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Australia to publish Landsat 8 images for free

Australia: Australia will publish images captured by satellite Landsat 8 in close to real time for free. Landsat 8 will be launched in 2013 and is expected to be fully operational by May or June of that year. Once the satellite begins beaming back images, Geoscience Australia (GA) will publish them online under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia licence.

“We want to make as much data freely available as possible,” said Jeff Kingwell, the Section Leader of GA’s National Earth Observation Group. “We will move towards a system where we are taking Landsat data in, in near real time.” Data will be corrected and published in real time.

The new service will be possible due to an agreement between Australia and the USA that has seen Australia once again sign up as a formal partner in the Landsat programme. Australia provides ground stations for Landsat, in Hobart and Alice Springs, and will do so again for Landsat 8.

Kingwell said Landsat data is appreciated by those who conduct “broad acreage monitoring such as looking at deforestation, vegetation changes and urban expansion.” Their efforts will be assisted by GA’s decision to retrieve its ten-year-plus archive of Landsat images – estimated at half a petabyte – and make them available online. That longitudinal archive is expected to make long-term land use analysis easier.

Source: The Register