Launched in 2013 by NASA, Landsat 8 is the latest satellite in the series. The mission of the orbiting satellite is to map and track changes on Earth. Under the control of the USGS, the satellite continues the more than forty year earth observation legacy of the Landsat program.
Available in PDF format, the USGS recently released the Landsat 8 Data Users Handbook which was written in order to provide users with “a basic understanding and associated reference material for the Landsat 8 observatory and its science data products.”
From the executive summary of the handbook:
The Landsat 8 Data User’s Handbook includes various sections that provide an overview of reference material and a more detailed description of applicable data user and product information. This document describes the background for the Landsat 8 mission as well as previous Landsat missions before providing a comprehensive overview of the current Landsat 8 observatory, including the spacecraft, both the OLI and TIRS instruments and the Landsat 8 concept of operations.
The document also includes an overview of radiometric and geometric instrument calibration as well as a description of the observatory component reference systems and the calibration parameter file, followed by a comprehensive description of Level 1 Products and product generation.
Importantly, the handbook also describes the conversion of digital numbers (DNS) to physical units. An overview of data search and access using the various on-line tools is also included.