18 Jun 2021

Landsat infographic

37 years’ of Earth observation data available for the African continent

Free access to 37 years’ of Analysis Ready satellite imagery stored in the Digital Earth Africa Data Cube leaves decision makers in a better position than ever to tackle Africa’s sustainability challenges. 

The 540 terabytes of CEOS Analysis Ready Data (CARD), captured by USGS satellites Landsat 5, 7 and 8 document changes to the landscape of the continent. The data is freely available through Amazon Web Services’ S3, it can be analysed in the DE Africa Sandbox and visualised on the DE Africa Map


Tackling sustainability challenges

By providing long-term insights as cities grow, lakes rise and coastlines shift, the addition of Landsat data to the Digital Earth Africa platform provides policymakers, industry and researchers with a new, valuable input as they work towards a more sustainable future for Africa. 

The new ARD can be used to map and mitigate a number of challenges pertaining to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union’s Agenda 2063. 


Mapping vegetation changes will allow for the detailed study of deforestation, helping to optimise reforestation efforts and inform best practice for carbon sequestration through the replanting of trees and mangroves. Monitoring crops is vital to understanding food production, food security and water management. 

Egypt crops on Landsar

Egypt Crops on Landsat

Monitoring crops in Egypt from 1990 to 2020 using Landsat in RGB and NDVI. 


Monitoring rangelands will help to preserve this essential terrain and could provide a key input for optimising agricultural practices and wildlife conservation efforts.

Etosha rangelands on Landsat

Etosha rangelands on Landsat 2

Measuring water on rangelands in Etosha National Park, Namibia 1992-2021, Landsat, False Colour


Studying water over time provides crucial information on factors like the extent and quality of water bodies. These vital inputs for water management practices, enabling decision makers to take action on urban planning, issues of food security and effective agriculture. 

Elmenteita on Landsat

Elmenteita on Landsat

Measuring water quality and extent in Lake Elmenteita and Lake Nakuru, Kenya 1985-2021, Landsat, RGB


Measuring urbanisation helps to show how cities have grown over time and their effects on the landscape around them. By combining urbanisation data with factors like water extent, decision makers can plan cities to be more sustainable, improving the quality of life of those living in them, and minimising the impact on the natural environment. 

Mining in Ghana on Landsat

Mining in Ghana on Landsat

Urbanisation in Ife, Nigeria from 1986 - 2020, Landsat, RGB.


Discover for yourself

Landsat data is open and accessible to all users, regardless of your level of technical competency. 

Explore the data in the Digital Earth Africa Sandbox or Map

Digital Earth Africa provides a free 6-week self-paced training course, making Earth observation data accessible to problem-solvers worldwide. 

For more information on the data specification, visit Digital Earth Africa Docs. 

For more information on CEOS Analysis Ready Data, visit www.ceos.org/ard