German Remote Sensing Data Center, Deutsches Fernerkundungsdatenzentrum (DFD),German Aerospace Center, Germany

Data Center Description
1. Overview
The German Remote Sensing Data Center, Deutsches
Fernerkundungsdatenzentrum (DFD), is a division of Germany's Aerospace
Research Establishment (Deutsche Forschungsanstalt fuer Luft- und
Raumfahrt, DLR). It is part of the DLR Ober- pfaffenhofen research
center near Munich. In addition there is a DFD subsidiary in
Neustrelitz, about 100 km north of Berlin. Both sites serve as a
national infrastructure to support customers (data providers and users
of data products) by receiving, processing, validating and analyzing
satellite remote sensing data and satellite navigation data. Further
topics are to promote use of these data and to help customers to set
up services.
2. Data Center Contact
The official contact to the German Remote Sensing Data center is:
Deutsches Fernerkundungsdatenzentrum (DFD)
Postfach 1116
82230 Wessling
Tel. +49-8153-28-2650
Fax. +49-8153-28-1137
An alternate postal address may be used for courier service:
Muenchner Str. 20
82230 Wessling
3. Major Tasks and Activities
DFD provides data and services to national and international
customers, to service providers as well as end users. The major tasks
- development, operation, and management of a payload data ground
segment, consisting of several ground stations for the acquisition of
Earth observation data, various processors and processing facilities
for the generation of high- quality standard data products, and of
data and information management systems for the archival and retrieval
of all acquired data and derived products, for product formatting and
distribution, and for interactive online user services. As an example
is cited below the German Processing and Archiving Faility (D-PAF) for
ERS-1/2, working on behalf of ESA.
- development and operation of ground reference stations for satellite
supported navigation and tracking services.
- development and utilization of new algorithms for the generation and
validation of high-level data products to be used in pilot projects,
for the development of new applications, and for training and
education purpose.
- provision of system engineering support and project management
services for the development of complex data systems in context of
large projects. To a certain extent the system engineering services
include also the development, test, and integration of on-board and
ground-support equipment for spaceborne sensor components.
4. Technical Infrastructure
The technical infrastructure, used to perform the above services,
comprises a complex ground segment network consisting of several
ground stations, of various dedicated processing systems operating in
a distributed computing environment, and of multimission information
and data management systems.
4.1 DFD Ground Stations
4.1.1 Data Acquisition Facilities in Oberpfaffenhofen
The DLR research center in Oberpfaffenhofen is located in Bavaria,
about 25 km west of Munich (48.09_N, 11.28_E, 582m above sea
level). The following DFD ground stations are operated on a routine
- L-Band station, acquiring up to six passes per day of NOAA-HRPT
(AVHRR and TOVS) data. The station is part of the European TIROS
network, coordinated by ESRIN. It is operational since 1982 and will
also be used to acquire the SeaWiFS data of SeaStar.
- Primary Data User Station (PDUS), providing real-time access to
METEOSAT data. PDUS raw data as well as value-added products are made
available in coordination with EUMETSAT and the German Weather Service
- BDDN data acquisition facility, performing the reception of ERS-2
GOME data.
- PRARE Dumping Station, acquiring all tracking data from the ERS-2
onboard storage facility, collected from the PRARE station network -
this for further processing to be done at the D-PAF.
4.1.2 Data Acquisition Facilities in Neustrelitz
Neustrelitz is located in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, about 100 km north
of Berlin (13.680 E, 53.366 N, 76 m above sea level). It
operates the following facilities:
- X-Band station, being with a 7.2 m autotrack antenna the main ground
station in Neustrelitz. It was implemented to receive and record data
from the German MOMS-2P and MOS instruments on the PRIRODA module of
the Russian MIR station, as well as from the German MOS sensor on the
IRS-P3 spacecraft. The station can also be used to support the Russian
RESURS and OKEAN missions. It has been up- graded to acquire ERS SAR
data in support of national science requirements. In view of
additional requirements and the required high availability and reli-
ability of the station in support of commercial customers
(e.g. IRS-1B/1C data for Euromap), the implementation of a second
X-band station has been started. It will be available mid 1997.
- S-Band station, performing the reception of NOAA- and METEOSAT data
in support of special projects, and serving as back up for similar
facilities in Oberpfaffenhofen.
