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GeoEye’s OrbView-3 satellite was among the world’s first commercial satellites to provide high-resolution imagery from space. OrbView-3 collected one meter panchromatic (black and white) or four meter multispectral (color) imagery at a swath width of 8 km for both sensors. One meter imagery enables more accurate viewing and mapping of houses, automobiles and aircraft, and makes it possible to create precise digital products. Four meter multispectral imagery provides color and near infrared (NIR) information to further characterize cities, rural areas and undeveloped land from space.  Imagery from the OrbView-3 satellite complements existing geographic information system (GIS) data for commercial, environmental and national security customers. OrbView-3 orbits 470 km above the Earth in a sun-synchronous polar orbit while collecting imagery of the Earth's surface at one meter resolution in the Panchromatic (black and white) mode, or at four meter resolution in the Multispectral (color) mode with a three day repeat cycle.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) received 179,981 OrbView-3 image “segments” from GeoEye with no restrictions. The data were delivered in Basic Enhanced (Level 1B) radiometrically corrected format. The product files include satellite telemetry data, rational functions, post-processed Ground Sample Distance (GPS) at nadir data, and sufficient metadata for rigorous triangulation.

The data in this collection were acquired between September 2003 and March 2007, from the multispectral (MS) and panchromatic (Pan) sensors.  Over 84% of the Orbview-3 collection is PAN (black & white).

Digital Products

The Basic Enhanced (Level 1B) data have been post-processed using satellite telemetry data (orbit and attitude data) and rational function coefficients. This product serves as a baseline product for higher level products (e.g. orthorectified images) and includes sufficient metadata to allow customers to perform a rigorous photogrammetric triangulation. The Level 1B files are in generic TIF format and do not contain geo-referencing tags. The associated Parameter Value Language (PVL) metadata file does contain ephemeris data, and some software packages will automatically apply the geo-referencing model when importing the TIF file.

The Systematic Terrain Correction (Level 1Gst) product has been produced using radiometric and systematic geometric corrections while employing a 90-meter Digital Elevation Model (DEM) for topographic accuracy. The Level 1Gst files are in GeoTIF format and contain appropriate geo-referencing tags for the map projection and corner coordinates.

The Level 1B and Level 1GST data products have data values of unsigned 16-bit integers. The data range from 0 to 2047 instead of the expected 8-bit 0 to 255 range. 16-bit integer data by default will visually appear black in some software packages like ArcGIS. In such cases the data may need to be rescaled.

The Full Resolution Browse product provides a full resolution image in JPEG format for scenes that have been processed to Level 1Gst.

The GIS Ready Bundle includes a full resolution image in JPEG format bundled with metadata and a world file to use in geographic information systems, image processing software, and web mapping applications. This option provides users with a georeferenced JPEG image and is only available for scenes that have been processed to Level 1Gst.

Orbview-3 Specifications

Imaging Mode Panchromatic Multispectral
Spatial Resolution 1 meter 4 meter
Imaging Channels 1 channel 4 channels
Spectral Range 450-900 nm 450-520 nm (blue)
520-600 nm (green)
625-695 nm (red)
760-900 nm (NIR)

Coverage Maps

Coverage Maps indicating the availability of Orbview-3 products are available for download.

Additional Information:

Calibration Information  –

Data Use and Citation Policies

For information on how to cite USGS data plus guidance on usage restrictions,
please see our Data Citations and Use page at

Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and
does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Contact Information for User Assistance

Long Term Archive User Services
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
47914 252nd Street
Sioux Falls, SD 57198-0001

Phone Number: 605-594-6151
Toll Free: 800-252-4547
Fax: 605-594-6589

Business Hours: Monday thru Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Central Time