Landsat Collection 2: Advancing Interoperability of the Global Landsat Archive

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Landsat Collection 2 marks the second major reprocessing event of the USGS Landsat archive since 2016, resulting in several data product improvements that harness recent advancements in data processing, algorithm development, and data access and distribution capabilities. Collection 2 became available to the public December 2020 via EarthExplorer. The USGS Landsat no-cost open data policy has continued since its inception in 2008. Collection 2 includes Landsat Level-1 data for all sensors since 1972; for the first time, it also includes global Level-2 surface reflectance and surface temperature scene-based products from 1982 to the present. A Multispectral Scanner surface reflectance product will become available only upon the maturity of an operational atmospheric compensation algorithm which satisfies the USGS Landsat program requirements. Collection 2 has the following primary characteristics:

  • Substantial improvement in the absolute geolocation accuracy of the global ground reference dataset—improving the interoperability of the global Landsat archive spatially and temporally and with Europe’s Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission,
  • Updated global digital elevation modeling sources,
  • Processed and accessible from a commercial cloud-based environment.

The USGS implemented a Collections-based Landsat archive structure in 2016 in recognition of the need for consistent Landsat 1–8 sensor data, and in anticipation of future periodic reprocessing of the archive to reflect new sensor calibration and geolocation knowledge. Current Collection 1–based products, such as Landsat 8 and Landsat 7 Level-1, U.S. Landsat Analysis Ready Data, and Level-3 Science Products, will continue to be generated and remain available for at least one year after Collection 2 is publicly released. Visit the Landsat Collection 2 web page to review summaries of the characteristics of Landsat Collection 2 Level-1 and Level-2 data products.

An example of Landsat Collection 2 Surface Reflectance (SR) and Surface Temperature (ST) derived from Landsat 5 data acquired on October 6, 2010, in Bremerton, Washington.


Author Name
Christopher J. Crawford
Author Email