Note — Mar 14, 2021

Putting Landsat 8’s Bands to Work

James Bridle re-surfaced this 2013 article by Charlie Loyd explaining how Landsat 8’s bands can be used to create better satellite images. If you’re interested in satellite imagery in any way, have a look to know more about how Mapbox uses non-visual bands to analyze everything from terrain types, to crop growth, to natural disasters. Quite fascinating.

Of its 11 bands, only those in the very shortest wavelengths (bands 1–4 and 8) sense visible light — all the others are in parts of the spectrum that we can’t see. The true-color view from Landsat is less than half of what it sees. […]

The color version [of LA] looks out of focus because those sensors can’t see details of this size. But if we combine the color information that they provide with the detail from the pan band — a process called pan sharpening — we get something that’s both colorful and crisp.