Easily Access Landsat 9 Imagery

Landsat 9 Imagery is now available for the public. In addition to the video tutorial, this step-by-step tutorial will help you acquire the imagery. Same procedure as always, just new products.

Easily Access Landsat 9 Imagery
Photo by USGS

Following the announcement by USGS about the availability of Landsat 9 imagery for the public, many are in a rush to put this new Sat imagery to good use.

The methods for acquiring this imagery have not changed, but some might be a little confused about where to find this new imagery. This article will help you with that.

For those who prefer video instead, I have also uploaded a video about this on African Surveyors Connect YouTube Channel. You can watch the video below.

Step by Step Video on how to acquire Landsat 9 imagery from the USGS Earth Explorer platform

Reading fan? You can continue down as I go through every step along the way.


As mentioned earlier, the methods are still the same. Head over to the USG Earth Explorer application. If you do not have an account, then today might be the day you create an account and log in.

The top section of your screen should look like this. I am logged in as surveyorjr. Do not mind about my Item Basket for now. 

These guys have done a great job by making it easy for people. Notice how the first step is numbered? Yes, step number one (1) is Enter Search Criteria.

We have two options here;

  • enter an address and let the system geocode that address for us
  • or upload a KML or Shapefile (.shp)

I prefer geocoding. In the Select a Geocoding Method I select the Address Place option. Input box appears, I type in Harare and then click on the Show button. (You can replace Harare with your preferred location).

Geocoding results will appear in a table below the input field.

Click the most preferred result from the table, the map will place a marker and pan to that extent.

Zoom in to the preferred area.

Let's create a bounding box that is going to determine the area for which we need to acquire Landsat 9 imagery.

The area we choose can either be;

  • a polygon
  • circle or
  • a predefined area.

In this case, I will leave Polygon as the default.

We can then define this area by using the current map extent display or manually defining coordinates. I doubt you have the coordinates right now so let's just make sure our map is zoomed to the extent we want to view imagery for.

Then click on Use Map.

Your map will be overlayed with a red transparent polygon and some 4 markers placed on it (if you selected Polygon).

Bounding Box, Date Range & Cloud Cover

We need to select the dates and cloud cover options we need. For cloud cover I will leave the default, but if you want zero cloud cover (which might be hard to find, you can adjust the scale).

Pick the preferred dates for the imagery I have selected 1 February and 13 February.

Click on the Data Sets>> button.

This is where we tell USGS that we need Landsat 9 imagery.

In the Data Search input box, type Landsat. Notice the first option?

Click on the Landsat 8-9 OLI/TIRS C2 LS option and a message box will appear with some information.

As of today, the message reads:

Please note: As of February 10, 2022, USGS Landsat 9 Collection 2 Level-1 and Level-2 data are available for download from EarthExplorer, Machine to Machine (M2M), and LandsatLook. Initially, only full-bundle downloads are available. Single-band downloads, browse images, and Landsat 9 Collection 2 U.S. Analysis Ready Data will be available within a few days. Commercial cloud data distribution will take 1-3 days to reach full capacity.

That's okay. We just want some imagery right? Click OK and scroll down.

The imagery has been selected for you finally scroll further down and click on the Show Results button.

The results page shows the tiles of the imagery based on the search parameters you have defined.

Click on the footprint icon to see the coverage of each tile.

Footprint coverage

When you are satisfied with the coverage, click on the Download icon and select the Product Download options of your choice and let your internet speeds work it out.

If you want to download it later? You can add this to bulk and it will appear in your Item Basket just like what you saw on mine earlier on.

Let's see how you can utilize this new piece of imagery 😉👍.