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AATSR Data Formats Products
SST record 50 km cell MDS
BT/TOA Sea record 17 km cell MDS
Vegetation fraction for Land Surface Temperature Retrieval GADS
Topographic Variance data for Land Surface Temperature Retrieval GADS
Land Surface Temperature retrieval coefficients GADS
General Parameters for Land Surface Temperature Retrieval GADS
Climatology Variance Data for Land Surface Temperature Retrieval GADS
Level 0 SPH
Level 0 MDSR
Auxilliary Data SPH with N = 1
1.6 micron nadir view MDS
Summary Quality ADS
Scan pixel x and y ADS
Grid pixel latitude and longtitude topographic corrections ADS
Across-track Band Mapping Look-up Table
Configuration Data GADS
Processor configuration GADS
LST record 50 km cell MDS
Distributed product MDS
Level 2 SPH
10-arcminute mds
Limits GADS
Validation Parameters GADS
BT/TOA Land record 17 km cell MDS
General Parameters GADS
Temperature to Radiance LUT GADS
Radiance to Brightness Temperature LUT GADS
Medium/High Level Test LUT GADS
Infrared Histogram Test LUT GADS
11 Micron Spatial Coherence Test LUT GADS
11/3.7 Micron Nadir/Forward Test LUT GADS
11/12 Micron Nadir/Forward Test LUT GADS
Characterisation GADS
Browse Day_Time Colour LUT GADS
Browse SPH
Grid pixel latitude and longtitude topographic correction ADS
Level 2 SPH
Auxilliary Products
ATS_VC1_AX: Visible Calibration data
ATS_SST_AX: SST Retrieval Coeficients data
ATS_PC1_AX: Level-1B Processing configuration data
ATS_INS_AX: AATSR Instrument data
ATS_GC1_AX: General Calibration data
ATS_CH1_AX: Level-1B Characterization data
ATS_BRW_AX: Browse Product LUT data
Level 0 Products
ATS_NL__0P: AATSR Level 0 product
Browse Products
ATS_AST_BP: AATSR browse image
Level 1 Products
ATS_TOA_1P: AATSR Gridded brightness temperature and reflectance
Level 2 Products
ATS_NR__2P: AATSR geophysical product (full resolution)
ATS_MET_2P: AATSR Spatially Averaged Sea Surface Temperature for Meteo Users
ATS_AR__2P: AATSR averaged geophysical product
Frequently Asked Questions
The AATSR Instrument
Instrument Characteristics and Performance
In-flight performance verification
Instrument Description
Internal Data Flow
Instrument Functionality
AATSR Products and Algorithms
Common Auxiliary data sets
Auxiliary Data Sets for Level 2 processing
Instrument Specific Topics
Level 2 Products
Level 1B Products and Algorithms
Level 1B Products
Instrument Pixel Geolocation
The Level 0 Product
Differences Between ATSR-2 and AATSR Source Packets
Definitions and Conventions
Organisation of Products
Relationship Between AATSR and ATSR Products
AATSR Product Organisation
Data Handling Cookbook
Characterisation and Calibration
Monitoring of AATSR VISCAL Parameters
Latency, Throughput and Data Volume
Data Processing Software
Data Processing Centres
The AATSR Products User Guide
Image Gallery
Breakup of the Ross Ice Shelf
Land cover in the Middle East
Typhoon Saomai
Mutsu Bay, Japan
Deforestation in Brazil
Spatially Averaged Global SST, September 1993
Further Reading
How to use AATSR data
Why Choose AATSR Data?
Why Choose AATSR Data?
Special Features of AATSR
Principles of Measurement
Scientific Background
The AATSR Handbook
SST record 17 km cell MDS
Surface Vegetation class for Land Surface Temperature Retrieval GADS
1.6 micron forward view MDS
12 micron nadir view MDS
12 micron forward view MDS
Summary Quality ADS
Surveillance Limits GADS
Master Unpacking Definition Table GADS
1.6 micron Non-Linearity Correction LUT GADS
General Parameters GADS
Thin Cirrus Test LUT GADS
Fog/low Stratus Test LUT GADS
1.6 Micron Histogram
Browse MDS
ATS_CL1_AX: Cloud LUT data
Pre-flight characteristics and expected performance
Payload description, position on the platform
Auxiliary products
Auxiliary Data Sets for Level 1B processing
Summary of auxiliary data sets
Calculate Solar Angles
Image Pixel Geolocation
Level 0 Products
Acquisition and On-Board Data Processing
Product Evolution History
Hints and Algorithms for Higher Level Processing
Data Volume
Software tools
Summary of Applications vs Products
Geophysical Coverage
Geophysical Measurements
Visible calibration coefficients GADS
Level 1B SPH
LST record 17 km cell MDS
Conversion Parameters GADS
12 Micron Gross Cloud Test LUT GADS
ATS_PC2_AX: Level-2 Processor Configuration data
Level 2 Products
Hints and Algorithms for Data Use
BT/TOA Sea record 50 km cell MDS
BT/TOA Land record 50 km cell MDS
Level 2 Algorithms
Signal Calibration
Site Map
Frequently asked questions
Terms of use
Contact us


1.2.1 Software tools

The following categories of software tools can be used to explore AATSR products: General Tools

Users are free to write their own routines in C, IDL or other languages to read and process AATSR data. The detailed AATSR product specifications will assist with this task.

