obscured by clouds you can always return to the map in 16 days time to see if the next pass of Landsat 8 has provided clearer imagery.
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