May be of interest; I had to dig a bit to find information for a few inquiries, so I thought I would share;  

USGS Long Term Archive, Digital Imagery: https://lta.cr.usgs.gov/ 

New EarthExplorer Datasets released October 31, 2013: https://lta.cr.usgs.gov/EE_dataset_release_Oct2013.html  

Authenticity of Digital Imagery with the USGS Archive: 

Digital Imagery Product Overview: https://lta.cr.usgs.gov/products_overview


Explore the world’s largest civilian collection of images of the Earth’s surface. Find satellite images and data, aerial photography, elevation and land cover datasets, digitized maps, and our Image Gallery collections.

Our Archive spans from 1937 aerial photographs to millions of satellite images of the Earth’s surface, starting with the original Earth orbits in the 1960’s and first Landsat satellite in 1972, to our current hourly additions of satellite images. Click on any product category to review detailed information on the products, plus how to order or download selected images at no charge.

> Aerial Photography

Name Description Availability
Aerial Photo Mosaics

Aerial Photo Mosaics were the aerial photo finding aids during the creation and photo revision of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) topographic map series.

Aircraft Scanner

Digital imagery acquired from several multispectral scanners on board NASA ER–2, NASA C–130B, and NASA Learjet aircrafts
(1982 - 1995)

Antarctic Single Frame Records

A collection of aerial photographs over the Antarctic that is available for downloading as medium or high resolution digital images.
(1946 - 2000)

Digital Orthophoto Quadrangle (DOQs)

Digital images of aerial photos which combine the image characteristics of the photo with the georeferenced qualities of a map.
(1987 - present)

High Resolution Orthoimagery (HRO)

Digital images of orthorectified aerial photographs with a pixel resolution of 1-meter or finer from across the United States.
(2000 - Present)

National Aerial Photography Program (NAPP)

More than 1.3 million cloud-free black-and-white and color infrared aerial photographs over the United States were obtained from an altitude of 20,000 feet.

National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) JPEG2000

Aerial imagery acquired by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) during agricultural growing seasons in the conterminous United States. (2003-present)

National High Altitude Photography (NHAP)

Black-and-white and color infrared aerial photographs obtained from an altitude of 40,000 feet over the United States that are available as medium or high resolution digital images. (1980-1989)

Side-Looking Airborne Radar (SLAR)

The Side-Looking Airborne Radar (SLAR) is an image-producing system that derives its name from the fact that the radar beam is transmitted from the side of the aircraft during data acquisition.

Single Frame Records

Black-and-white, natural color, and color infrared aerial photographs over the United States are available in a digital format at a resolution of 400 or 1,000 dpi.
(1937 - present)

Space Acquired Photography

Photos taken from the International Space Station (ISS), Shuttle, Skylab, Gemini, and Apollo missions.
(1965 - present)

The Advanced Solid-state Array Spectroradiometer (ASAS) Other airborne imagery collections: MASTER MODIS/ASTER Airborne Simulator EarthExplorer
U.S. Antarctic Resource Center - Antarctic Flight Line Maps

The Antarctic Flight Line Maps or Flight Indexes are a collection of 1:250,000 scale topographic maps over Antarctica from the U.S. Antarctic Resource Center (USARC).


> Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR)

Name Description Availability
Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR)

1-km multispectral data from the NOAA satellite series.
(1979 to present)

NOAA Archive
AVHRR Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) Composites

Weekly and biweekly NDVI composites based on 1-km AVHRR data (1989 to present).


> Calibration Validation Reference Sites

Name Description Availability
Calibration/Validation Test Sites

This collection of test sites provides critical information on the post launch characterization and calibration of space-based optical imaging sensors to assist the global science community in providing more accurate land/climate studies.
(1972 to present)


> Commercial

Name Description Availability
Commercial Data Purchases (CDP) Imagery

Collection of licensed commercial imagery from various vendors. Available to government agencies only.


> Declassified Data

Name Description Availability
Declassified Satellite Imagery - 1

A collection of declassified military intelligence photographs from the CORONA, ARGON, and LANYARD satellite systems in digital format.
(1960 to 1972)

Declassified Satellite Imagery - 2

A collection of declassified military intelligence photographs from the KH-7 surveillance and KH-9 mapping satellite systems in digital format.
(1963 to 1980)


> Digital Elevation

Name Description Availability
Global 30 Arc-Second Elevation (GTOPO30)

Global 1-km digital raster data derived from a variety of sources.