The EnviView tool provided by ESA can also be used to convert ENVISAT data into hdf file format. This allows the data to be automatically read by any third-party software supporting this format. The use of this function within EnviView is strongly recommended for those who are unfamiliar with the ENVISAT product format.

A number of COTS image processing packages such as ERDAS, ENVI and Geomatica may also extend their products to directly support the AATSR product format, in time.

The particular features of the AATSR products highlighted in section 1.2. under Data Handling Considerations should be taken into account when developing AATSR reading and data processing routines. EnviView

EnviView is a tool specially developed to open and decode data in the ENVISAT format. It then provides the capability to display the contents of the products as simple text in HTML format, as graphs, or as images where these are appropriate. EnviView will also output products in hdf file format, allowing them to be read by other software packages supporting this format.

EnviView will be made freely available to all ENVISAT data users. Further information and copies of EnviView can also be obtained via

The EnviView Charter

EnviView is a simple tool to provide a first look at ENVISAT data files in the PDS format. It is intended for the following purposes:

  • To be able to open any Level 0, 1B, Level 2 or Auxiliary PDS data file;
  • To determine the contents of a the file, and the value of any given fields in any data set (except raw source packets);
  • To provide basic visualisation of data through simple 2D graphs;
  • To visualise certain high level data sets in a meaningful manner where a 2D graph conveys little information:
    • image data sets from AATSR, ASAR and MERIS;
    • ASAR Wave spectra;
    • RA2 Waveform movie.
  • To provide a representation of the geographic coverage;
  • To export selected data to HDF, ASCII or binary data files, for analysis in other tools such as Mathematica, IDL, Excel, etc.;
  • To save the contents of a record as HTML text for inclusion in reports;
  • To print the contents of a record, or data view;
  • To be highly portable, to reach as wide an audience as possible;
  • It is guaranteed to run on Unix, Windows and MacOS and potentially other platforms too.

EnviView is not intended for the detailed analysis of ENVISAT data, there are many commercial and proprietary tools that provide better facilities.

The difference between such tools and EnviView is that they are more often than not aimed at certain classes of data, such as images or atmospheric data, or even data for a particular instrument. EnviView, however is a single solution for all PDS products.

Special Instructions

The following special instructions should be noted when using AATSR data in EnviView:

Gridded Surface Temperature (GST) Product: ATS_NR_2P

The GST product is switchable, meaning that the contents of the MDS depends on the settings of the land/cloud flags. The MDS also contains 2 image fields, the Nadir Field and the Combined Field. The mechanism for viewing these image fields within EnviView is currently as follows:

  • Open the GST product.
  • Select the New Image View menu item from the View menu.
  • The Quantity drop-down box will display the available image fields in the MDS. Select the relevant field accordingly.
  • Navigate around the image and adjust the colour settings as per the standard EnviView procedures.
Average Surface Temperature (AST) Product: ATS_AR_2P

The MDSs in the AST product represent images constructed from 10 and 30 arc minute and 17 and 50 km cells. These cells are referenced by cell latitude and longitude rather than being treated as pixels in a scan line. These images are therefore displayed on a world map using the EnviView 2-D Map View function, rather than using the Image Viewer. In this function, each cell is represented by a symbol (a solid box). The symbol size approximates the data sampling area and scales with the axis ranges of the map plot.

Taking the SST record 10 arc minute cell MDS as an example:

  • Open the AST product.
  • From the View menu, select the New 2-D Map View menu item.
  • Select the data set of interest from the Data Set drop-down box, which in this case is SEA_ST_10_MIN_CELL_MDS
  • Select the required field within the MDS under Value Field (in this case either the mean dual view SST (m_dual_vw) of the mean nadir SST (m_nad)) using the drop-down box.
  • Specify the Record at which the plot should start and the number of Records/Plot and press Enter
  • Adjust the colour settings/reset the zoom as per the standard EnviView procedures. Instrument specific software tools



The Basic ERS & Envisat (A)ATSR and Meris Toolbox (BEAM) is a collection of executable tools and an application programming interface (API) which has been developed to facilitate the utilisation, viewing and processing of ESA MERIS, (A)ATSR and ASAR data. The purpose of BEAM is not to duplicate existing commercial packages, but to complement them with functions dedicated to the handling of ENVISAT MERIS and AATSR products. The main components of the BEAM are:

  • VISAT - A visualization, analyzing and processing software, entirely written in Java.
  • A set of scientific tools running either from the command line or invoked by VISAT, also entirely written in Java.
  • The BEAM Java API provides software frameworks and helpers for application development and new extension modules.
  • ENVISAT MERIS/AATSR Product Access API for ANSI C allowing reading access to these data products using a simple programming model.

The development of the BEAM software is targeted as an open source project and comes with full source code. BEAM is available at:

Architectural Design Goals

The primary design features of the BEAM are:

  • Extendibility through software frameworks with dedicated plug-in points for extended functionality. This will allow for easy integration of new algorithms, new data product I/O formats and much more.
  • An open source design which allows for distributed development resulting in a faster rate of growth, flexibility and stability.
  • Portability through platform-independent design for use on all major operating systems. All components of the toolbox (except ANSI C library) are programmed in Java. The alpha release was tested successfully on Windows 95/98/NT4/2000, Linux, Solaris and MacOS X. The ANSI C API shall compile on any system with an ANSI-C compliant C compiler.
  • High performance achieved by using optimized algorithms and frameworks. Image processing based on Java Advanced Imaging API (JAI).

More information is available from the envisat web site at