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Rapid Response FAQ

 

Where can I find more information on usage guidelines for the Rapid Response images?

Please refer to the About Rapid Response page.

Can I use an image from your gallery for…?

All Rapid Response images are in the public domain and can be freely used and reproduced for any purpose. Please credit: “NASA/GSFC, Rapid Response.” If publishing online, please link to Rapid Response. For more information on use and credit, visit the acknowledgement page or contact .

What do the red boxes mean?

Sheveluch Volcano and other thermal anomalies
Thermal anomalies detected on the Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia. At top right is the heat signature from the Sheveluch Volcano; the remainder are fires.

The red boxes indicate the location of a thermal anomaly that was detected by MODIS using data from the middle infrared and thermal infrared bands. In most cases, this thermal anomaly is a fire, but sometimes it is a volcanic eruption, or even the flare from a gas well. We have no way of knowing which it is based on the MODIS data alone. In areas of known volcanic activity, we can verify an eruption using published reports of volcanic activity worldwide. The red outlines don’t represent the actual size of the fire. They indicate the perimeter of 1km-resolution pixels containing the thermal anomaly detected by MODIS.

 

What do the different band combinations mean?

A digital color image displayed on a monitor is composed of three different color channels: red, green, and blue. Satellite images are made by combining the reflected light detected by the sensor at various wavelengths (spectral bands) and making them into a single image. The Rapid Response System makes use of MODIS broad range of spectral observations by creating both true-color and false-color images, each tailored to highlight different land surface, atmospheric, and oceanic features. Some of the ways these bands can be combined are described below.

True-color

Long Answer
True-color imagery uses MODIS Bands 1, 4, and 3, respectively corresponding to the red, green, and blue range of the light spectrum, are assigned to the red, green, and blue channels of a digital image. These images are called true-color or natural color because this combination of wavelengths is similar to what the human eye would see.

Short Answer
Bands
1,4,3 (670 nm: 565 nm: 479 nm)
Colors
Fire detection=red outlines
Advantages
Natural-looking images of land surface, oceanic and atmospheric features.

Band 3,6,7 Combination

Long Answer
The 3-6-7 composite assigns Bands 3, 6, and 7 to the red, green, and blue components of a digital image. This combination is good for revealing snow and ice because they are very reflective in the visible part of the spectrum, and very absorbent in Bands 6 and 7, which are a part of the spectrum called the short-wave infrared, or SWIR.

Snow and Ice
Since the only visible light used in these images (Band 3) is assigned to red, snow and ice appear bright red. The more ice, the stronger the absorption in the SWIR bands, and the more red the color. Thick ice and snow appear vivid red (or red-orange), while small ice crystals in high-level clouds will appear reddish-orange or peach.

Vegetation
Vegetation is absorbent in Band 3 and Band 7, but reflective in Band 6, and so will appear greenish in this band combination. Bare soil will appear bright cyan in the image since it much more reflective in Band 6 and Band 7 than Band 3.

Water
Liquid water on the ground will be very dark since it absorbs in the red and the SWIR, but small liquid water drops in clouds scatter light equally in both the visible and the SWIR, and will therefore appear white. Sediments in water appear dark red.

Short Answer
Bands
3,6,7 (479 nm: 1,652 nm: 2,155 nm)
Colors
Vegetation=Green
Ice or snow=Red
Liquid water on the ground=Black or dark red
Liquid water clouds=White
Ice clouds=Peach
Desert=Light blue-green
Advantages
Distinguishing liquid water from frozen water, for example, clouds over snow, ice cloud versus water cloud; or floods from dense vegetation.

Band 7-2-1 Combination

Long Answer
In this composite, MODIS Bands 7, 2, and 1, are assigned to the red, green, and blue portions of the digital image. This combination is most useful for identifying burn scars.

Vegetation and bare ground
Vegetation is very reflective in the near infrared (Band 2), and absorbent in Band 1 and Band 7. Assigning that band to green means even the smallest hint of vegetation will appear bright green in the image. Naturally bare soil, like a desert, is reflective in all bands used in this image, but more so in the SWIR (Band 7, red) and so soils will often have a pinkish tinge.

Burned areas
If vegetation burns, bare soil in the area will become exposed. Band 1 slightly increases usually, but that may be offset by the presence of black carbon residue. The near infrared (Band 2) will become darker, and Band 7 becomes more reflective. When assigned to red in the image, Band 7 will show burn scars as deep or bright red, depending on the type of vegetation burned, the amount of residue, or the completeness of the burn.

Water
As with the 3-6-7 composite, water will appear black. Sediments in water appear dark blue.

Short Answer
Bands
7,2,1 (2,155 nm: 876 nm: 670 nm)
Colors
Vegetation=Green
Water=Black or dark blue
Desert/Naturally bare soil=Sandy pink
Burn scar=Red to reddish-brown, depending on the nature of the pre-fire vegetation and the severity of the burn.
Advantages
Distinguishing burn scars from naturally low vegetation or bare soil. Enhancing floods.

What do the orbit track maps show?

Orbit track map with UTC time stamps in white
A cut-away from an orbit track map showing the Terra satellite overpass time near the Great Lakes (daytime granule starting at 17:10 UTC, nighttime granule starting at 03:35 UTC).

The maps have a series of white lines with tick marks on them that show what time (using Coordinated Universal Time, or UTC) the satellite will be passing over a particular location on Earth on a given day. The white lines represent the center of the swath. The time stamps mark the start of the northern (Terra) or southern (Aqua) edge of each 5-minute data collection period. An image acquired at that location will span roughly 1150 kilometers on either side of the tick mark. Every day there are two passes over most areas: one daylight pass, and one nighttime pass. At this point the Rapid Response System produces images for the daylight passes only.

 

How can I tell when MODIS will capture an image of my area?

For Near Real Time (Orbit Swath) Images

  • A link to the day’s orbit track map appears next to the satellite/instrument name on the Near Real Time (Orbit Swath) Images page.
  • The orbit track maps have a series of white lines with tick marks on them that show the time in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) at which the satellite passes over that location. To find your area of interest, find the closest swath and note the times of the nearest tick marks encompassing your area.
    • The image created at a particular time will encompass an equal area on either side of the line. Depending on how close the exact location you are interested in is to the actual orbital line (which represents the center of the swath), your image may be very sharp, if it is near the center, or degraded, if it is close to the edge.
    • For every region there will be a daylight and nighttime pass. Only the daytime (i.e. local daytime) passes appear on our real-time production page.
  • The Near Real Time (Orbit Swath) Images are labeled with a time stamp that is the start time of a five-minute data collection period or granule (its northern edge for Terra or southern edge for Aqua). They are arranged in their approximate geographical position on the earth.

For Geometrically Corrected Images

  • Select a subset group from the MODIS Subsets page.
  • Select a red square that covers your region of interest.

Why do the real-time images look different from the gallery images?

Typhoon Rusa browse image, showing bow-tie distortion (left) and geometric correction for bow-tie effect (right).
Matching images of Typhoon Rusa from the summer of 2002, showing the bow-tie effect (left) and geometric correction (right).

Bow-tie effect
Satellite sensors collect data by pixels. A pixel of data represents the electromagnetic energy reflected from or radiated by a given area of ground. All these pixels are like individual boxes in a grid, and they are put together to make the complete image. In a single rotation of its scan mirror, MODIS captures an area on Earth about 2300 kilometers wide by 10 kilometers tall (imagine a long, thin rectangle). An image is put together by stitching one scan–one strip–on to the next.

 

Stretch
Because the area is so large, MODIS is looking straight down at the Earth in the center, but is looking off to the side at an angle. Just like the spot illuminated by a flashlight becomes wider the farther away the beam is pointed, the pixels that make up the MODIS image get wider the farther they are from the center of the image. Each MODIS scan gets stretched out at the edges, making the shape of each scan–each strip of the image–look more like a bow-tie than a true rectangle.

Overlap
Because the strips are wider at the edge than the center, the scans don’t overlap in the center of the image, but they do overlap near the edges of the swath. This overlap creates a “double-vision” effect on the edges of the swath, as each point of the Earth’s surface appears in two adjacent scans. This geometric distortion also makes the line where scans come together more pronounced, essentially magnifying tiny differences between one side of the scan mirror and the other, especially at the edge of the swath.

Distortion
The real-time images are displayed as they are scanned by MODIS, without correction for geometric distortion. Since the observed pixels at the edge of the swath are bigger than they are in the center, they appear to be scrunched into a too-small grid box when displayed “as-is” in the real-time imagery. We select certain images for geometric correction, and hand tailor them for our image gallery.

