Sentinel-2 Multispectral Instrument (MSI)
USGS Distribution of Sentinel-2 Products
Example image tile acquired by Sentinel-2A over a portion of Denmark and Sweden (August 6, 2015)
UPDATE (December 23, 2016): As of December 6, 2016, ESA started distributing Sentinel-2 data products with a shorter naming convention. The new format also includes a full resolution True-Colour Image as an RGB (red, green, blue) composite image created from bands 4, 3, 2. An announcement was made on November 29, 2016, which highlights the updated product format described in the Sentinel-2 Products Specification Document (PSD) (version 14.2). Previously offered Sentinel-2 data in the EROS archive will be replaced as data with the True-Colour Image become available from ESA. Users may see temporary scene duplication in search results.
A partnership established between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) allows for USGS storage and redistribution of data acquired by the multispectral instrument (MSI) on the European Union's Sentinel-2A satellite launched in June 2015.
The MSI collects imagery over the Earth’s land surfaces, large islands, and inland and coastal waters with potential revisit every ten days. The MSI sensor acquires 13 spectral bands that are highly complementary to data acquired by the USGS Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) and Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+).
The collaborative effort between ESA and USGS provides for public access and redistribution of global acquisitions of Sentinel-2A data at no cost, allowing users to download the MSI imagery from USGS access systems such as EarthExplorer, in addition to the ESA Sentinels Scientific Data Hub. The current USGS Sentinel-2 archive is only a partial representation of all available acquisitions from ESA. Users should expect some delay before ESA’s acquired data becomes available on USGS systems.
The product options from USGS include a Full-Resolution Browse (FRB) image product generated by USGS, along with a 100Km by 100Km tile-based Level-1C top-of-atmosphere (TOA) reflectance product that is very similar (but not identical) to the currently distributed ESA Level 1C product . These initial product types were released in early 2016.
We would welcome any available input or feedback from the user community. Please provide comments or suggestions regarding the USGS Sentinel-2A product options to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Sentinel fleet of satellites is designed to deliver data and imagery that are central to the European Commission’s Copernicus program. The Sentinel-2 mission is the result of close collaboration between the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Commission, industry, service providers, and data users. The mission has been designed and built by a consortium of around 60 companies led by Airbus Defence and Space and supported by the French space agency, Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), to optimize image quality, and by the German Aerospace Centre, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahr (DLR), to improve data recovery using optical communications.
The Sentinel-2 mission consists of two satellites developed to support vegetation, land cover, and environmental monitoring. The Sentinel-2A satellite was launched by ESA on June 23, 2015, and operates in a sun-synchronous orbit with a 10-day repeat cycle. A second identical satellite (Sentinel-2B) launched March 7, 2017. Together they cover the Earth’s land surfaces, large islands, inland and coastal waters every five days at the equator.
The Sentinel-2 Multispectral Instrument (MSI) acquires 13 spectral bands ranging from Visible and Near-Infrared (VNIR) to Shortwave Infrared (SWIR) wavelengths along a 290-km orbital swath. The MSI sensor data are complementary to data acquired by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) and Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+). With Landsat 7 & 8 and Sentinel-2A and -2B in operation simultaneously, research and applications scientists will be afforded 3-4 day repeat coverage of the Earth’s land masses.
The Sentinel-2 data from USGS will be available for search, preview, and download through EarthExplorer and Sentinel2Look Viewer. An updated version of the LandsatLook Viewer is also available. The two viewers have been developed to allow for quick and easy visualization of all Landsat and Sentinel-2 images in the USGS archive at up to full resolution.
The product options from USGS include a Full-Resolution Browse (FRB) image product generated by USGS, along with a 100Km by 100Km tile-based Level-1C top-of-atmosphere (TOA) reflectance product that is very similar (but not identical) to the currently distributed ESA Level 1C product.
For a detailed description of the Sentinel-2 Level 1C product, see the ESA Sentinel-2 Products Specification Document.
The USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center repackages each Sentinel-2 product bundle on a per tile basis, resulting in a file size of approximately 650 MB. Each Level-1C product is a 100 km x 100 km tile with a UTM/WGS84 (Universal Transverse Mercator/World Geodetic System 1984) projection and datum. The Sentinel-2 tiling grid is referenced to the U.S. Military Grid Reference System (MGRS). Tiles can be fully or partially covered by image data. Partially covered tiles correspond to those at the edge of the swath. The download package from USGS will include one file for each of the 13 spectral bands plus metadata.
For a detailed description of the USGS-distributed file format and product contents, and how they compare to the Copernicus standard products: (coming soon)
The main visible and near-infrared Sentinel-2A bands have a spatial resolution of 10 meters, while its “red-edge” (red and near-infrared bands) and two shortwave infrared bands have a 20-meter spatial resolution. The coastal/aerosol, water vapor, and cirrus bands have a spatial resolution of 60 meters.
During the development of Landsat 8 and Sentinel-2A, calibration scientists from both projects worked together to cross-calibrate the sensors. Many scientists and researchers are looking forward to collectively using data from Landsat 8 and Sentinel-2A.
The USGS Spectral Characteristics Viewer helps users determine which spectral bands work best to identify their features of interest for image interpretation. This tool also facilitates the visualization of the Relative Spectral Response (RSR) of other satellite sensors such as Landsat.
Geometric Characteristics: Sentinel-2A Level-1C products have similar geometric accuracy as Landsat 8. The design requirements for the MSI are:
- Absolute geolocation uncertainty: 20 m 2σ without Ground Control Points (GCPs) and 12.5 m 2σ with GCPs.
- Multi-temporal registration: 0.3 pixel 2σ including compensation for the effects of terrain height variation.
- Multi-spectral registration (for any two spectral bands): 3 pixels 3σ.
A global GCP network is currently under construction and expected to be completed in 2017.
For information on how to cite Sentinel-2A data plus guidance on usage restrictions:
ESA Sentinel-2 User Guide: https://sentinel.esa.int/web/sentinel/user-guides/sentinel-2-msi
ESA Sentinel-2 Technical Guide: https://sentinel.esa.int/web/sentinel/technical-guides/sentinel-2-msi
ESA Sentinel-2 User Handbook: https://sentinel.esa.int/documents/247904/685211/Sentinel-2_User_Handbook
ESA Sentinel-2 Products Specification: https://sentinel.esa.int/web/sentinel/document-library/content/-/article/sentinel-2-level-1-to-level-1c-product-specifications
ESA Sentinel 2 Toolbox: https://sentinel.esa.int/web/sentinel/toolboxes/sentinel-2
ESA Sentinel-2A Acquisition Plans: https://sentinels.copernicus.eu/web/sentinel/missions/sentinel-2/acquisition-plans
ESA Sentinel-2A Facts and Figures: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Observing_the_Earth/Copernicus/Sentinel-2/Facts_and_figures
MGRS Tile Shapefiles: http://earth-info.nga.mil/GandG/coordsys/grids/mgrs_100km_dloads.html
(Simply click on the map to download a shapefile containing the tiles (or grid squares) for a specific grid or select MGRS 100-km Grids Zones 1-60 (172 MB) to download tiles for the entire earth.)