Operational Land Imager

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

OLI structure
Satellite image of the Thames Estuary taken by OLI

The Operational Land Imager (OLI) is a remote sensing instrument aboard Landsat 8, built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies. Landsat 8 is the successor to Landsat 7 and was launched on February 11, 2013.[1]

OLI is a push broom scanner that uses a four-mirror telescope with fixed mirrors.

Overview and mission[edit]

OLI operates alongside TIRS (Thermal Infrared Sensor) on board the LDCM.[2] The build and design of OLI differs from previous generations of instruments, while still maintaining data continuity with archived Landsat data from the last 40 years by keeping the same spectral and spatial resolutions of previous instruments.

OLI aids the Landsat-8 mission in the imaging of Earth's surface and the collection of moderate resolution data that is used to monitor changing trends on the surface and evaluate how land usage changes over time. The images and data that OLI has helped collect have practical applications today in agriculture, mapping, and monitoring changes in snow, ice, and water.[3]

Specifications and design[edit]

OLI is a pushbroom sensor that operates in the visible (VIS) and short wave infrared (SWIR) spectral regions.[4] It has a swath width of 185-kilometer (115 mi), which means it can image the entire Earth over a repeating cycle of 16 days.[5] OLI uses nine channels, which range from wavelengths of 443 nm to 2,200 nm. Of these nine channels, eight are multispectral and one is panchromatic. The eight multispectral channels have a 30-meter (98 ft) spatial resolution, and the panchromatic channel has a spatial resolution of 15 meters (49 ft).[4]

OLI Spectral Bands[6]
Spectral Band Wavelength Resolution
Band 1 – Coastal / Aerosol 0.433–0.453 µm 30 m
Band 2 – Blue 0.450–0.515 µm 30 m
Band 3 – Green 0.525–0.600 µm 30 m
Band 4 – Red 0.630–0.680 µm 30 m
Band 5 – Near infrared 0.845–0.885 µm 30 m
Band 6 – Short-wavelength infrared 1.560–1.660 µm 30 m
Band 7 – Short-wavelength infrared 2.100–2.300 µm 30 m
Band 8 – Panchromatic 0.500–0.680 µm 15 m
Band 9 – Cirrus 1.360–1.390 µm 30 m

While the spectral and spatial resolution of OLI's channels were kept the same as prior instruments in order to maintain data continuity with the entire Landsat archive, two spectral bands (the first a blue visible channel and the second an infrared channel) were added.[3] These bands were designated as band 1 and band 9, and serve as an enhancement from previous instruments, which lacked these channels. Band 1 was created to locate and determine water resources and investigate coastal areas, and band 9 serves a unique purpose of detecting cirrus clouds.[2]


OLI has several different applications due to the many different bands. Band 1 is helpful in imaging shallow water resources and tracking aerosols. Bands 2, 3, and 4 are in the visible spectrum and are helpful in creating true color composite images. Band 5 is helpful for ecology purposes and can help determine vegetation index or NDVI. Bands 6 and 7 are useful in geology and can help in distinguishing different saturated and unsaturated rocks and soils. Band 8 is helpful in creating images with very high resolution and precision. Band 9 is used for detecting different types of clouds.[7]


  1. ^ Gerace, Aaron D.; Schott, John R.; Nevins, Robert (January 2013). "Increased potential to monitor water quality in the near-shore environment with Landsat's next-generation satellite". Journal of Applied Remote Sensing. 7. Bibcode:2013JARS....7.3558G. doi:10.1117/1.JRS.7.073558. 073558.
  2. ^ a b "Landsat 8 OLI (Operational Land Imager) and TIRS (Thermal Infrared Sensor)". Long Term Archive. U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  3. ^ a b Knight, Edward J.; Kvaran, Geir (October 2014). "Landsat-8 Operational Land Imager Design, Characterization and Performance". Remote Sensing. 6 (11): 10286–10305. Bibcode:2014RemS....610286K. doi:10.3390/rs61110286.
  4. ^ a b Murphy-Morris, Jeanine (8 January 2008). "Operational Land Imager" (PDF). U.S. Geological Survey.
  5. ^ "Operational Land Imager". Ball Aerospace. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  6. ^ "Landsat Data Continuity Mission" (PDF). NASA/U.S. Geological Survey. 2010. NP-2010-11-182-GSFC. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 October 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  7. ^ "Landsat 8 Bands". Landsat Science. NASA/GSFC. Retrieved 22 March 2018.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]