How do you correct for the bow-tie effect and distortion?
The code we use to correct for the bow-tie effect and distortion is not documented for distribution, but there are several free tools that will give similar results. We recommend the MODIS Swath to Grid Toolkit (MS2GT), HDFLook, or HDF-EOS To GeoTIFF Conversion Tool (HEG).

How do I make true-color MODIS images?

To help you create your own true color MODIS images, we provide a tutorial (PDF) that tells you where to get the software you need, including a version of our corrected reflectance, fire detection, and vegetation index algorithms. Because of regulations on code distribution, code distribution is handled by the Direct Readout Laboratory.

Other alternatives for geometrically correcting MODIS data include MODIS Swath to Grid Toolkit (MS2GT), HDFLook, and HDF-EOS To GeoTIFF Conversion Tool (HEG).

I’ve tried making my own MODIS images from MOD09 data ordered from LAADS Web, but they don’t look like yours. Why not?

We make our imagery directly from the MODIS L1B data (the calibrated, geolocated radiances), not the standard MODIS surface reflectance product (MOD09). Our images are based on custom corrected reflectance code that has been developed with the specific aim of maintaining image integrity, as opposed to the standard MODIS surface reflectance product, which was developed with scientific integrity as the primary objective. For example, we do not use an atmospheric correction. In some cases, our images undergo additional hand-tweaking to enhance their appearance; for example, we may apply different color stretchs depending on the type of phenomenon (e.g. dust, phytoplankton bloom, clouds) we are highlighting.

Can you provide the full data file for an image I like in your gallery?

For data appearing on the Near Real Time (Orbit Swath) Images page, links are provided to the near real time full spectral resolution files HDF files on the LANCE MODIS FTP site. Links are also provided to the science quality full spectral resolution files HDF files on the LAADS Web site.

Can you send me geometrically corrected images and fire detections for my area of interest each day?

A substantial investment of time and resources is required to provide hand-tailored image processing for specific regions on a daily basis. The Rapid Response System provides these products daily to a small number of partner organizations, including the USDA Forest Service and Global Observation of Forest Cover partners. These images are available on the MODIS Subsets page. As time and resources permit, we can occasionally respond to requests for coverage of significant events, and we are always interested in discussing the potential for meaningful scientific collaborations. If you are interested in proposing such a collaboration, please contact .

Do you produce fire detections at night?

Nighttime fire detections are currently being collected for land regions across the world and are available from the Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS).

What is the Julian day?

The Julian day, as we mean it, is the day of year (from 1 to 365 or 366). Most remote sensing data sets are identified using this julian date rather than the calendar date, because it is a more straightforward time scale for automatic processes. Note this is different from the common meaning of Julian Day as in Julian calendar. For conversions between julian date and calendar date, see this conversion table.

Where do you get the data used to draw political boundaries and coastlines on your gallery images?

This vector information comes from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s (NGA) Vector Map (VMap) Level 0. It is available from the NGA web site.

Where can I find the georeferencing information for your subset and gallery images?

The georeferencing information is contained in two places, the More information page and the JPEG worldfile. They are accessible from links on each image page.

More information
This page describes the projection used to georeference the image, the latitude and longitude of the image center and corners, and some additional information about the image. If the image is rotated, the “rotation angle” field will be given. Counterclockwise rotation is positive; the image is first projected then rotated. If the pixel sizes are not equal in the X and Y direction. the “x scale factor” will be given; it can also be calculated: x_scale_factor = y_pixel_size / x_pixel_size.

Note that the coordinates given for the image corners are for the outside corner of the pixel, and thus will differ by one half of the pixel size from the numbers given in the JPEG World File.

JPEG worldfile
This file has the file extension .jgw and is an ASCII text file consisting of 6 lines, each containing a single number:

ValueParameterDescription
250.000000000000APixel size in X direction
0.000000000000DRotation term for Y
0.000000000000BRotation term for X
-250.000000000000ENegative of pixel size in Y direction
-692125.000000000000CX location of center of upper left pixel
544375.000000000000FY location of center of upper left pixel

The following equations will calculate the map coordinates of the center of pixel (x,y) when the coordinates of the upper left pixel are (0,0):

Map_X = Ax + By + C

Map_Y = Dx + Ey + F

Note that the pixel size in the Y direction is negative because the map origin is at the lower left and the image origin is at the upper left. The pixel size is in degrees for the Plate Carree projection and in meters for all other projections.

