File Formats for Ordering Satellite Imagery

Geoscience Australia's satellite image products are produced in a range of file formats. Format availability is dependent on the type and processing level of the image data. Users should be aware that our products are intended for use with specialised remote sensing software with specific applications (eg spectral analysis) as distinct from GIS and other vector based software. File formats supported by Geoscience Australia include GeoTiff, CCRS, CEOS, EOSAT, Fast7A and HDF. For more information regarding file formats please review the technical documents.

The digital product formats used have been developed by a range of organisations, including satellite operators such as NASA, and space industry organisations including:

Generic image formats

Landsat MSS and TM

CCRS format

The CCRS formats are part of the LGSOWG family.

For products in CCRS format, customers may request a supplementary file which can be written to tape either before or after the imagery file. The supply of this supplementary file is optional and is usually only supplied at customer request. The supplementary file contains ephemeris and attitude data, mission telemetry, ground control points (GCP's - only if used) etc. Since 1996 the supplementary file has been supplied automatically with Level 9 and 10 products.

EOSAT Fast Format

Geoscience Australia can generate this format for both Landsat TM and Landsat MSS data. Fast format is a simpler format than the LGSOWG/CEOS formats, with an ASCII header file and separate files for each image band (band sequential structure - BSQ). The version of Fast Format produced by Geoscience Australia is as specified in the EOSAT Fast Format Document, version B, effective 1 October, 1991. This version does not include the trailer file which contains the ephemeris data as specified in a later version (also called version B) of the document, effective 1 November, 1993.

Fast Format can be read by practically all image analysis systems.

Landsat ETM+

Geoscience Australia is able to supply Landsat 7 ETM+ digital products in Fast-L7A and HDF formats.

(a) Fast-L7A Format

This format is defined by the NASA document:

Earth Science Data and Information System (ESDIS)
Level 1 Products Output Files
Data Format Control Book
Vol 5 Book 2

The Fast-L7A format is based on the Space Imaging EOSAT Fast Version C format. Modifications have been made to the Fast Version C format to accommodate features of the ETM+ instrument and data.

Geoscience Australia is able to provide the following Level 1 Fast-L7A products:

  • Path Image
  • Map Oriented Image
  • Orthocorrected Image.

(b) HDF Format

The Hierarchical Data Format "HDF" for Landsat ETM+ is defined by two documents. These two documents are the ESDIS document for the Fast-L7A format specified above, and a complementary document:

Landsat 7 System Zero-R Distribution Product
Data Format Control Book
Volume 5 Book 1

This document is applicable to the Landsat 7 ETM+ Level 0 (essentially raw) data available from the USGS EROS data center. The document describes all the necessary data to perform radiometric and geometric correction to Level 0 data.

ALOS PRISM, AVNIR-2 and PALSAR

CEOS (Committee on Earth Observation Satellites)

The CEOS format image files are a combination of ASCII and Binary data. Metadata is contained with CEOS format data which can be accessed through reference to the CEOS format in combination with an appropriate data viewer. PRISM, AVNIR-2 and PALSAR CEOS format files contain the same structure but the metadata content and field sizes differ between the sensor.

For further information on CEOS format consult:

RESOURCESAT-1 (IRS-P6) Liss-III and AWiFS

Fast format - Resourcesat image products

The Fast Format (Version C) contains an ASCII header file and separate files for each image band (band sequential structure - BSQ). There are no header records within the image file, nor are there prefix and/or suffix data in the individual image records. IRS-P6 Liss-III Path product is available in Fast Format and can be read directly in ENVI and PCI. ERDAS Imagine and ER-Mapper users can use image information in the header file to display and geo-reference the image file. The header file (*.hdr) include information such as image pixels/lines, projection/datum, four corner coordinates and orientation angle.
For further information, see the IRS-P6 Fast Format document

Landsat Ground Station Operators Working Group (LGSOWG) format - Resourcesat image products

The LGSOWG format contains five files, a volume directory file, leader file, image file, trailer file and null volume directory file. The LGSOWG format image files are a combination of ASCII and Binary data. Metadata is contained with LGSOWG format data which can be accessed through reference to the LGSOWG format in combination with an appropriate data viewer. IRS-P6 AWiFS Raw image product is available in LGSOWG Format. Radiometric correction has been applied to the product and it can be read directly in ENVI and PCI.

