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Open-File Report 2014–1108

Landsat and Water—Case Studies of the Uses and Benefits of Landsat Imagery in Water Resources

By Larisa Serbina and Holly M. Miller

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (21.6 MB)Summary

The Landsat program has been collecting and archiving moderate resolution earth imagery since 1972. The number of Landsat users and uses has increased exponentially since the enactment of a free and open data policy in 2008, which made data available free of charge to all users. Benefits from the information Landsat data provides vary from improving environmental quality to protecting public health and safety and informing decision makers such as consumers and producers, government officials and the public at large. Although some studies have been conducted, little is known about the total benefit provided by open access Landsat imagery.

This report contains a set of case studies focused on the uses and benefits of Landsat imagery. The purpose of these is to shed more light on the benefits accrued from Landsat imagery and to gain a better understanding of the program’s value. The case studies tell a story of how Landsat imagery is used and what its value is to different private and public entities. Most of the case studies focus on the use of Landsat in water resource management, although some other content areas are included.

First posted June 26, 2014

For additional information, contact:
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U.S. Geological Survey
2150 Centre Ave. Building C
Fort Collins, CO 80526-8118

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Suggested citation:

Serbina, Larisa, and Miller, H.M, 2014, Landsat and water—Case studies of the uses and benefits of Landsat imagery in water resources: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2014–1108, 61 p.,

ISSN 2331-1258 (online)



Executive Summary


Landsat in Water Resource Management

Federal Use of Landsat Imagery in Water Resources

State and Local Water Accounting: Measuring and Monitoring with Landsat

Agricultural Irrigation: Precision and Efficiency through Landsat

Stream Flow Water Rights: Protecting the Environment with Landsat

Water Dispute Settlements: Justice and Transparency through Landsat

Water Exploration: Providing Basic Needs with Landsat Imagery

Flood Mapping and Monitoring

Land Cover Mapping


References Cited

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