ECCOE Test Sites Catalog

ECCOE Test Sites Catalog

The number of Earth-observing sensors and their derived science products continue to grow rapidly. Without characterization and calibration of these sensors, the products they provide could not be reliably used by scientists and decision makers. Accurate, well-documented calibration is needed to understand and address Display of the new Test Site Catalog map (July 2021)local and global science and societal impacts and benefits. 

The characterization and calibration of these sensors is vital to achieve an integrated Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) for coordinated and sustained observations of Earth.  Accurate and dependable calibrated/characterized Earth-observing data from many sources provide for a multitude of user benefits across every aspect of the natural and human environments.

As a supporting member of the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) and GEOSS, the USGS has been working with the CEOS Working Group on Calibration and Validation (WGCV) and its Infrared and Visible Optical Sensors (IVOS) subgroup to establish a catalog of prime candidate worldwide test sites for the post-launch characterization and calibration of space-based optical imaging sensors.  The WGCV provided recommended CEOS Calibration/Validation (Cal/Val) sites and associated regions of interest (ROIs) for testing via the CEOS Cal/Val Portal. The USGS is continuing to support and update the test site catalog with new test sites including expansion to other sensor types. 

Access the ECCOE Test Sites Catalog

How the ECCOE Test Sites Catalog Started

In 2007, information about the newly created USGS Test Sites Catalog was first presented at remote sensing user conferences and symposia (visit this USGS Publication for details).  The Catalog included sites that contain effective radiometric, geometric, and spatial qualities useful in the calibration of Earth observation sensors. The 2009 Catalog of Worldwide Test Sites for Sensor Characterization presentation and poster describe the sites that were included and widely used at that time. 

In 2020, updates were made to the online catalog to include more recent imagery, enhance the description and usability for each test site, and to add recent publication references. This information is useful in helping determine the usability and validity of each test site. 

The USGS works with CEOS and the Cal/Val community to continually improve the content of this catalog by adding test sites and references for each test site. This catalog is linked in the CEOS Cal/Val Portal where additional test site and cal/val information can be obtained. If you have recommendations for updates to the catalog, please contact us at