- reference station, being operated for the experimental use of the
American and Russian satellite navigation systems GPS and GLONASS to
support DLR research tasks.
- UHF/VHF receiving capabilities for APEX and CORONAS.
4.1.3 German Antarctic Receiving Station
The German Antarctic Receiving Station (GARS, at 63.32_S, 57.90_W, 15
m above sea level) is a permanent installation, located at the
northern part of the Antarctic peninsula in the direct vicinity of the
Chilean base O'Higgins (named after General Bernardo O'Higgins). The
station is designed for both data reception from remote sensing
satellites in X-Band and S-Band, and for Very Long Baseline
Interferometry (VLBI). O'Higgins is accessible throughout the year;
GARS is presently operated in three to four data acquisition campaigns
per year with durations of four to eight weeks each.
Since October 1991 the station has been receiving ERS-1 SAR data in
support of national and international scientific research programmes,
carried out on the Antarctic peninsula with its ice shelves and in its
surrounding water bodies. A limited number of NOAA-AVHRR passes were
also recorded, and selected passes of JERS-1 SAR data have been
4.1.4 Transportable Receiving Station
The German Transportable Receiving Station (TRS) was designed for
installation at sites where data acquisition of satellite remote
sensing data is not yet possible, where multimission capacity is not
sufficient, or where exceptional events such as natural disasters
require rapid availability of Earth observation data.
The technical design therefore concentrated on a transportable station
with the smallest possible antenna diameter (8m), still providing the
required performan- ce for S-Band and X-Band reception of high-rate
sensor data from satellites such as ERS and JERS.
The station was deployed at the equatorial ESA site in Gabon,
Africa. It is presently being operated on a campaign basis for the
acquisition of ERS SAR data in support of the TREES project of JRC.
4.1.5 Mobile Receiving Station
A mobile X-Band receiving station for ERS SAR data acquisition has
been jointly procured together with the GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam
(GFZ), Potsdam. With an antenna of 4.0 m diameter it will have a
slightly reduced visibility circle. The station is presently in a
commissioning phase for data acquisition at Cordoba, Argentina
(Jan. 1997). There are plans to procure a further station of same
type. A candidate site for deployment is Kitab in Usbekistan.
4.2 Processing Facilities
The German Processing and Archiving Facility (D-PAF) for ERS is the
largest in- tegrated processing facility of DFD. It is part of the ESA
ground segment for the off-line processing and archiving of ERS- 1/2
sensor data. The facility was implemented in cooperation with GFZ
staff at DFD in Oberpfaffenhofen. It is jointly operated under
contract to the European Space Agency since the launch of ERS-1 in
July 1991. D-PAF is composed of the following major processing
- SAR Data Processing Facility, consisting of the Multisensor SAR
Processor (MSAR) and the Geocoding System (GEOS), both to generate
high-level standard products for ERS-1 and ERS-2 SAR data as well as
for JERS-1 SAR data.
- Radar Altimeter and Tracking Data Processing Facility, consisting of
the PRARE System (PRS), the Tracking Data and Orbit Processing System
(TOS), and the Altimeter Data Processing System (ADP) to
systematically generate Precise Orbits, to improve the ERS gravity
field models and to support the generation of geophysical products
such as Sea Surface Height and Topography from the global RA coverage.
- GOME (Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment) Data Processor GDP, being
used to systematically process all data from the GOME sensor to
product levels 1.5 and 2.
- Data Management System (DMS), used to centrally initialize product
generation, to control and monitor the above production facilities,
and to catalogue all generated products which finally are all stored
in the DFD archive. On request, DMS initiates that products are copied
to different media for subsequent distribution to users.
Through DFD's cooperation with GFZ, the D-PAF also coordinates the
international Laser Tracking Network.
In context of the X-SAR project, jointly performed by DARA/DLR/ASI,
the X-SAR Processing System (XPS) was developed to ingest raw X-SAR
data from HDDTs and to generate standard products such as `Single Look
Complex Images' and `Precision Images' from which higher level
products are derived. The XPS is an integral part of the D-PAF SAR
Data Processing Facility.
In Neustrelitz the processing and archiving facility is co-located
with the acquisition facilities. It consists of the following
processing systems:
- MOMS-02 processing system, used to generate system-corrected
products from all MOMS-02 data recorded during Shuttle flight STS-55
in 1993.
- two MOS data processors, used to generate radiometrically corrected
and cali- brated products from the MOS instruments onboard of the
PRIRODA module, as well as from MOS on IRS-P3 acquired in 1996.
- processing facility, used to generate system-corrected MOMS-2P
products from the raw data acquired with the X-Band station in 1996.
- data base management system, used to catalogue the metadata of all
products generated with the above processing systems and to ingest
this information into the ISIS inventory (see below).
In addition a variety of value added products are generated at DFD
(Oberpfaffenhofen) with the following systems:
- NOAA processing chain, used to generate in addition to various
standard products also products such as SST, NDVI and geocoded data
- several systems for image processing, data visualization, and for
the generation of special products such as maps, mosaics,
multitemporal and multisensoral thematic products.
- a processor to derive different GOME level 3 data products to
observe global distribution of atmospheric Ozone.
Some of these systems are operated in near real time, others off-line,
but most are used on a systematic basis.
4.3 Data Archive, Distribution, and Information Systems
While the processing systems are more or less mission dependent, the
data archive, distribution, and information systems are central
facilities that support all projects and missions. These central
facilities comprise:
- several off-line archives for HDDTs, CCTs, EXCs, and optical disks,
as well as online archives on disks and jukeboxes, and the new robotic
tape libraries in Oberpfaffenhofen and Neustrelitz (being
interlinked), into which all DFD data holdings will finally be
- Intelligent Satellite data Information System (ISIS), combining the
basic inventory function of all DFD data holdings and the interactive
graphical user interface based on a server/client architecture. ISIS
allows users to perform inventory searches via electronic links, to
browse through reduced-resolution images, to access selected products,
and to accept orders for offline delivery of products. ISIS supports
also interconnection to worldwide-available `directory information'
which is offered by a `cooperating node' of the CEOS International
Directory Network (IDN). This network is based on NASA's Global Change
Master Directory (GCMD). IDN provides guide information like detailed
descriptions of sensors, data sets, and data products.
- Product Generation System (PGS), used to access and reformat the
archived digital data for delivery to users via FTP, on digital media
(CCT, EXC, CD-R, etc.), or for recording on film and subsequent
photographic processing.
- Photolaboratory (PL), being equipped with devices for processing,
copying, and enlarging imagery to generate high quality photographic
products on film and paper in black and white, as well as in color.
- several FTP-servers, used to electronically distribute low to medium
volume products such as SSTs, precise ERS orbit data, low resolution
SAR images, etc.
These systems are under redesign (1996/97) and will be replaced by the
Data and Information Management System (DIMS) which will offer an
enhanced functionality as a single integrated system (planned to be
operational for 1997/98).
4.5 User Services
DFD user services are offered by means of electronic information
systems and by a Help Desk function as well. To receive up-to-date
general information it is strongly recommended to access the
WWW-service first.
4.5.1 WWW - Service
The WWW-service offers information about the DFD in terms of major
tasks, technical infrastructure, services, contacts, data holdings,
and product ordering. The DFD homepage can be accessed with any
Web-Browser navigating to:
4.5.2 ISIS
The Intelligent Satellite data Information System (ISIS) is DFD's
central information system. It should be the first choice for queries
if the interest is in DFD data holdings and products in terms of
availability, quality, prices and ordering information. The system
also supports access to browse products, it provides
thesaurus-assisted searches and general textual information in an
`info board'.
ISIS has been developed as a client/server configuration. It supports
an ASCII terminal version as well as a comfortable graphical interface
for users. The client software is available free of charge via an
FTP-server. Detailed and up-to-date information on how to access ISIS
and how to get the client software can be found on the Web-Server,
navigating to:
4.5.3 Help Desk
If no systems are available at the customer's site that allow access
to the WWW-service and/or to ISIS, or if these services do not provide
the desired information, then customers are requested and welcome to
contact the Help Desk.
DLR/DFD - Help Desk
Postfach 1116
82230 Wessling
Tel: +49-8153-28-2802
Fax: +48-8153-28-1343
Additional help-desk information, especially on further technical
contacts in different areas of expertise are also provided via the
WWW-service under the term `Help Desk'.
4.6 Archived Data Sets and Products
With fall of 1996 the DFD archive contains the following data sets,
comprising sets of raw data as well as products at various processing
1) Spacelab Metric Camera
All black and white and color images taken with the Metric Camera
during its flight on the first Spacelab Mission (November/December
2) Spacelab MOMS-01
All data of the two Shuttle/Spacelab Missions in June 1983 and
February 1984.
Some selected LANDSAT-1/2/3 MSS data from 1977 to 1988 and LANDSAT-4/5
data from 1982 to 1990, primarily relating to the ground coverage of
4) SPOT-1 HRV - XS and - P
Some selected data and products from February 1986 to February 1990
primarily relating to the ground coverage of Germany.
5) NOAA Data and Products
The complete set of NOAA data archived comprises the HRPT data which
were ac- quired systematically (4 to 6 passes per day) from the series
of NOAA's TIROS satellites since 1982 and various value added
products, such as SST and NDVI since 1993 and 1994. Selected passes
acquired with the German Antarctic station (GARS) are also
available. Browse products are available from ISIS.
Selected sets of raw data and SAR images from over Europe (processed
by DFD on behalf of ESA). Data were acquired at the Oakhanger station
(UK) during the three months satellite lifetime in 1978. Browse
products are available from ISIS.
7) ERS SAR Data and Products
SAR data and products from ERS-1 since July 1991 and from ERS-2 since
April 1995 acquired at ESA ground stations in Europe (Kiruna, Fucino,
Maspalomas), from GARS, from the German Transportable Station (TRS)
and selected passes from several other stations worldwide. Browse
products are available from ISIS.
8) ERS Radar Altimeter Products
Quick Look Products as well as the complete set of various geophysical
products from both missions, such as Sea Surface Height and
Topography, and Ocean Geoid.
9) ERS Orbit Products
These products comprise the complete set of highly precise orbit data
for both ERS spacecrafts as calculated by GFZ/D-PAF from laser
tracking data as well as from PRARE data (ERS-2 only). In addition,
Earth gravity models are derived from these data.
10) ERS-2 GOME Data Products
The GOME data set comprises all GOME instrument data that have been
acquired after the launch of ERS-2 in April 1995, as well as all
derived level 1.5 and level 2 data products. Data products have been
available since completion of the extended instrument commissioning
phase in August 1996. In addition various level 3 products are being
regularly produced by DFD. Browse products are available from ISIS.
11) JERS-1 SAR
SAR data from JERS-1 since February 1992, acquired at NASDA, ESA
ground stations and German Antarctic ground station GARS. Only a few
processed data sets are available in the DFD archive.
12) Shuttle Radarlab X-SAR
All X-SAR data, raw data as well as various products at different
processing levels from the two Shuttle Radarlab missions on STS-59
from April 9-20, 1994 and on STS-68 from September 30 to October 11,
1994. Browse products are available from ISIS.
13) Spacelab D2 MOMS-02
All data of the instrument from Shuttle flight STS-55, in April/May
1993. Browse products are available from ISIS.
14) Auxiliary Data
Some of these auxiliary data are needed for product generation, such
as predicted ERS orbit data, digital elevation models, etc.. These
data are kept in the DFD archive, but are available only with special
15) Special Products
A number of special products - mostly value added - are available,
such as e.g. radar maps from Germany and from the Antarctic peninsula
derived from geocoded terrain corrected products, etc.. Browse
products are available from ISIS.
16) Future Products
Further products are planned for the near future. These comprise MOS
on PRIRODA and IRS platforms, MOMS on PRIRODA as well as various
atmospheric data.
Not all of the above data sets can be ordered directly at DFD. The
following restrictions apply:
- all ERS and JERS data products can only be ordered from the
commercial distributors (like Eurimage) and from ESA/ESRIN (Principal
Investigators only).
- all basic LANDSAT and SPOT data products are for DLR internal use
only, but higher level products can be ordered at DFD.
However, all browse images derived with reduced resolution from the
digital image products can be accessed and displayed with ISIS clients
(a Web version is being implemented).
Altogether, about 70 different data products are archived.
For more updated information please access DFD's homepage on Web with
This information has been compiled by H. Schroeter DLR/DFD (Jan 1997).
email address: