RadCalNet: A radiometric calibration network for earth observing imagers operating in the visible to shortwave infrared spectral range

Marc Bouvet, Kurtis Thome, Béatrice Berthelot, Agnieszka Bialek, Jeffrey Czapla-Myers, Nigel P. Fox, Philippe Goryl, Patrice Henry, Lingling Ma, Sébastien Marcq, Aimé Meygret, Brian N. Wenny, Emma R. Woolliams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Vicarious calibration approaches using in situ measurements saw first use in the early 1980s and have since improved to keep pace with the evolution of the radiometric requirements of the sensors that are being calibrated. The advantage of in situ measurements for vicarious calibration is that they can be carried out with traceable and quantifiable accuracy, making them ideal for interconsistency studies of on-orbit sensors. The recent development of automated sites to collect the in situ data has led to an increase in the available number of datasets for sensor calibration. The current work describes the Radiometric Calibration Network (RadCalNet) that is an effort to provide automated surface and atmosphere in situ data as part of a network including multiple sites for the purpose of optical imager radiometric calibration in the visible to shortwave infrared spectral range. The key goals of RadCalNet are to standardize protocols for collecting data, process to top-of-atmosphere reflectance, and provide uncertainty budgets for automated sites traceable to the international system of units. RadCalNet is the result of efforts by the RadCalNetWorking Group under the umbrella of the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) Working Group on Calibration and Validation (WGCV) and the Infrared Visible Optical Sensors (IVOS). Four radiometric calibration instrumented sites located in the USA, France, China, and Namibia are presented here that were used as initial sites for prototyping and demonstrating RadCalNet. All four sites rely on collection of data for assessing the surface reflectance as well as atmospheric data over that site. The data are converted to top-of-atmosphere reflectance within RadCalNet and provided through a web portal to allow users to either radiometrically calibrate or verify the calibration of their sensors of interest. Top-of-atmosphere reflectance data with associated uncertainties are available at 10 nm intervals over the 400 nm to 1000 nm spectral range at 30 min intervals for a nadir-viewing geometry. An example is shown demonstrating how top-of-atmosphere data from RadCalNet can be used to determine the interconsistency between two sensors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2401
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019


  • CEOS
  • Instrument
  • Network
  • RadCalNet
  • Radiometric calibration
  • SI-traceable
  • Surface reflectance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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