Some GIS and Image Processing software packages will not correctly handle images whose rotation terms (the second and third lines) are not 0.0.

How do I use your subset and gallery images in my GIS or Image Processing software package?

We are only able to do limited testing with subset and gallery images using GIS and Image Processing software packages and would greatly appreciate any questions, comments, corrections, clarifications, etc. on these instructions from our users. Please send them to .

The “Download JPG image with ancillary files (.zip)” link on the individual subset image pages produces a zip file which includes 4 files – the subset image (.jpg), a worldfile with coordinate information (.jgw), a file with projection information (.prj), and a file with the projection information wrapped in XML tags for ArcGIS (.jpg.aux.xml). It is hoped that these ancillary files will allow the subset images to be loaded into GIS and image processing software packages without the user having to manually set the projection information. Again, feedback and corrections would be greatly appreciated. (This zip file is not yet available for Gallery images.)

NOTE: When downloading the worldfile (it is a .jgw file) on Windows computers, some versions of Windows append a “.txt” to the “.jgw” when you download it with “Save as type:” set to “Text Document.” If the worldfile is saved with a “.txt” extension, the GIS program will not be able to find the worldfile. The name of the worldfile must match the name of the image file except with “.jgw” in place of “.jpg.” To prevent this problem when downloading the worldfile in a Windows environment, change “Save as type”: to “All Files”. Also be aware that, when checking the worldfile name using Windows Explorer, in some versions you can’t see the “.txt” if the “Hide extensions for known file types” box is checked in Folder Options. In this case, the file name looks correct when it is not.

ArcMap

To use subset and gallery images in ArcMap:

  • First download the image (it is a .jpg file) and the worldfile (it is a .jgw file). You will also need to have some of the information from the “Display metadata” link handy. The “Display metadata” link is above the image on the left.
  • Either before or after opening the image in ArcMap, you must set the Layer Coordinate System. The projection is specified by the “projection” in the “Display metadata” page.
    • Plate Carree
      • NOTE: Images in mid to high latitudes will appear wider than on our web site because our pixels are narrowed to approximate equal area while ArcMap forces the pixels to be square. (The “x scale factor” can be found in the “Display metadata” page, the x_pixel_size is the first line of the .jgw file, the y_pixel_size is the fourth line of the .jgw file (with a “-” prepended) and x_scale_factor = y_pixel_size / x_pixel_size)
      • Right-click on “Layers”, select “Properties…” then the “Coordinate System” tab
      • Select “Predefined” in the “Select a Coordinate System” box, then “Geographic Coordinate Systems” -> “World” -> WGS_1984
      • Click “OK” for “Data Frame Properties”
    • Lambert Azimuthal – Sinusoidal – Stereographic
      • Right-click on “Layers”, select “Properties…” then the “Coordinate System” tab
      • Select “<custom>” in the “Select a Coordinate System” box
      • Click the “New” button then select “Projected Coordinate System…”
      • Enter a name in the “Name” box
      • Projection-specific instructions:
        • Lambert Azimuthal
          • In the “Projection” panel, under “Name” select “Lambert_Azimutal_Equal_Area”
          • Set “False_Easting” and “False_Northing” to 0
          • Set “Central_Meridian” to the value from the “projection center lon” in the “Display metadata” page
          • Set “Latitude_Of_Origin” to the value from the “projection center lat” in the “Display metadata” page
        • Sinusoidal
          • In the “Projection” panel, under “Name” select “Sinusoidal”
          • Set “False_Easting” and “False_Northing” to 0
          • Set “Central_Meridian” to the value from the “projection center lon” in the “Display metadata” page
        • Stereographic using Stereographic_South(North)_Pole
          • In the “Projection” panel, under “Name” select “Stereographic_South(North)_Pole”
          • Set “False_Easting” and “False_Northing” to 0
          • Set “Central_Meridian” to the value from the “projection center lon” in the “Display metadata” page
          • Set “Standard_Parallel_1″ to the value from the “standard parallel” in the “Display metadata” page
        • Stereographic using Stereographic
          • In the “Projection” panel, under “Name” select “Stereographic”
          • Set “False_Easting” and “False_Northing” to 0
          • Set “Central_Meridian” to the value from the “projection center lon” in the “Display metadata” page
          • Set “Scale_Factor” to the value from the “scale at natural origin” in the “Display metadata” page
          • Set “Latitude_of_Origin” to the value from the “projection center lat” in the “Display metadata” page
      • In the “Linear Unit” panel, under “Name” select “Meter”
      • If if the value of “ellipsoid” is “WGS84″ in the “Display metadata” page, then in the “Geographic Coordinate System” panel, click the “Select” button, then “World” then “WGS84.prj” (Now skip to the “Click OK for New Projected Coordinate System” step)
      • If if the value of “ellipsoid” is “Sphere” in the “Display metadata” page, then in the “Geographic Coordinate System” panel, click the “New…” button
      • Enter a name in the “Name” box
      • In the “Datum” panel, under “Name” select “<custom>”
      • In the “Spheroid” panel, under “Name” select “<custom>”
      • Set both “Semimajor Axis” and “Semiminor Axis” to the value from the “Earth radius (km)” in the “Display metadata” page. You will need to move the decimal point 3 digits to the right to convert from kilometers to meters.
      • In the “Angular Units” panel, under “Name” select “Degree”
      • In the “Prime Meridian” panel, under “Name” select “Greenwich”
      • Click “Finish” for “New Geographic Coordinate System”
      • Click “Finish” for “New Projected Coordinate System”
      • Click “OK” for “Data Frame Properties”

