GRSG 34th Conference 2023

Title: EO Satellite Validation – The Why, The How, and The Art

Author: George LeBlanc


The rate of increase for EO satellite systems in orbit and scheduled for launch, within the next 1-3 years, is exponential. Our Earth has never been more observed and analysed than it has been in the past few years, and will continue to increase for the foreseeable future. The vast amount of data derived from space-based systems are now routinely produced and downloaded at volumes of greater than 100’s of petabytes each year. Data from measurements across the entire electromagnetic spectrum are being generated and sent down to Earth for both the expert and non-expert alike, for a vast number of uses. From military and government, to locations of hiking trails, and lot line demarcation – and not to forget our own geological applications.

These measurements are taken at distances of at least 160 km from the surface (the start of low Earth orbit) out to 10’s of thousands of Km’s. But, the question we, as scientists, ask is “how good/true to the ground phenomena are these data”? Is it a binary option (of use = yes/no), or an option that is more of an artistically creative answer – yes-ish? In order to address the question, a component of the space sensor mission that is, thankfully, being incorporated and expanded more into the entire lifespan of the mission is measurement validation. This talk will discuss various aspects of both well-known and on-going activities related to making sure that a measurement from space is relatively accurate (good-ish with error bars) for the phenomena it has measured on the surface.