Remote Sensing Technologies

understanding the technologies needed to sense our world

Scheduling Cameras for Calibration

The USGS Optical Science Laboratory (OSL) is closing April 1, 2017. The Lab will accept camera calibration requests through 3:00 pm, December 30, 2016.  Any request after that shall not be considered.  Please see closure announcement here.

Calibration requests will be scheduled in the order in which they are received. We highly recommend contacting us about a reservation approximately a year before the desired calibration date. Requests from certain Government agencies may be given priority. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) will provide a letter of confirmation for the requested, or an alternate, calibration date. The USGS reserves the right to decline any request for special calibration services if the work would interfere with the normal work of the Optical Science Laboratory (OSL).

The OSL provides a Report of Calibration for all modern Jena, Wild (Leica), and Zeiss cameras that are mechanically and electronically sound enough to be calibrated. This report is issued even if the camera does not meet the USGS specifications. Fairchild, Jena MRB, Park, and pre-RC8 Wild series cameras are no longer candidates for calibration. It is the responsibility of the camera owner to verify that the camera meets or exceeds any contractual requirements for which the camera is being used. It is also the responsibility of any contracting group to verify that a camera being bid to acquire photography meets their minimum contractual specifications, which may differ from those of the USGS.

Scheduling of camera calibrations and inquiries can be made by contacting the OSL.


      Manager, Optical Science Laboratory


      U.S. Geological Survey


      518 National Center, MS 518


      Reston, VA 20192-0001


      Telephone: 703-648-4692


      Fax: 703-648-4155



A request for the calibration or test should be sent before or at the time the camera equipment is shipped. It is recommended to contact the OSL a year in advance to reserve the desired calibration date. The request must:

1. Identify the:

  • camera
  • lens(es)
  • magazine(s)
  • filter(s)
  • and anything else being submitted

2. Provide:

  • billing information
    • name
    • company
    • mailing address
    • telephone number
    • fax number
    • email address
    • method of payment (see below)
  • instructions for return shipment
  • insurance coverage
  • any special delivery options.

Please note:

  • Effective June 1, 2008, the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center will no longer accept Purchase Orders from a private or public entity, foreign country, or international organization. Product orders will only be processed when payment has been received. Credit card orders are preferred since they can be activated immediately. For a listing of other modes of payment, please visit our payment options Web site at
  • Purchase orders will continue to be accepted from a United States Federal agency, state or municipality, territory, possession, or political subdivision (including public colleges funded by state government).
  • The camera must arrive at the USGS no later than the day before the scheduled calibration date. For regular camera calibrations, the turnaround time is usually 3 working days. Shipments should be addressed to:
        U.S. Geological Survey
        12201 Sunrise Valley Drive
        MS 518
        Reston, VA 20192
      ATTN: Room BB122 (703-648-4692)

    To minimize damage in shipment, packing in strong, reusable containers and cautionary labeling (e.g. “Delicate Instruments”) are recommended. The contractor must pay shipping charges to and from the USGS; return shipments from the USGS will be made collect. It is recommended that return shipments be insured; the USGS will not assume liability for loss or damage in shipment.

    Cameras submitted for a calibration must be in good condition and working order. The OSL will not repair or adjust cameras and will not calibrate them unless they are in good operating condition. If serious defects are found after the calibration has begun, work will be stopped; the OSL will charge an appropriate fee for the work done and issue a report summarizing the findings.

    A “U.S. Geological Survey Report of Calibration” will be mailed to the owner. The report will be comprehensive and will enable the owner to determine compliance of the camera system with USGS Aerial Camera Specifications or any other agencies’ specifications.


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Page Last Modified: January 8, 2013