Monday, April 20, 2015

The Landsat 8 Cloud Cover Map

In March  the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and NASA began releasing Landsat 8 satellite imagery as a data-set on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Landsat on AWS provides free access to Landsat 8 satellite imagery. Landsat on AWS includes all Landsat 8 imagery from 2015 and a selection of cloud-free scenes from 2013 and 2014.

Every day new Landsat 8 scenes are made available, often within hours of production. The new 2015 scenes includes satellite imagery that contains cloud cover. Landsat Cloudcover is a CartoDB map showing cloud cover estimates for LandSat satellite photography sites globally.images across the world.

The choropleth layer shows the average percent of cloud cover that might obscure the image capture process.

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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