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New and Improved Landsat Apps

04-14-2017 07:07 AM
Esri Notable Contributor
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A new landing page now exists for apps that allow for the exploration of Landsat remotely sensed data that your students could use to examine geology, urban growth, water and water quality, and more, called "Unlock Earth's Secrets:"


This page includes a description of the Landsat on AWS app that that was improved last year:


This web application highlights some of the capabilities for accessing Landsat imagery layers, powered by ArcGIS for Server, accessing Landsat Public Datasets running on the Amazon Web Services Cloud. The layers are updated with new Landsat images on a daily basis. Quick access to the following band combinations and indices is provided:

  • Agriculture: Highlights agriculture in bright green. Bands 6,5,2
  • Natural Color: Sharpened with 15m panchromatic band. Bands 4,3,2+8
  • Color Infrared: Healthy vegetation is bright red. Bands 5,4,3
  • SWIR (Short Wave Infrared): Highlights rock formations. Bands 7,6,4
  • Geology: Highlights geologic features. Bands 7,4,2
  • Bathymetric: Highlights underwater features. Bands 4,3,1
  • Panchromatic: Panchromatic image at 15m. Band 8
  • Vegetation Index: Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). (Band5-Band4)/(Band5+Band4)
  • Moisture Index: Normalized Difference Moisture Index (NDMI). (Band5-Band6)/(Band5+Band6)

The Time tool enables access to a temporal time slider and a temporal profile of different indices for a selected point. The Time tool is only accessible at larger zoom scales. It provides temporal profiles for NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index), NDMI (Normalized Difference Moisture Index) and an Urban Index. The Identify tool enables access to information on the images, and can also provide a spectral profile for a selected point. The Bookmark tool will direct you to pre-selected interesting locations.  This is an extremely helpful and easy-to-use tool for education and research, and runs in a web browser!

 Landsat on AWS Amazon Web Services app showing moisture index near the Salton Sea

Landsat AWS Amazon Web Services app showing moisture index near the Salton Sea in California.

I reviewed the above app on the Spatial Reserves data blog:


The new landing page also includes a new app called Landsat Explorer :

This app allows you to change the colors by which the images are rendered.  It also allows you to pick dates and compare imagery across time, swipe to compare two dates, set up masks to cover or highlight, compute the change between two dates, identify a scene or point, and see sample stories from around the world using the same imagery.  One of the most powerful features, though, is its connections to ArcGIS Online.  It has the ability to save the top layer to ArcGIS Online, and also add data from ArcGIS Online. 

Landsat Explorer comparing two image dates.

Landsat Explorer App showing images from two different dates near Bakersfield, California.

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About the Author
I believe that spatial thinking can transform education and society through the application of Geographic Information Systems for instruction, research, administration, and policy. I hold 3 degrees in Geography, have served at NOAA, the US Census Bureau, and USGS as a cartographer and geographer, and teach a variety of F2F (Face to Face) (including T3G) and online courses. I have authored a variety of books and textbooks about the environment, STEM, GIS, and education. These include "Interpreting Our World", "Essentials of the Environment", "Tribal GIS", "The GIS Guide to Public Domain Data", "International Perspectives on Teaching and Learning with GIS In Secondary Education", "Spatial Mathematics" and others. I write for 2 blogs, 2 monthly podcasts, and a variety of journals, and have created over 5,000 videos on the Our Earth YouTube channel. Yet, as time passes, the more I realize my own limitations and that this is a lifelong learning endeavor and thus I actively seek mentors and collaborators.