UK leadership in calibration and validation

UK activities as part of CEOS WGCV

Earth science and the space sector rely on data from diverse satellite platforms as well as in-site field data. But in-situ datasets don’t often adhere to meta/data standards, significantly impeding data interoperability – being able to transform these datasets and use them in tandem with others.

The CEOS working group on Calibration and Validation (WGCV) is the principle international coordinating body on satellite Cal/Val (pre and post launch). It meets 9 monthly and is not only a forum for discussion but is very active on establishing international collaborative projects on infrastructure, best practices for cloud masking, atmospheric correction etc.

It has 6 sub-groups, of which one of the most active is the Infrared visible and optical sensors (IVOS), chaired by UK expert Nigel Fox, who is based at NPL. This sub-group has an international membership of about 100, with representation from 26 space agencies, and has led on many initiatives establishing test sites and comparisons of datasets. For example, RadCalNet provides top of atmosphere nadir reflectance data sites, for satellite calibration, due to be operational in Nov 2017. Beta testing is ongoing with 15 satellite companies.

ESA continues to be very supportive of CEOS WGCV and IVOS and has established a number of funded projects to implement agreed actions. Although the WGCV voting membership is limited to space agencies and is relatively formal, the IVOS sub-group is open to any including industry and regularly has attendees from several UK organisations at its meetings and the UK is internationally recognised for its significant contributions to IVOS, enabling interoperability and fit for purpose information for society.