Data Citation

Most of the images, data, and related products available from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center, which also contains the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Land Processed Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC), are federally created data and therefore reside in the public domain and may be used, transferred, or reproduced without copyright restriction.

When using any imagery, data products, or information accessed from USGS or NASA’s LP DAAC systems, we do ask that proper credit be given. The proper use and citation of imagery and products will vary according to source, and detailed information is provided in the sections below.

USGS Products

The USGS EROS Center systems provide access to a variety of products from USGS sources.  

Some specific examples of USGS products would include: 

  • Aerial Photography such as Digital Orthophoto Quadrangles (DOQs)
  • Landsat products
  • EO-1 products
  • Land Cover products such as National Land Cover Dataset (NLCD)
  • Vegetation Monitoring products such as VegDRI, QuickDRI, and eMODIS

Acknowledgement or credit of the USGS as data source should be provided by including a line of text citation such as the example shown below.

 (Product, Image, Photograph, or Dataset Name) courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey

Example: Landsat-7 image courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey

See the USGS Visual Identity System Guidance for further details on proper citation and acknowledgement of USGS products.

LP DAAC Products

The USGS EROS Center supports delivery and access systems for a variety of NASA’s LP DAAC science datasets. 

Specific examples of LP DAAC datasets would include:

  • Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER)
  • Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)
  • Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS)
  • Making Earth System Data Records for Use in Research Environments (MEaSUREs)

The appropriate citation of NASA’s LP DAAC datasets are product-specific and should follow the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) string standard. For any dataset, the specific construction of the correct citation information can be found on the Data Landing page for each individual product and can be accessed below:

Aster   https://lpdaac.usgs.gov/dataset_discovery/aster/aster_products_table

MODIS https://lpdaac.usgs.gov/dataset_discovery/modis/modis_products_table

VIIRS  https://lpdaac.usgs.gov/dataset_discovery/viirs/viirs_products_table  

MEaSUREs https://lpdaac.usgs.gov/dataset_discovery/measures/measures_products_table

For further details and information on the proper citation and acknowledgment of LP DAAC products, please refer to Citing Our Data.

Products from External Sources

Some datasets available through the USGS EROS archives are hosted and distributed based on partnership or other agreement with an external (non-USGS) source.

Specific examples of non-USGS imagery or data products include:

  • Sentinel-2 imagery from European Space Agency (ESA)
  • Resourcesat-1 and -2 imagery from Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
  • Commercial satellite imagery (e.g. IKONOS, OrbView, QuickBird, WorldView, SPOT)

Users may still acknowledge or cite any non-USGS dataset according to the format listed under USGS Products with some modification.

(Product, Image, Photograph, or Dataset Name) (Partner, Organization, or Agency) image courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey

Example: Sentinel-2 (ESA) image courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey

For additional information, please refer to the README file, license file, or other information delivered along with the image product. If the imagery lacks additional information, please refer to the Product Page for more information and/or visit the website of the company or agency of origin.

Any questions or comments can be directed toward User Services <custserv@usgs.gov>.