System Characterization Report on the Gaofen-1

Open-File Report 2021-1030-B
By: , and 


Executive Summary

This report addresses system characterization of Gaofen-1 and is part of a series of system characterization reports produced and delivered by the U.S. Geological Survey Earth Resources Observation and Science Cal/Val Center of Excellence in 2020. These reports present the detail methodology and procedures for characterization; present technical and operational information about the specific sensing system being evaluated; and provide a summary of test measurements, data retention practices, data analysis results, and conclusions.

Gaofen represents a series of Chinese high-resolution Earth observation satellites. More than 12 satellites have been launched in the Gaofen series, beginning with Gaofen-1 in 2013. Satellites within the series have varying infrared, radar, and optical imaging capabilities. The primary goal for the satellite is to provide near real-time observations for climate change monitoring, geographical mapping, precision agriculture support, environmental and resource surveying, and disaster prevention. More information on Chinese satellites and sensors is available within the “2020 Joint Agency Commercial Imagery Evaluation—Remote Sensing Satellite Compendium” and at

The Earth Resources Observation and Science Cal/Val Center of Excellence System Characterization team completed data analyses to characterize the geometric (interior and exterior), radiometric, and spatial performances. Results of these analyses indicate that Gaofen-1 has an interior geometric performance of −0.48 meter (m) (−0.03 pixel) northing and 0.42 m (0.03 pixel) easting offset for band 1, −0.99 m (−0.06 pixel) northing and −0.38 m (−0.02 pixel) easting offset for band 2, −0.45 m (−0.03) northing and 0.83 m (0.05 pixel) easting offset for band 3, −3.20 m (−0.20 pixel) northing and 1.44 m (0.09 pixel) easting offset for band 4 in band-to-band registration. Similarly, Gaofen-1 has an exterior geometric performance of 7.50 m (0.48 pixel) easting and 109.50 m (7.30 pixels) northing offset in comparison to the Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager; a radiometric performance in the range of −0.014 to 0.149 (absolute reflective difference); and a spatial performance in the range of 1.1 to 2.0 pixels at full width at half maximum, with a modulation transfer function at a Nyquist frequency in the range of 0.040 to 0.250.

Suggested Citation

Shrestha, M., Sampath, A., Ramaseri Chandra, S.N., Christopherson, J.B., Shaw, J., Stensaas, G.L., and Anderson, C., 2021, System characterization report on the Gaofen-1, chap. B of Ramaseri Chandra, S.N., comp., System characterization of Earth observation sensors: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2021–1030, 11 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • System Description
  • Procedures
  • Measurements
  • Analysis
  • Summary and Conclusions
  • Selected References
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title System characterization report on the Gaofen-1
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2021-1030
Chapter B
DOI 10.3133/ofr20211030B
Year Published 2021
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
Description iv, 11 p.
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details