ArcView

NOTE: Some gallery images cannot be used in ArcView because they are rotated in order to capture more of the scene in a rectangular image. You can determine if an image is rotated or not by checking for the existance of the “rotation angle” keyword under the “Display metadata” link for that image.

To use subset and unrotated gallery images in ArcView:

  • First download the image (it is a .jpg file) and the worldfile (it is a .jgw file). You will have to replace all the periods in the file names (“.”), except the final one before the extension, with underscores (“_”). You can do this during the download process or afterwards. (Or you can completely rename the files, making sure that the portion before the .jpg and .jgw are identical.) You will also need to have some of the information from the “Display metadata” link handy. The “Display metadata” link is above the image on the left.
  • Make sure the ArcView JPEG Extension is enabled by going to File->Extension and checking “JPEG (JFIF) Image Support”.
  • Either before or after opening the image in ArcView, you must set the View Projection. The projection is specified by the “projection” in the “Display metadata” page.
    • Plate Carree
      • NOTE: (1) The settings below will most likely be the default settings. (2) Images in mid to high latitudes will appear wider than on our web site because our pixels are narrowed to approximate equal area while ArcView forces the pixels to be square. (The “x scale factor” can be found in the “Display metadata” page, the x_pixel_size is the first line of the .jgw file, the y_pixel_size is the fourth line of the .jgw file (with a “-” prepended) and x_scale_factor = y_pixel_size / x_pixel_size)
      • Go to View->Properties
      • Set “Map Units” to “decimal degrees”
      • Click the “Projection…” button
      • Click the “Standard” button
      • Set “Category” to “Projections of the World”"
      • Set “Type” to “Geographic”
    • Lambert Azimuthal
      • Go to View->Properties
      • Set “Map Units” to “meters”
      • Click the “Projection…” button
      • Click the “Custom” button
      • Set “Projection” to “Lambert Equal-Area Azimuthal”
      • “Spheroid” will be forced to a value of “Sphere”
      • Set “Central Meridian” to the value from the “projection center lon” in the “Display metadata” page
      • Set “Reference Latitude” to the value from the “projection center lat” in the “Display metadata” page
    • Sinusoidal
      • Go to View->Properties
      • Set “Map Units” to “meters”
      • Click the “Projection…” button
      • Click the “Custom” button
      • Set “Projection” to “Sinusoidal”
      • “Spheroid” will be forced to a value of “Sphere”
      • Set “Central Meridian” to the value from the “projection center lon” in the “Display metadata” page

ENVI

NOTE: Some gallery images cannot be used in ENVI because they are rotated in order to capture more of the scene in a rectangular image. You can determine if an image is rotated or not by checking for the existance of the “rotation angle” keyword under the “Display metadata” link for that image.

