ESA tools

ESA tools

ESA provides several tools to display and process a number of their EO data.
I have had not the chance to test all of them personally and some may be outdated but the software dealing with radar (in particular NEST & PolSARPro) are worth a look and try if you have related data in your project.

software linked on this site:


The following information are quoted from the ESA website:

GMT (SMOS – Global Mapping Tool)

 “The SMOS Global Mapping Tool (GMT) is useful for plotting the SMOS data into a single global geographical map. The GMT is also able to visualise additional quantities derived from SMOS data (i.e. first Stokes parameter) and to filter data based on the quality flag available in the SMOS products. The tool requires a Linux Operative System and the installation of the IDL virtual machine.”

CryoSat Matlab routines

 “The following Matlab routines read the L1b and L2 CryoSat products.”

ODESA (Optical Data processor of the European Space Agency)

“The ODESA system intends to provide the users a complete level 2 processing environment for the MERIS instrument as well as for the future ESA optical sensors on board Sentinel 3. ODESA supplies the user community with the MERIS Ground Segment development platform MEGS®, including source code, embedded in an efficient framework for testing and for validation activities.

Validation facilities include match-up processing & analysis, data set selection & analysis, level 3 products generation & analysis and the possibility to perform remote processing, e.g. for testing purpose and for validation activities requiring large amounts of data.”

NEST (Next ESA SAR Toolbox)

“The Next ESA SAR Toolbox (NEST) is a toolbox for reading, post-processing, analysing and visualising data of ESA SAR missions and Third Party missions starting from Level 1 data. Distributed as fully open source, NEST easily allows users the development of new readers and post-processors for SAR data by means of an Application Programming Interface (API).”

Basic ERS & Envisat (A) ATSR and Meris Toolbox (BEAM)

“BEAM is an open-source toolbox and development platform for viewing, analysing and processing of remote sensing raster data. Originally developed to facilitate the utilisation of image data from Envisat’s optical instruments, BEAM now supports a growing number of other raster data formats such as GeoTIFF and NetCDF as well as data formats of other EO sensors such as MODISAVHRRAVNIRPRISMCHRIS/Proba and SMOS.”

Basic ERS & Envisat Atmospheric Toolbox (BEAT)

“The Basic ERS & Envisat Atmospheric Toolbox (BEAT) 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 GOMOS, MIPAS, SCIAMACHY and GOME data.”

Basic Radar Altimetry Toolbox (BRAT)

“This is a collection of tools and documents designed to facilitate the use of radar altimetry data. It can read most distributed radar altimetry data, from ERS-1 & 2, Topex/Poseidon, Geosat Follow-on, Jason-1, Envisat to the future Cryosat missions, and can perform processing and data editing, extraction of statistics, and visualisation of results.”

Basic Envisat SAR Toolbox (BEST)

“BEST (Basic Envisat SAR Toolbox) is a collection of executable software tools that has been developed to facilitate the use of ESA SAR data. The purpose of the Toolbox is not to duplicate existing commercial packages, but to complement them with functions dedicated to the handling of SAR products obtained from the ASAR (Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar) onboard Envisat and the AMIs (Active Microwave Instrument) onboard ERS 1/2.”


“EOLDAS software allows the optimal estimation of (mainly land surface, mainly vegetation) state variables (e.g. quantifying how much vegetation there is at a particular time and place) from remote radiometric (Earth Observation) data.”


“POLSARPRO is a toolbox for the scientific exploitation of polarimetric SAR data and a tool for high-level education in radar polarimetry.”

GOCE User Toolbox (GUT)

“The GOCE User Toolbox GUT is a compilation of tools for the utilisation and analysis of GOCE Level 2 products. GUT supports applications in Geodesy, Oceanography and Solid Earth Physics.

The GUT Tutorial provides information and guidance on how to use the toolbox for a variety of applications. GUT consists of a series of advanced computer routines that carry out the required computations. It may be used on Windows PCs, UNIX/Linux Workstations, and Mac.”

GOCE Level-1b Matlab Readers

“Simple Matlab routines may be built to read the Level-1b GOCE products.”

GOCE L1b-L2 XML Parser

“GOCE Level-1b and Level-2 data conforms to the GOCE EEF format, which is based on XML. This L1b-L2 XML parser is made available to the GOCE user community to import data into existing applications, by transforming the products in EEF format into another existing format.”

Derby 3.0

“The Derby tool, developed by GAEL Consultant, is a data browser capable of exploring product types from the GMES Contributing Missions (GCM) in their native formats. Derby could be compared to most file managers made available with your operating systems, however it is not limited to the display of text files: more than most modern file managers, it allows browsing “on the fly” of the content of compressed files and of many other file types such as XML, HDF, NetCDF, ENVISAT, ERS, Radarsat 2, RapideEye, etc.”

SMOS Data Viewer

“The SMOS Data Viewer (SDV) installation kit and user manual.”


“CryoView is a tool capable of opening and decoding CryoSat data. It then displays the contents as tables, graphs or as images as appropriate.”

ECMWF BUFR Decoding Tables (Envisat)

“The following tables are provided by the ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts) to be used with the BUFR (Binary Universal Form for the Representation of Meteorological data) decoding software.”


“An updated version of AMORGOS – AMORGOS4.0p1 – has been released.
It is now compatible with all MERIS products versions generated by IPF 5 and 6.”

HDFclean V2

“HDFclean is a program for reprocessing images stored in the HDF file format (Hierarchical Data Format): the intended use is to tidy up images of the Earth captured by the CHRIS hyper-spectral imager onboard the PROBA satellite.”


“EnviEdit is a command-line tool to manipulate envisat product files.”

SciaL1C Command-line Tool

 “The SciaL1C tool is an application provided to the users of SCIAMACHY Level 1b products. This application allows to select specific calibrations to apply to Level 1b data, which are in case of SCIAMACHY defined as not fully calibrated Level 0 channel information in combination with calculated calibration data. The generated Level 1c products are suitable for the user’s particular applications. This new tool is a replacement for the SciaL1C tool provided with EnviView.”

Envisat L2 RA2-MWR Products Read and Write Software

“Here you will find a programs that will enable you to read and write L2 Envisat altimetry products.”

ESOV Software Tools (ESOV NG)

 “ESOV – the Earth Observation Swath and Orbit Visualisation tool – provides users with the means to visualise the instrument swaths of all ESA Earth Observation Satellites and assist in understanding where and when satellite measurements are made and ground contact is possible.”


“EnviView is a free application that allows Envisat data users to open any Envisat data file and examine its contents. It provides simple visualisation capabilities, and allows data to be exported to HDF for use in other software packages.”

CFI Software

 “The CFI software is a collection of multiplatform precompiled C libraries for timing, coordinate conversions, orbit propagation, satellite pointing calculations, and target visibility calculations. This software is made available by the Envisat project to any user involved in the Envisat mission preparation/exploitation.”

LBR Software – OPRHD

“Reading LBR CEOS Exabyte data set file with the output of the CEOS information.”

Decoding ERS FD LBR Data from WMO FM BUFR format

“The ERS-2 Low Bit Rate Fast Delivery products are transmitted over the WMO GTS using a special Buffer format. (UNIX/VMS).”

ATSR Conversion Tables

“Instructions for calibrating the data received from the ATSR instruments.”

Reader for ATSR products

“Readers for ATSR products in SADIST format.”

SAR CEOS Software

“To read and write ERS SAR exabyte product annotations and ERS SAR CD product annotations.2”

SAR Reference Coverage CD Raw Format Converter

“A more powerful version of the “TORAW” program to convert SAR low resolution images from the ERS-1 SAR Reference CD to “Raw” format.”

Flight- & Ground-Time Correlation

“The correlation between the satellite time (SBT) and the corresponding UTC time on the Earth.”

Software Routines

“Software routines written in ANSI C and IDL that can be used to read the L1b and L2 CryoSat products.”

Landsat TM Software

“Reading TM Exabyte product annotations with output to display or file and reading TM CD product annotations.”

 Reader of the CEOS annotations for the JERS1 SAR CEOS tape products

“Reading the CEOS annotations of the JERS1 SAR CEOS tape products (DETEC., RAW, COMPLEX, GEC).”


The complete list can be found at: