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GeoColor Imagery - Basic Information

Quick Guide

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Fig. 1. Example of the GeoColor image product rendered over the continental United States. The product depicts clouds and snow cover (when present) in white, moonlit nighttime terrain in purple, city lights from major metropolitan areas in yellow, and daytime land and shallow-water features in true color. Click on figure for full resolution.

Who is developing and distributing this product?

The Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) in Fort Collins, Colorado, in partnership with the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Monterey, California, is developing and distributing the GeoColor product.

Who is receiving this product, and how?

The GeoColor products are sent to the National Weather Service (NWS) Regional Headquarters from where they are distributed to participating Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs) for display on their local AWIPS systems.

What is the product size?

The size of one CONUS scale image is 22 MB, updates are available every 30 minutes.

Purpose of this product.

The GeoColor satellite imagery product, developed at NRL and first demonstrated on the NexSat web page (, displays standard GOES data in a new way that includes customized day/night backgrounds and makes a seamless transition from daytime (visible) to nighttime (infrared) imagery.

Why is this a GOES-R Proving Ground Product?

GeoColor demonstrates the kind of imagery that will be possible in the GOES-R era. GOES-R will feature the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) sensor which when combined with complementary data from the Visible/Infrared Imager/Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) satellites will be able to produce versions of the colorful imagery shown in GeoColor without the need for some of the special blending techniques used here, and at higher spatial and time resolution.

How is this product created now?

The data are first blended vertically (the dynamic GOES cloud imagery serving as the foreground, overlaid upon the static day/night backgrounds) using scaled and normalized versions of the GOES data to define a transparency factor. More Information...

Product Examples and Interpretation.

Figures 3 and 4 demonstrate the performance of the GeoColor product for daytime and nighttime scenes using imagery from Hurricane Katrina. Click on figure for full resolution. More Information...

Advantages and Limitations.

The GeoColor technique provides a simple yet visually powerful mechanism for transitioning seamlessly between multiple sources of information both in the vertical and horizontal dimensions. Behind the scenes in the GeoColor algorithm itself, tunable scaling factors provide developers the flexibility to adjust the relative strength of transparency in both dimensions (i.e., providing control over the amount of information retained/lost during the blending operation). This technique results in dramatic improvement to the presentation quality of standard visible and infrared satellite imagery. More Information...