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TerraLook: Satellite Imagery to View a Changing World

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[Get Started with GloVis] [Ordering Scenes]

TerraLook collections are ordered through the USGS Global Visualization (GloVis) Viewer. GloVis allows you to easily step through the three Tri-Decadal Global Landsat Orthorectified epochs and the ASTER inventory to select images for inclusion in a TerraLook collection. Below you can find a step-by-step online tutorial on how to get started with GloVis.

Get started with GloVis

Start GloVis for TerraLook Collections (

For first-time GloVis users, there is a Quick Start Guide button (in blue) at the bottom left of the viewer page. The Quick Start Guide contains detailed information describing how to use GloVis. This TerraLook guide focuses on the process of building a TerraLook collection.

Select TerraLook as your "Collection" We also suggest that you start with one of Landsat Global Land Survey (GLS) options instead of ASTER.



Start by clicking on the world map to select your area of interest and to open an image selection window.


The options available are outlined below. Click each option for brief notes. Alternatively, refer to the GloVis Quick Start Guide.

Select Collection: TerraLook

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This menu is used to switch between the TerraLook sensors. GloVis also offers several products besides TerraLook collections, and you may order them as well. Please be aware that many of the other products, including the source ASTER data, may involve a product cost. However, Landsat Global Land Survey (GLS) data are available for Web-enabled download. Each type of product is handled appropriately by the shopping basket. If you intermix TerraLook and other products in your order, please carefully check the order summary.

GLS 1975 (circa 1975)
GLS 1990 (circa 1990)
GLS 2000 (circa 2000)
GLS 2005 (circa 2005)
ASTER (2000->)


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The arrow keys are useful for moving around in a local area. Clicking on the map permits you to quickly move to distant locations.

To move around, use one of the following options:

(1) Click in the small world map.
(2) Enter the path/row or latitude/longitude coordinates.
(3) Use the arrow keys to move through the browse images.
(4) Click-drag using the mouse


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Choosing a lower spatial resolution displays more images with smaller footprints for a larger area. Doing so also tends to slow down the display process because many image files must be accessed. Conversely, choosing a higher spatial resolution displays fewer images with larger footprints for a smaller area. A good compromise is to select 1,000-meter resolution for Landsat and 450-meter resolution for ASTER image display.

GLS 1975, 1990, 2000 and 2005 (1,000 m and 240 m)
ASTER (1,000 m, 400 m, and 155 m)

Map Layers:

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Most map layers are self-explanatory. The "Scene List Overlay" option controls the highlighting of the images. The "Configure Scene List Overlay" option allows you to turn off highlighting for the different sensors. The "Modify Colors" option allows you to change the color of map layers.

Political boundaries, transportation arteries, cities, and protected areas layers can be displayed to help you locate your area of interest.

Max Cloud Percent:

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The cloud cover drop-down list allows you to restrict the displayed browse images to only those that meet specific cloud cover criteria. This helps restrict the number of ASTER images selected, but may also risk confusing clouds with other features. When in doubt, set the Maximum Cloud Percentage to 100.

0% to 100%

Scene Information:

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The description of the selected image is highlighted in yellow.

The selected image is highlighted in yellow.
The cloud cover value is provided as a percentage.
Date (Year/Month/day) is the acquisition date for the chosen image.

Flip Through Date: Month/Year/Date

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For the Landsat Global Land Survey (GLS) datasets, the “best” image was selected for each location and epoch. However, ASTER may offer many images for each location.

Only one Landsat Global Land Survey (GLS) image exists for each location for any single date.

Scene List:

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If you click on an item in the scene list, GloVis automatically moves to the corresponding image and highlights it in yellow.

By using the option key (MS Windows) or command key (Apple) while clicking on an image name, additional options become available.

The scenes selected are highlighted in green
"Add" to add images to the scene list
"Delete" to remove images from the scene list
"Order" to move all the images from the scene list to the shopping basket


Ordering Scenes

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You may move up to 50 images to the shopping basket in a single order. If you require more than 50 images from the same sensor in a collection, you may select and order multiple 50-image segments. The final product is delivered in one zip file that could be very large.

Collection size: The maximum size of a collection depends on practical download times and zip file limitations.

Estimated delivery time for an order is usually less than 3 hours, but it will depend on system load and access to source data.

To order a TerraLook collection, return to each sensor and click on "Order" to move the selected scenes to the shopping basket. As you "order" scenes for each sensor, the green highlights for that sensor will disappear. The disappearance of all the green highlighted image footprints indicates that all the selected images for each of the sensors are in the shopping basket.

The first time you click "Order," the Registration window will open.
Select either "Registered User":
Guest: A registered username and password will be asked before submit your order
Registered User: GloVis user (recommended)

Open the shopping basket as a Registered User. If you are registered, click on the "Register" option in the Login webpage. The USGS Shopping Basket will open with instructions and information regarding your order.

Shopping Basket

You will need to cycle between GloVis and the shopping basket until all selected images for each sensor are moved to the shopping basket.

GloVis Shopping Basket--Click to see larger graphic.

Once all selected images are in the shopping basket, continue on to check out.

Check out

On the address page, there are many mandatory fields, but one is especially critical: your e-mail address. If your e-mail address is wrong, we will be unable to inform you when the collection is ready.

You will receive an e-mail confirmation. Please print the receipt for your records. A critical piece of information is the "order number" that we use to investigate problems with your order.

GloVis Checkout--Click to see larger graphic.

An email will be sent to you when your ordered collection is created. That email contains the Web location where your order is staged, and instructions on how to use the FTP process to retrieve your collection.

Your TerraLook collection is assembled in one zip file. Both the size of the zip file and delivery time will vary. Typical TerraLook image sizes (for a single scene) are:
GLS 1975: 4 MB
GLS 1990, 2000 and 2005: 14 MB

For example, the size of a collection containing 2 GLS 1975, 2 GLS 1990, 2 GLS 2000, 2 GLS 2005 and 9 ASTER images will be about 141.5 MB. This estimate can vary by 25 percent depending on image texture.


Terra ASTER 17 Sep 2003--Click to see larger graphic Landsat ETM 6 Jul 2000--Click to see larger graphic Landsat TM 19 Apr 1989--Click to see larger graphic Landsat MSS 23 Feb 1973--Click to see larger graphic

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Page Last Modified: August 16, 2013