TerraColor® Imagery - Upgrades Through 2104

Throughout the history of TerraColor, we have been progressively upgrading the product to reduce cloud cover and add missing data to fill out a complete global dataset with pole-to-pole coverage. The original NASA Landsat image set is a good base product, but lacks data in the northern and southern polar areas, and also contains cloudy scenes in many areas. By 2009 we had added data for the complete globe, and since that time we have focused on upgrading cloud covered areas and areas with poor image quality. Our primary goal is to increase the overall information content of the product while improving image mapping of more remote, cloud- and ice-plagued areas. To date, we have upgraded over 2 million square miles of imagery by carefully selecting alternate Landsat 7 (and now Landsat 8 OLI scenes) scenes from the Landsat public domain archive provided by the U.S. Geological Survey (thanks to them). For more details, view or download our examples below.

In some areas, such as the equatorial tropics, cloud cover is a persistent problem in all satellite imagery. To help overcome this, we combine data from multiple Landsat scenes of the same area to create a single composite scene with the least possible cloud cover. The composite scenes are then mosaicked and seamlessly integrated into the master TerraColor product. We have also begun replacing our simulated true color imagery with real true color imagery (using bands 3, 2 and 1 of Landsat) where it makes sense, such as the Bahamas, southern Caribbean Islands, Hawaii, the Maldives, Great Barrier Reef and other tropical island areas. So in addition to reducing cloud cover in those areas, the true color imagery shows superior water color and depth information that can be important. For upgrades of island areas, we have also begun using EO-1 Advanced Land Imager (ALI) satellite imagery where available.

Below are a few examples of the upgrades showing an early version of the TerraColor product (without ocean masking) and the new upgraded version:

TerraColor Brazil Upgrade

TerraColor BVI Upgrade

TerraColor Africa Upgrade

TerraColor Indonesia Upgrade

TerraColor Borneo Upgrade


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