Remote Sensing Technologies

understanding the technologies needed to sense our world

Satellite & Sensor Characterization

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center has been an integral part of Earth remote sensing since the launch of Landsat 1 in 1972. As holders of the world’s longest running archive of remotely sensed land data, it is critical that the USGS understand the technical capabilities and comparability of data from various satellite sources.

The RST Project provides independent technical characterization and quality assessment, as well as technical analyses of geometric, radiometric, and spatial characteristics of land remote sensing data. RST also facilitates the assessments of qualities such as operability and usefulness in scientific and other applications.

To accomplish these goals, RST works closely with academia, state and local governments, and these agencies:

–National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

–National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)

–U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

–National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Additionally, the RST Project represents the USGS in several major international partnerships relating to ensuring the quality of data from environmental satellites. These efforts include: the CEOS Working Group for Calibration & Validation (WGCV) and itsInfrared and Visible Optical Sensors (IVOS) subgroup. The RST project has been instrumental in establishing the Quality Assurance for Earth Observation (QA4EO) framework, and maintains a seat on the Global Space-based Inter-Calibration System(GSICS) to coordinate the quality of land-imaging satellites with meteorological satellites.

Data currently being characterized and assessed includes data from:

–The AWiFS and LISS-III instruments aboard the ResourceSat-2 satellite operated by the Indian Space Research Organization.

–The Pleaides-1a High-resolution satellite, courtesy of the French Space Agency CNES and Astrium North America (ANA)

–The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) aboard the Suomi NPP satellite.

Results of completed studies done by the project are available at our RST Presentations and Publications. Presentations from the Joint Agency Commercial Imagery Evaluation (JACIE) meetings and workshops are available on the JACIE page. Methodology and resources used for these analyses are available on the Resources page.

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Page Last Modified: January 8, 2013