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Spectral Characteristics Viewer

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USGS Spectral Characteristics Viewer

The Spectral Characteristics Viewer allows users to determine which satellite bands are best suited for their research application.

How to use the Spectral Characteristics Viewer

  1. Click on the “Bands/Spectra/Convolve” button and select the bands from the available satellite instrument(s) to view how they measure the intensity of the wavelengths (colors) of light (also known as Relative Spectral Response -RSR).
  2. From the “Spectra” tab select from minerals, vegetation, water or coating-rocks to plot their spectral response alongside the bands from the satellite instrument(s).
  3. Click “Close” to view the spectral characteristics results.

To capture spectral characteristics results please use system and web browser print functions.

Bands: The RSR for the following satellites are currently available:

Spectra: The USGS Spectroscopy Lab contains the spectra source information available in this viewer.

Convolve: While the full process of convolve is to simulate how a satellite sensor detects a surface feature in each spectral band, in this current viewer version, the Convolve function displays only the full width at half maximum values (FWHM) for the selected satellite bands; full convolve functionality will be included in a future update of this viewer.


Landsat represents the world's longest continuously acquired collection of space-based moderate-resolution land remote sensing data. Four decades of imagery provides a unique resource for those who work in agriculture, geology, forestry, regional planning, education, mapping, and global change research. Landsat images are also invaluable for emergency response and disaster relief.


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Page Last Modified: 10/18/18 11:39 am