Landsat Missions

Spectral Characteristics Viewer

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"What are the best spectral bands to use for my study?"

This is a common question from all users of remotely sensed data. The spatial resolution (level of detail) is often the most interesting aspect of a satellite image, but less appreciated is how changes in irradiative energy reflected by surface materials are used to identify features of interest.

The Spectral Characteristics Viewer allows us to visualize how the bands of various satellite sensors measure the intensity of the wavelengths (colors) of light; this is called the Relative Spectral Response (RSR).

By overlaying the spectral curves from different spectra (features), the user can determine which bands of the selected sensor(s) will work for the application.

Download Relative Spectral Responses (RSR) for Landsat sensors

Spectral Characteristics Viewer

!! NOTE: This tool currently works only in Internet Explorer. We are updating the tool to work across all web browsers!!

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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.


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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.

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Page Last Modified: 06/22/17 05:09 pm