Global Multi-resolution Terrain Elevation Data 2010 (GMTED2010)

The Global Multi-resolution Terrain Elevation Data 2010 (GMTED2010) provides a new level of detail in global topographic data. The GMTED2010 product suite contains seven new raster elevation products for each of the 30-, 15-, and 7.5-arc-second spatial resolutions and incorporates the current best available global elevation data.


A global hydrologic database derived from 1996 GTOPO30 data.

Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR)

LIDAR point clouds provide 3-dimensional horizontal position and vertical elevation data with a nominal pulse spacing of 3 meters or finer from across the United States. (2000-present)

National Elevation Dataset (NED)

The National Elevation Dataset (NED) is the primary elevation data product of the USGS. The NED is a seamless dataset with the best available raster elevation data of the conterminous United States, Alaska, Hawaii, and territorial islands.

National Map
Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM)

Shuttle Radar Topography Mission data were used to generate digital elevation data with a resolution of 1 arc-second for the United States and 3 arc-seconds for global coverage.

Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) Research Grade

Research grade (version 1) SRTM data are available through the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the SRTM/X-SAR data are available through the German Aerospace Center (DLR).


> Digital Line Graphs (DLG)

Name Description Availability
Digital Line Graphs (DLGs)

Digital Line Graphs (DLGs) are digital vector representations of cartographic information derived from USGS maps and related sources.

SRTM Water Body Dataset

The SRTM Water Body Data files are a by-product of the data editing performed by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) to produce the finished SRTM Digital Terrain Elevation Data Level 2 (DTED® 2).


> Digital Maps

Name Description Availability
Digital Raster Graphics (DRGs)

A Digital Raster Graphic (DRG) is a scanned image of a USGS standard series topographic map, including all map collar information.

National Atlas

Maps of America are what you'll find and make on nationalatlas.gov. Maps that capture and depict the patterns, conditions, and trends of American life. Maps that supplement interesting articles. Maps that tell their own stories. Maps that cover all of the United States or just your area of interest.


> Earth Observing One (EO-1)

Name Description Availability
EO-1 (Earth Observing-1)

10- to 30-meter multispectral and hyperspectral data from the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) Extended Mission.
(2000 to present)


> Forest Carbon Tracking (FCT)

Name Description Availability
Forest Carbon Tracking

The Forest Carbon Tracking Task (GEO FCT) was created to support countries wanting to establish national forest-change, carbon estimation and reporting systems.


> Global Fiducials

Name Description Availability
Global Fiducials Library

The Global Fiducials Program is a collaborative effort between Federal Civil Agencies, Academia, and the Intelligence Community. The principal goal of the Global Fiducials Program was to build and maintain a long-term record of data to support scientists and policy makers involved in that collaborative effort.


> Global Land Survey (GLS)

Name Description Availability
Global Land Survey (GLS)

GLS2010, GLS 2005, GLS 2005 Islands, GLS 2000, GLS 1990, and GLS 1975

Landsat Image Mosaic Of Antarctica (LIMA)

Discover Antarctica in greater detail than ever before by exploring the nine versions of the Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica (LIMA). Each version highlights different features of the landscape.


> Heat Capacity Mapping Mission (HCMM)

Name Description Availability
Heat Capacity Mapping Mission (HCMM)

HCMM was the first of a series of NASA Applications Explorer Missions (AEM-A) that collected visible and thermal band data. A HCMM scene has a width of 715 km with a moderate resolution of 500-600 meters. (1978-1980)


> Joint Experiment for Crop Assessment and Monitoring (JECAM) Sites

Name Description Availability
Joint Experiment for Crop Assessment and Monitoring (JECAM)

The overarching goal of JECAM is to reach a convergence of approaches, develop monitoring and reporting protocols and best practices for a variety of global agricultural systems. JECAM will enable the global agricultural monitoring community to compare results based on disparate sources of data, using various methods, over a variety of global cropping systems.


> Land Cover Products

Name Description Availability
Global Land Cover Characterization (GLCC)

A global land cover database primarily derived from 1992 to 1993 1-km AVHRR data.

Not available
Land Use and Land Cover (LULC)

Historical U.S. land use and land cover data derived from 1970`s and 1980`s aerial photography.