To use subset and unrotated gallery images in ENVI:

  • First download the image (it is a .jpg file) and the worldfile (it is a .jgw file). You will also need to have some of the information from the “Display metadata” link handy. The “Display metadata” link is above the image on the left.
  • In order to save the new projections you will create, for projections other than Plate Carree, you will need to have a writeable copy of the file “map_proj.txt”. First make a copy of the original ENVI file in your own directory space. (In our SGI installation, the file was found in the directory /usr/local/lib/idl_5.5/products/envi_3.5/map_proj.) Second, you must make this copy of “map_proj.txt” your default copy by selecting File -> Preferences -> User Defined Files… and using “Choose” to select “Default Map Projection File”. You must restart ENVI for the change to take effect.
  • Due to a bug (in some ENVI versions) in specifying some parameters for Lambert projections, you may need to create the projection in the “map_proj.txt” file. Instructions are provided below.
  • The projection is specified by the “projection” in the “Display metadata” page.
    • Plate Carree
      • NOTE: Pixels in images from mid to high latitudes will not be square in degrees because they are narrowed to approximate equal area. (The “x scale factor” can be found in the “Display metadata” page, the x_pixel_size is the first line of the .jgw file, the y_pixel_size is the fourth line of the .jgw file (with a “-” prepended) and x_scale_factor = y_pixel_size / x_pixel_size)
      • Open the JPEG file with Open External File -> Generic Formats -> JPEG. Select the filename and click “OK”
      • The “JPEG World File Input Projection” dialog will appear.
      • In the “Select Input projection” box, select “Geographic Lat/Lon”
      • In the “Datum…” box, select “WGS-84″
      • In the “Units…” box, select “Degrees”
      • Click “OK” for “JPEG World File Input Projection”
    • Lambert Azimuthal (using “map_proj.txt” file)
      • Edit your “map_proj.txt” file and add a new line containing the following:
      • A “36″ for Lambert Azimuthal Equal Area (sphere), followed by a comma
      • The value from the “Earth radius (km)” in the “Display metadata” page, followed by a comma. You will need to move the decimal point 3 digits to the right to convert from kilometers to meters.
      • The value from the “projection center lat” in the “Display metadata” page, followed by a comma
      • The value from the “projection center lon” in the “Display metadata” page, followed by a comma
      • Finally, “0.0,0.0,” (for false easting and northing) followed by a unique name for the projection
      • Save the file with the new projection definition and restart ENVI for the change to take effect.
      • Open the JPEG file with Open External File -> Generic Formats -> JPEG. Select the filename and click “OK”
      • The “JPEG World File Input Projection” dialog will appear.
      • In the “Select Input projection” box, select the name of your new projection
      • In the “Datum…” box, select “<none>”
      • In the “Units…” box, select “Meters”
      • Click “OK” for “JPEG World File Input Projection”
    • Lambert Azimuthal (using “Customized Map Projection Definition”)
      • Open the JPEG file with Open External File -> Generic Formats -> JPEG. Select the filename and click “OK”
      • The “JPEG World File Input Projection” dialog will appear.
      • In the “Select Input projection” box, select “New…”
      • Enter a unique name in the “Projection Name” box
      • In the “Projection Type” box, select “Azimuthal Equal Area (sphere)”
      • Set “Sphere Radius” to the value from the “Earth radius (km)” in the “Display metadata” page. You will need to move the decimal point 3 digits to the right to convert from kilometers to meters.
      • Set “False easting” and “False northing” to 0
      • Set “Latitude of projection origin” to the value from the “projection center lat” in the “Display metadata” page
      • Set “Longitude of central meridian” to the value from the “projection center lon” in the “Display metadata” page
      • Click “OK” for “Customized Map Projection Definition”
      • You will asked if you want to save the customized projection to the “map_proj.txt” and, if so, to select a filename and if you want to overwrite.
      • If you saved the projection, the next time you open the JPEG file, you can simply select the customized projection name from the “Select Input projection” box.
      • In the “Datum…” box, select “<none>”
      • In the “Units…” box, select “Meters”
      • Click “OK” for “JPEG World File Input Projection”
    • Sinusoidal
      • Open the JPEG file with Open External File -> Generic Formats -> JPEG. Select the filename and click “OK”
      • The “JPEG World File Input Projection” dialog will appear.
      • In the “Select Input projection” box, select “New…”
      • Enter a unique name in the “Projection Name” box
      • In the “Projection Type” box, select “Sinusoidal”
      • Set “Sphere Radius” to the value from the “Earth radius (km)” in the “Display metadata” page. You will need to move the decimal point 3 digits to the right to convert from kilometers to meters.
      • Set “False easting” and “False northing” to 0
      • Set “Longitude of central meridian” to the value from the “projection center lon” in the “Display metadata” page
      • Click “OK” for “Customized Map Projection Definition”
      • You will asked if you want to save the customized projection to the “map_proj.txt” and, if so, to select a filename and if you want to overwrite.
      • If you saved the projection, the next time you open the JPEG file, you can simply select the customized projection name from the “Select Input projection” box.
      • In the “Datum…” box, select “<none>”
      • In the “Units…” box, select “Meters”
      • Click “OK” for “JPEG World File Input Projection”

