Application scientists who download and prepare large amounts of Landsat scene-based data for time-series investigative analysis now will have that preparatory work greatly reduced for them through Landsat Analysis Ready Data (ARD) recently released by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
On October 30, 2017, the USGS took the significant step of improving the quality and usability of Landsat products with its release of ARD for the conterminous U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii. Landsat ARD are consistently processed to the highest scientific standards and level of processing required to be used directly in monitoring and assessing landscape change.
While the demand for satellite data is increasing as more industries discover its uses, not everybody has the expertise and infrastructure needed for complex pre-processing. ARD can be one answer for non-expert exploitation. The coverage for ARD is expected to spread globally, and eventually will include older Landsat data spanning back to the origins of the Landsat program in 1972.
The Landsat ARD concepts grew from USGS-NASA Landsat Science Team discussions on how to make the Landsat archive more relevant for the new generation of Landsat applications. Landsat ARD will serve as the foundational data for the recent USGS Land Change Monitoring, Assessment, and Projection (LCMAP) initiative that will characterize historical and near-real time changes in the state and condition of land cover across the United States.