Not available
National Land Cover

This National Land Cover Database (NLCD) contains standardized land cover components useful for a variety of applications.


> Landsat Satellite Archives

Name Description Availability
Landsat 8 OLI (Operational Land Imager) and TIRS (Thermal Infrared Sensor)

15- to 30- meter multispectral data from Landsat 8

GloVisEarthExplorer,LandsatLook Viewer
Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) 15- to 30-meter multispectral data from Landsat 7. (1999 to present) GloVisEarthExplorer,LandsatLook Viewer
Landsat Multispectral Scanner (MSS)

80-meter multispectral data from Landsats 1 - 5. (1972-1992)

GloVisEarthExplorer,LandsatLook Viewer
Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM)

30-meter multispectral data from Landsats 4 and 5. (1982 to 2012)

GloVisEarthExplorer,LandsatLook Viewer

> Landsat Satellite Legacy

Name Description Availability
Landsat Multispectral Scanner (MSS) Film Only

Landsats 1 through 5 MSS scenes from film sources are available in digital format as a color composite and as four black-and-white spectral bands.  (1972-1992)

Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) Film Only

Landsat 4 and 5 TM scenes scanned from film images-available as color composite or 7 B/W spectral bands.

NASA Landsat Data Collection (NLDC)

Selected MSS and TM scenes (Landsats 1-5) from the NASA Landsat Data Collection (1975 to present).

North American Landscape Characterization (NALC)

Time-series triplicates of selected MSS scenes (Landsats 1-5) for the U.S. and Mexico. Average acquisition dates are 1973, 1986, and 1991.

Tri-Decadal Global Landsat Orthorectified Overview

An overview of the Tri-Decadal Global Landsat Orthorectified data collection.


> Multi-Resolution Landsat Characterization (MRLC)

Name Description Availability
Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics 2001 (MRLC2001)

Selected ETM+ and TM scenes (Landsats 7 and 5) from the National Land Cover Characterization 2001 project.


> NASA LPDAAC Collections

Name Description Availability
Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER)

The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) is one of a number of instruments on board the Terra platform, which was launched in December 1999.

Data Pool,GloVis,Reverb
Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)

Moderate-resolution (250- to 1000-meter) multispectral data from the Terra Satellite (2000 to present) and Aqua Satellite (2002 to present).

Data Pool,GloVis,EarthExplorer,Reverb

SRTM data are organized into individual rasterized cells, or tiles, each covering one degree by one degree in latitude and longitude. Sample spacing for individual data points is either 1 arc-second, 3 arc-seconds, or 30 arc-seconds, referred to as SRTM1, SRTM3 and SRTM30, respectively.


> Orbview-3

Name Description Availability

GeoEye’s OrbView-3 satellite was among the world’s first commercial satellites to provide high-resolution imagery from space. (2003 to 2007)


> Radar

Name Description Availability
Spaceborne Imaging Radar C-band (SIR-C)

Imaging radar data (C-band and L-band) from two Space Shuttle missions (1994).


> SPOT - Historical

Name Description Availability
SPOT - North American Data Buy

The USGS has contracted with SPOT Image Corporation to acquire and provide Satellite Pour l'Observation de la Terre (SPOT) satellite data for calendar years 2010 and 2011.

Not available
SPOT Historical

The SPOT Historical archive  holdings maintained and preserved by the USGS/Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center were received from the SPOT IMAGE Corporation in 1999. The French space agency, Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES), owns and operates the SPOT satellite system and worldwide commercial operations  are anchored  by private companies (i.e., SPOT IMAGE Corp. of the United States and other distributors around the world).


> Vegetation Monitoring

Name Description Availability
eMODIS (EROS Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer)

The eMODIS collection is based on the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data acquired by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Earth Observing System (EOS).

Vegetation Drought Response Index (VegDRI)

Weekly VegDRI maps integrate remote sensing, climate, and biophysical data to provide timely drought information for the conterminous United States. (2009-present)


Emily Wild
Librarian (Physical Scientist)
U.S. Geological Survey
Denver Library
Box 25046, MS 914
Denver Federal Center
Denver, CO 80225-0046
ph: (303) 236-1003
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USGS Libraries: http://library.usgs.gov
Tutorials: http://tinyurl.com/lh3tmua
Professional Page: http://profile.usgs.gov/ecwild