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Finding and Using GIS Data

The AGS Library's Guide to Finding GIS data and working with it for your specific project needs

Earth Explorer

Earth Explorer details

Datasets: Aerial Imagery, AVHRR, CEOS Legacy, Commercial Satellites, Declassified Data, Digital Elevation (DEM), Digital Line Graphs, Digital Maps, EO-1, Global Fiducials, HCMM, ISERV, Land Cover, Landsat, NASA LPDAAC Collections, Radar, Sentinel, UAS, Vegetation Monitoring, ISRO Resourcesat


About: The USGS EarthExplorer (EE) tool provides users the ability to query, search, and order satellite images, aerial photographs, and cartographic products from several sources. In addition to data from the Landsat missions and a variety of other data providers, EE now provides access to MODIS land data products from the NASA Terra and Aqua missions, and ASTER level-1B data products over the U.S. and Territories from the NASA ASTER mission.

Earth Explorer Help:

Earth Explorer general instructions

1) Navigate to the data portal

2) Enter an area of interest (AOI) using an address, coordinates or by using the map view as a bounding box

3) Enter a date range

4) Additionally, if you need cloud cover, you can alter the range of Cloud Cover. Typically, for LANDSAT imagery you want to avoid cloud cover as much as possible so sliding the bar to 20% or less is recommended. 

5) Navigate to the 'Data Sets' tab located at the top of the data portal. If you have a data set in mind you can click the one you need; however, if you don't know what dataset you are looking for you can click 'Use Data Set Prefilter' which will narrow down the imagery that you specified earlier.

6) Select datasets and click 'Results' at the bottom of the data portal

*It is necessary to create a USGS account to download data


Landsat Collections

Landsat Tiers

Landsat Root Mean Square Error

The Contents of Finding and Using GIS Data may be reused with attribution for Non-Commercial purposes.

Finding and Using GIS Data by Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License