Landsat Missions

Landsat Land Data Operational Product Evaluation (L-LDOPE) Tool

You are here

Landsat Quality Assessment (QA) Band
Landsat 8 OLI Collection 1 Quality Assessment (QA) Band example

Landsat Level-1 Quality Assessment (QA) bands are a helpful resource for evaluating the overall usefulness of a Landsat pixel. Each pixel in the QA band contains a decimal value that represents bit-packed combinations of surface, atmospheric, and sensor conditions that can affect the individual pixel quality. The Level-1 QA bands are 16-bit files in GeoTIFF format which require robust image processing software.

To simplify the "unpacking" of the QA band information, the USGS developed the Landsat Land Data Operational Product Evaluation (L-LDOPE) Tool, which was derived from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) LDOPE Toolbox. The L-LDOPE Tool originally supported Landsat data in Hierarchical Data Format (HDF), similar to MODIS data. However, the USGS has moved away from Landsat HDF data delivery and toward using GeoTIFF as the standard Landsat data product delivery format, and the L-LDOPE Tool needed to be changed accordingly. The source code for the original version of the L-LDOPE Tool is available on GitHub.

When the L-LDOPE Tool was updated to support GeoTIFF file formats, it was only applicable to Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) Pre-Collection Level-1 data since they were the only Landsat data with QA bands. Today, Landsat Collection 1 Level-1 data include QA bands for Landsat 4-5 Thematic Mapper (TM) and Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+), and an altered QA band for Landsat 8 OLI. The L-LDOPE Tool was again updated to support Collection 1 Level-1 QA data. The current version of the L-LDOPE Tool provides support for Landsat 8 OLI Pre-Collection Level-1 QA bands as well as a tool supporting all of Collection 1 Level-1 QA data.

Download L-LDOPE Tool (.zip)
Includes: Linux 64-bit and Windows 64-bit executables, a source code directory, a binary directory, and a readme file.
Refer to the L-LDOPE Tool User Guide for more information.

No distribution or re-use constraints are associated with the L-LDOPE Tool. Users and developers using or modifying this tool should provide credit to the original authors. Please acknowledge the use of these tools, including use of significant code fragments taken from the source code, for example, "Software tools provided by the MODIS land quality assessment group (Roy et al. 2002)".

Roy, D.P., Borak, J.S., Devadiga, S., Wolfe, R.E., Zheng, M., Descloitres, J., 2002, The MODIS Land Product Quality Assessment Approach, Remote Sensing of Environment, 83, 62-76.

Additionally, a user experience with these tools is described in Landsat Surface Reflectance Quality Assurance Extraction (Version 1.7) (J. Jones et al, 2013).

Please use the Contact Us form with any questions regarding the use of the L-LDOPE Tool.

Download Adobe Reader


Landsat represents the world's longest continuously acquired collection of space-based moderate-resolution land remote sensing data. Four decades of imagery provides a unique resource for those who work in agriculture, geology, forestry, regional planning, education, mapping, and global change research. Landsat images are also invaluable for emergency response and disaster relief.


Contact Us

Landsat Updates

The Landsat Update is an informal communication tool, prepared periodically and distributed electronically to USGS Landsat partners, to provide information about Landsat activities and related topics of interest.

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: Ask Landsat
Page Last Modified: 11/29/16 03:03 pm