The absolute radiometric calibration of terra imaging sensors: MODIS, MISR, and ASTER

Jeffrey Czapla-Myers, Kurtis Thome, Nikolaus Anderson, Stuart Biggar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

11 Scopus citations


The Terra spacecraft contains five Earth-observation instruments, three of which are multispectral imaging sensors that complement each other in spectral and spatial coverage. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) has 36 channels ranging from 0.4-14.4 μm, with spatial resolutions of 250, 500, and 1000 m. The Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) uses individual imaging sensors to view the earth at nine discreet angles. Each radiometer has four channels in the visible and near infrared (VNIR), and the nadir-viewing camera has a spatial resolution of 275 m. The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) was designed with fourteen bands ranging from 0.5-11.6 μm. It is the high-resolution sensor on Terra, with a spatial resolution of 15 m in the VNIR, and 30 m in the shortwave infrared (SWIR). This work describes the vicarious techniques used to perform the absolute radiometric calibration of MODIS, MISR, and ASTER in the solar-reflective region (0.4-2.5 μm). It includes the reflectance-based approach, which uses ground-based personnel to make in situ measurements during the time of overpass. It also includes more recent results that were obtained using the University of Arizona's automated Radiometric Calibration Test Site (RadCaTS) at Railroad Valley, Nevada. In addition to the absolute radiometric calibration of Terra sensors, RadCaTS is used to perform the cross comparison of MODIS, MISR, and ASTER with Landsat 7 ETM+ and Landsat 8 OLI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEarth Observing Systems XIX
EditorsXiaoxiong Xiong, Xingfa Gu, James J. Butler
ISBN (Electronic)9781628412451
StatePublished - 2014
EventEarth Observing Systems XIX - San Diego, United States
Duration: Aug 18 2014Aug 20 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


OtherEarth Observing Systems XIX
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego


  • ETM+
  • MISR
  • OLI
  • RadCaTS
  • Radiometric calibration
  • Terra

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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