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Thematic Mapper (TM)


The Thematic Mapper (TM) was a multispectral scanning radiometer operating in the visible and Infra-Red regions of the Electromagnetic Spectrum that was carried on board the Landsat-4 and 5 satellites.

TM was a whiskbroom instrument designed and built by SBRC (Santa Barbara Research Centre) of Hughes Aircraft Company in Goleta, USA.

The instrument was regarded as a second generation imager for monitoring Earth's resources with considerably improved spectral and spatial resolutions over those of the Multi Spectral Scanner which was used aboard the Landsat-1 to 5 satellites.

The TM sensors provided nearly continuous coverage from July 1982 to June 2013.

TM Instrument Parameters
Swath Width185 km
Resolution30 m for VIS, NIR, SWIR

120 m for TIR, no onboard recording


TM Band Information
Band No.Bandwidth (µm)Detectors
10.45-0.52 (VIS, blue)Coastal water mapping, soil/vegetation differentiation, deciduous/coniferous differentiation, chlorophyll absorption
20.52-0.60 (VIS, green)Green reflectance, peak of healthy vegetation, plant vigor
30.63-0.69 (VIS, red)Chlorophyll absorption, plant type discrimination
40.76-0.90 (NIR)Biomass surveys, water body delineation
51.55-1.75 (SWIR)Vegetation moisture measurement, snow/cloud differentiation
72.08-2.35 (SWIR)Hydrothermal mapping, geology
610.4-12.5 (TIR)Plant heat stress, thermal mapping, soil mapping


Sensor Modes

Landsat operated in the SAM (Scan Angle Monitor) Mode for nominal routine operations. On 1 March 2002, Landsat-5 TM was switched to the 'backup' BUMPER mode to help correct issues associated with the end of an instruments lifetime. More information on this mode-switch is available in the Monthly update from April 2002.

Data Description

Through the Online Dissemination server, ESA offers registered users access to the following TM data collections:


Further information is available on the Thematic Mapper products information page.

Data Tools

Landsat-5 data can be visualised through the HEDAVI (HEritage DAta Visualisation) service. HEDAVI allows you to discover a wealth of heritage data from ERS and Envisat missions, as well as from Landsat-5 and 7, two important heritage Third Party Missions, through ESA's Long Term Data Preservation programme.

Processor Releases

Read more about the processor releases for TM.

Thematic Mapper Cal/Val

The goal of TM calibration and validation activities was to verify the accuracy and quality of data the instrument acquired.

Thematic Mapper Quality Control Reports

Quality Control is monitoring routinely the status of the spacecraft (payload and platform) and to check if the derived products meet the quality requirements along mission life-time.