For further information, see IRS-P6 Liss-III product FAST format description [PDF, 99.56 KB]

GeoTIFF Format

IRS-P6 AWiFS Map orientated product is available in Geographic Tagged Image File Format (GeoTIFF). GeoTIFF offers the capability to embed a wide range of georeferencing information (e.g. projection, datums and ellipsoids, coordinate values) as compliant descriptive tags (metadata) and structures within the Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) file.

The AWiFS Map orientated products are in Lambert Conformal Conic projection. It has parallels at 18 and 36 degrees south with central meridian at 134 degrees east and latitude of the projection origin at the equator. No false easting or northing has been applied to the coordinates. The products include ER Mapper (.ers) and ENVI (.hdr) headers with each band. For ERDAS Imagine and PCI users, the IRS-P6 AWiFS GeoTIFF products can be read directly in ERDAS Imagine and PCI. However, it is important to note that ERDAS Imagine and PCI do not correctly translate the GeoTIFF projection information. Users need to customize a new Lambert Conformal Conic projection with projection parameters specified above.

For further information, see IRS-P6 AWiFS product GeoTIFF format description [PDF, 283.2 KB]

NOAA AVHRR and MODIS

HDF

The Hierarchical Data format (HDF) for MODIS and AVHRR is a library and multi-object file format for the transfer of graphical and numerical data between machines. HDF is commonly used in scientific applications because of its portability between different systems and because of the self-describing nature of the format.

Generic image formats

Geographic Tagged Image File Format (GeoTIFF)

Landsat, MODIS and ALOS imagery is now available in Geographic Tagged Image File Format (GeoTIFF). Introduced in response to requests from our customers, this alternative image format is available for:

  • Landsat 5 and Landsat 7 ortho-corrected and map oriented image products
  • ALOS PRISM and AVNIR-2 map oriented image products
  • ALOS PRISM Wide Swath Orthocorrect image products
  • MODIS map oriented L1B and Surface Reflectance image products.

GeoTIFF is becoming a popular industry-wide image format for data storage and transfer across operating system environments and applications. GeoTIFF offers the capability to embed a wide range of georeferencing information (e.g. projection, datums and ellipsoids, coordinate values) as compliant descriptive tags (metadata) and structures within the TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) file.

For more information visit:

Supported file formats for products

Geoscience Australia encourages, and where possible assists the major software vendors in the support of our supplied product formats.

The following table provides a summary of the digital image product formats supported by Geoscience Australia. If more than one format is available for a particular sensor/processing level combination, our recommended format is shown in bold.

Satellite Sensor Processing Level File Formats
Landsat 5 TM Path Image CCRS
EOSAT Fast Format
Landsat 5 TM Map Oriented or Orthocorrected Image CCRS, GeoTIFF
EOSAT Fast Format
Landsat 2-5 MSS All CCRS
Landsat 7 ETM+ Raw - USGS L0R
Raw - USGS L1R
HDF
HDF
Landsat 7 ETM+ Path Image Fast-L7A
HDF
Landsat 7 ETM+ Map Oriented or Orthocorrected Image Fast-L7A, GeoTIFF
HDF
Resourcesat-1 (IRS-P6) Liss-III Path Image Fast Format
AWiFS Map Oriented Image GeoTIFF
AWiFS Raw Image Data LGSOWG
ALOS PRISM
AVNIR-2
PALSAR
All CEOS
ALOS PRISM
AVNIR-2
Map Oriented image GeoTIFF
ALOS PRISM Wide Swath Orthocorrected image GeoTIFF
Terra and Aqua MODIS Level 1 B and MOD09 Surface
Reflectance swath image
HDF
Terra and Aqua MODIS Level 1 B and MOD09 Surface
Reflectance Map Oriented image
GeoTIFF
Terra and Aqua MODIS Level 1 B and MOD09 Surface
Reflectance Map Oriented image
GeoTIFF
NOAA AVHRR Map Oriented image HDF
Terra ASTER All HDF
EO-1 Hyperion All HDF
EO-1 ALI All HDF