How do I use the “Search by keyword” feature in your gallery?

Each Rapid Response Gallery image is annotated with keywords to aid in finding images of interest. The keywords fall into two categories, geographic, such as country, US state, Canadian province, and water body names, and image subject, such as “fire”, “hurricane”, “phytoplankton bloom”, “volcano”, “dust”, “smoke”, “iceberg”, “snow”, etc.

This is a very simple search which searches on a literal string. The search is not case sensitive and the string can contain blanks (e.g. “new mexico”) or partial words. The search input can be multiple literal strings seperated by upper case “OR” (e.g., “hurricane OR typhoon OR tropical storm”). Similarly the search input can be a pair of strings separated by upper case “AND” (e.g., “canada AND fire”). The matching images are displayed with the most recent images at the top of the page. If no matches are found, only the search boxes will be displayed.

Some examples of keywords which will not work are city names and continent names. Continent names will return some images from that continent but it will not be a complete list.

How can I tell what time a subset image was acquired?

To find out when MODIS collected the data used in the subset image, click on “Display metadata (including time of input data)” above the image. Under “5 minute swath data used for this image”, there is a list of the MODIS granules that are included in the image. Click on the time of the overpass in UTC to see the real-time browse image for each granule.

The subset images may be composited from data collected in different MODIS overpasses at different times. Because the images cover set geographic regions, not a particular MODIS swath, the automated system that generates the subset images takes data from the overpasses that are closest to being directly overhead. Where overpasses overlap in the high latitudes of the north and the south, data from two or more overpasses (100 minutes apart) may be used to create the subset image. In these cases, a faint line may be visible where the two overpasses meet. White shows where data are not available either because MODIS has not imaged that region yet or because the area is out of the instrument’s range for that day. In equatorial regions, where overpasses do not overlap, MODIS data may not be available for the entire region every day. In these cases, a white wedge where no data were available may separate two MODIS overpasses.

How can I set up a direct broadcast system to receive data from the MODIS sensor?

The Direct Readout Laboratory can provide more information about setting up a direct broadcast system. You can also find additional information on the MODIS home page.

How do I convert to NDVI values from the colors in your NDVI images?

The colors used for the ndvi subset images (since June 2, 2004 (2004154), except NewMexico) can only be converted back to one-tenth NDVI ranges, as follows:

ColorNDVI
RGB 
153204255<=0.0
2251751000.0-0.1
2552251500.1-0.2
2252551750.2-0.3
1522551520.3-0.4
1022551020.4-0.5
51204510.5-0.6
015300.6-0.7
01020>0.7
255255255no data

For realtime images, subset images before June 2, 2004 (2004154), and the NewMexico subset, use the following conversion table:

ColorNDVI
RGB 
140190255<=0.0 (includes missing data)
2552452250.00-0.05
2552252000.05-0.10
2452011400.10-0.15
255221850.15-0.20
235190550.20-0.25
2502551800.25-0.30
2302501550.30-0.35
2052551050.35-0.40
175240900.40-0.45
1602451650.45-0.50
1302251350.50-0.55
1202001200.55-0.60
1581981080.60-0.65
140175700.65-0.70
70185400.70-0.75
50150200.75-0.80
20120800.80-0.85
308000.85-0.90
1202020>0.90