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About Rapid Response

Imagery available through Rapid Response and LANCE are available freely and may be reproduced for any purpose. We ask that you use following acknowledgement.

Expedited Processing

To make imagery available in less than 3 hours, expedited Level 0 data are processed using predicted attitude and ephemeris data. In some cases, this can result in significant differences exist between the near real-time LANCE products and the standard products. Data products available through LANCE should not be regarded as science quality and should not be used for quantitative science analyses. Nonetheless, all LANCE products have been reviewed by members of the instrument Science Teams and have been approved for applications purposes.


The Rapid Response system was originally developed in 2001 to provide near real-time data and imagery from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on board the Terra Satellite, to meet the needs of the US Forest Service (USFS), the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) and other federal and state users. Rapid Response, then known as the MODIS Land Rapid Response System, was made possible through the collaboration between staff at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), the Department of Geography at the University of Maryland and the USFS Remote Sensing Applications Center (RSAC). By 2007, the Rapid Response System was producing data globally and had incorporated data and imagery from the MODIS instrument on the Aqua satellite. As this rapid response image and information provision capability became more visible, news organizations began requesting custom geo-referenced images for large newsworthy events. Users quickly realized that the imagery and data products produced by Rapid Response could be used for other tasks that required low latency products, including imagery for monitoring air quality, floods, dust storms, snow cover, agriculture, and for public education and outreach. As the original system aged and the demand and expectations for near real-time data increased, the NASA Earth Science Division (ESD) implemented a Near Real-Time (NRT) capability that was closely aligned with the science-processing systems. NASA ESD sponsored the development of LANCE in 2009. Worldview and the Global Imagery Browse Services (GIBS) have built on the success of Rapid Response and provide global imagery for MODIS, the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) and the Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS).

Article on the MODIS Land Rapid Response System:

Sohlberg R, Descloitres J, Bobbe T (2001). MODIS Land Rapid Response: operational use of Terra data for USFS wildfire management. Earth Obs 13:8–10.