External id:

Manager Email: waarala2@illinois.edu

Owner Email: jmj@illinois.edu

Start Date: 2015-11-05

Status: inactive


The ISGS’ Landsat photographic print archive is unique in a few important aspects. The 27 prints, which have acquisition dates between 1975-1979, date back to the two earliest Landsat satellite missions. Despite the comparably coarse ground spatial resolution, they portray the ground surface of Illinois as it appeared prior to widespread adoption of conservation tillage/no till agricultural practices in the mid-to-late 1980s. These subtle landscape features are no longer visible now that crop residue covers the land surface during much of the year.

Another unique aspect of the collection is that large format, high-quality photographic paper prints are no longer available from federal agencies, and while digital data are available, typical color ink-jet and laser printers are not able to render the imagery in the same level of quality.

Lastly, there was a concerted effort 15+ years ago by Goddard Space Flight Center and the U.S. Geological Survey to migrate decades-old magnetic tapes holding historic Landsat satellite digital data to a more permanent data format. While a large percentage of the data were recoverable, much was permanently lost, including some of the imagery that is part of the ISGS Landsat print archive. These aspects make the ISGS Landsat print archive an irreplaceable collection.”

“Landsat was the world’s first land remote sensing satellite. Landsat 1, originally ERTS (Earth Resources Technology Satellite) was launched in July 1972; and the seven follow-on Landsat satellites have provided continuous imaging of the earth’s land surface for nearly 43 years: http://landsat.usgs.gov/about_mission_history.php. The original MSS (Multispectral Scanner) instrument captured a 57 x 79 m (1.1 acres) ground area, considered quite coarse compared to modern-day imaging satellites (.41 x .41 m, or 1.8 ft2). Although later Landsat satellites carried higher resolution sensors, the legacy MSS instrument was retained for continuity and provided 57 x 79 m images of the earth’s land surface through 1999, a period of 27 years.

ISGS currently has a complete set of smaller prints and a partial set of larger prints.  See details below:

Inventory of Collection

Path: Row: Date: Label/Location: Print Size (in):

  • 24 31 03 June 1976 Chicago 17½ x 17 (2 copies)
  • 24 32 11 June 1978 Danville 17½ x 17 (2 copies)
  • 24 32 11 June 1978 Danville 33½ x 30½ (1 copy)
  • 24 33 13 May 1975 Salem 17½ x 17 (2 copies)
  • 24 33 13 May 1975 Salem 33½ x 30½ (1 copy)
  • 24 34 11 May 1977 Paducah 17½ x 17 (1 copy)
  • 25 31 08 May 1976 Aurora 17½ x 17 (2 copies)
  • 25 32 25 June 1979 Peoria 17½ x 17 (2 copies)
  • 25 32 25 June 1979 Peoria 33½ x 30½ (1 copy)
  • 25 33 12 May 1977 Bellville 17½ x 17 (2 copies)
  • 25 33 12 May 1977 Bellville 33½ x 30½ (1 copy)
  • 25 34 12 May 1977 Cape Girardeau 17½ x 17 (2 copies)
  • 26 31 18 May 1976 Davenport 17½ x 17 (2 copies)
  • 26 31 18 May 1976 Davenport 33½ x 30½ (1 copy)
  • 26 32 18 May 1976 Macomb 17½ x 17 (2 copies)
  • 26 32 18 May 1976 Macomb 33½ x 30½ (1 copy)
  • 26 33 04 June 1978 St. Louis 17½ x 17 (2 copies)


Goal for Project Completion: Spring 2016

Cataloging \Metadata status

  • These prints are not currently a part of the Library.  ISGS is willing to give them to the library to insure better preservation of the unique prints.  Jenny Johnson has agreed to this.
  • Thus they’re not catalogued and will require metadata creation by a subject specialist (Jenny Johnson and Anne Huber will work on this with input from Don Luman from ISGS. Each sheet will have its own record/description.
  • Timeline: Consulting with Jenny Johnson (Map Library) and Anne Huber (ISGS) on their timeline.  We likely will digitize prior to cataloging.


  • The content will be sent to Oak Streets for better preservation.  Some prints have stuck together over time and have interleaving in between them to prevent damage.  Conservation will have to consult on any possible damage or surface residue.
  • Jenny Johnson would like a set of facsimiles be stored in the Map Library for physical access.
  • Timeline: Consulting with Cher Schneider (Conservation) about this but likely will not be much conservation work. Rehousing and interleaving will be important though.

Digital Preservation

  • Content will consume est. 20 GB of storage.   This will include the larger raw files requested by GIS.
  • Timeline: Ingest can occur once metadata and digitization are complete

GIS Data 

  • Consulting with James Whitacre (Scholarly Commons) who will work on this content once it’s digitized. DCC will supply one high-resolution image to plan for the rest of the project
  • Timeline: James Whitacre will provide information about timeline once he has worked on the initial test image.


  • Currently the library does not have an access system to accommodate GIS data.  This project could serve as a pilot project to aid/make a case for the development of a feature in a new access system which can support GIS data.
  • http://nationalmap.gov/ustopo/
  • It was noted by Jenny Johnson, Anne Huber and James Whitacre that two sets up images available for access would be ideal.  One image services as an image to view the map, one will be to collect GIS data.
  • Timeline: Will consult with developers (Bill Ingram, Alex Dolski, Kyle Rimkus) on possibly of developing GIS viewer for this content and what the timeline for completion will be.


  • Equipment - RCAM


  • Use gloves to prevent finger prints on glossy surface

File naming

  • Naming convention should follow the library practice of using the bibid for naming.  Each item will have its own bibid (will be described at the item label)

Deliverables (file formats)

  • Preservation masters tif for Medusa
  • Access (specs may vary depending on future access system under development)
  • Derivative tif files for GIS Specialist will enable better GIS data complete un-resized/uncompressed
  • A third set of images (uncompressed/high res tifs) are requested to create GIS data. 

Preservation Master

  • Adobe RGB
  • Resolution – 600ppi
  • Bit Depth - 16 bit
  • Pixel Array - fixed
  • disable sharpening for preservation
  • include target
  • Level/Rotate/Straighten
  • No Cropping - unless original is messy.
  • Title: ISGS Illinois Historical Landstat Collection

Access (specs may vary depending on future access system under development)

  • sRGB
  • Resolution - 400 DPI
  • Bit Depth - 8 bit
  • Pixel Array - 4000 pixels on long edge
  • Sharpen
  • Cropping - included page edge leaving 1/8" border around page and crop out target
  • Title: ISGS Illinois Historical Landstat Collection

Derivative tif files for GIS Specialist

  • unscaled/uncompressed tiff
  • GIS will strip the collar/surrounding data on the map in post processing.