The future of the Landsat archive

Unlocking the Landsat Archive project (ULA) 2011 to 2013

The ULA, due for completion at the end of June 2013, is a $3.5M initiative funded through the Australian Space Research Program. The fundamental aim of the project is to improve access to Australia's archive of Landsat data, and provide an analysis capability for delivery of environmental information to inform and support government policy.

The ULA has four major streams of development: innovative Earth observation science; integrated workflow management and metadata generation; utilisation of advanced supercomputing facilities in Australia, and the development of a unique data model for Earth Observation data from different sensors. The project partners include Lockheed Martin Australia, Geoscience Australia, Australian National University - National Computational Infrastructure (NCI), Victorian Partnership for Advanced Computing (VPAC) and the Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information (CRC-SI). Within this project, Geoscience Australia will transfer it's archive of Landsat data to the NCI and make it freely available under a creative commons licence.

The ULA represents a shift from on-demand processing of raw data to the automated generation of standard products including surface reflectance, and a land cover classification scheme endorsed by the International Organisation for Standardisation. This data will populate the National Nested Grid (NNG) which will enable advanced analysis of the processed archive. The NNG is intended to become a fundamental component of eResearch infrastructure. Establishment of the NNG specification is being orchestrated through the Australian and New Zealand Land Information Council.

Repatriation of Landsat data to the United States Geological Survey (USGS)

Geoscience Australia is contractually obliged to repatriate all Landsat data. As a result of the ULA, the USGS will have access to Landsat data collected between 2000 and 2010 via the NCI. Repatriation of data collected prior to 2000 will be undertaken on a best-efforts basis by both parties.