Landsat Missions

What files will be provided with a Landsat scene?

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What files will be provided with a Landsat scene?


Landsat Level-1 data products include many files, as noted in the table below, along with the details of the files included.

Files provided with Landsat scenes

Level-1 products from all sensors contain the individual band files, as well and metadata files (some Landsat 4-5 scenes include a Work Order file, instead of the Metadata file, that contains the metadata information about scenes processed on the National Land Archive Production System (NLAPS)).

Landsat 8 scenes include a Quality Assessment (QA) band file. Used effectively, the bits of the Quality Band improve the integrity of science investigations by indicating which pixels may be affected by instrument artifacts or subject to cloud contamination.

Files containing the Ground Control Points (GCP) used during image processing, as well as a README file, which contains a summary and brief description of the file contents and naming convention, are also included for all Landsat data, except Landsat 8.

Landsat 7 scenes acquired from May 2003 to present include Gap Mask files for each band, to help identify the location of all pixels affected by the original data gaps caused by the Scan Line Corrector (SLC) failure in May 2003. More details about Gap Mask files are available.

Landsat 1-5 MSS and Landsat 4-5 TM scenes include a Verify Image File (VER.jpg), which displays a grid of verification points in various colors that represent the accuracy of geometric correction. Cross-correlation techniques based on the GLS 2000 dataset are used as reference. Used with the Geometric Verify Report (VER.txt), the accuracy of the scenes can be determined. More details on Verify Image files are available.

As shown in the table below, Landsat 8 file sizes are larger than Landsat 1-7, due to the additional bands and improved 16-bit data product. Landsat Level-1 data products are delivered as .tar.gz compressed files.

  Compressed Uncompressed
 Landsat 8 1 GB 2 GB
 Landsat 7 250 MB 500 MB
 Landsat 4-5 Thematic Mapper 150 MB 350 MB
 Landsat 1-5 Multispectral Scanner 16 MB 50 MB

 All file sizes are approximate

Technical details relating to format descriptions, file names, and other information are available on the Landsat Project Documentation Web page.


Landsat represents the world's longest continuously acquired collection of space-based moderate-resolution land remote sensing data. Four decades of imagery provides a unique resource for those who work in agriculture, geology, forestry, regional planning, education, mapping, and global change research. Landsat images are also invaluable for emergency response and disaster relief.


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