Landsat 8: different strokes for different folks

Ever since the launch of the latest Landsat series of satellites by NASA, Landsat 8 has been actively collecting 11 bands of imagery with fantastic clarity. Landsat 8 so far has been very successful and it will soon take over in popularity of Landsat 7 as the most popular Earth imaging satellite.

However one thing to note is that Landsat 8 has slightly different spectral wavelengths to its predecessor resulting in different combinations. For example, its been the common norm to simply choose bands 4, 3 and 2 in RGB channels to highlight vegetation in false colour (red); this has changed to 5, 4 and 3 in RGB. Its often hard to change ones routine. We’ve put together a quick cheat sheet comparing both Landsat 7 and Landsat 8 bands, and which band combinations are best suited to observing different surfaces.

Landsat 7 vs Landsat 8

Landsat 7 vs Landsat 8 band wavelengths

Furthermore, we’ve put together a quick combination matrix that summarizes the use of Landsat 8 bands in highlighting different surface types.

Landsat 8 band matrix highlighting the best combinations to use to showcase different surface types.

Landsat 8 band matrix highlighting the best combinations to use to showcase different surface types.

In conclusion, Landsat 8 is continues a terrific series of what is the earth’s longest running imaging system. The more imagery we process for our clients, particularly for those requiring geological or vegetation analysis, we get to truly appreciate how good of a job the folks at NASA have done. Keep it up girls and boys!