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Sensor Web / Testbed Initiatives  

On-Board Cloud Cover Detection and Prediction


see the associated Validation Report, Part 7

Related Sites
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

Questions and comments related to this document should be directed to:

Michael Flick
EO-1 Technology Transfer Manager
EO-1 Mission Office
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771
Phone: 301-286-8146
Fax: 301-286-1736
E-Mail: Michael Flick

One of the challenging aspects of earth imaging is the ability to significantly reduce the large cost impact imposed by collecting the images of cloudy, unusable scenes. A cost impact reduction could result from applying one or both of the following two cases:

  • Case 1 – For scenes taken, there is an on-board detection capability that can discriminate between clouds, snow, ice, sand, and other types of ground cover and estimate the extent of cloud cover for a scene. Given this knowledge, a significant cost savings could be realized by identifying unusable images on-board and thereby avoid the storage, transmission to ground, and processing of the data.
  • Case 2 – Cloud cover extent can be predicted on-board within minutes prior to the taking of an image. Therefore, if the cloud cover is greater than desired for a particular scene, then a decision can be made not to collect that scene but collect an alternant satisfactory cloudless scene on the next orbital pass.

Documentation of studies in this technology area using EO-1 as a testbed follows:

  1. EO-1 Onboard Cloud Cover Detection Validation Preliminary Report PPT
  2. Validation of On-board Cloud Cover Assessment Using EO-1 PDF
  3. Improving the Value of EO-1 Observations PDF

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