Rescheduled: Join the upcoming webinar about the recovery of old satellite data

Wednesday, May 18, 2016 1:00:00 PM MDT – 2:00:00 PM MDT

While technology of our satellite systems has greatly improved the quality and range of observations over the past 50 years, it is the legacy of the first global coverage environment satellites launched by NASA in the 1960s that marks the beginning of a unique perspective from space. Mankind first saw Earth from these satellites and there have been significant changes over the last half-century. The recovery of these old data can be something of a treasure hunt since results are not guaranteed, but the data can reveal answers to questions never considered by the original designers. Exploring data not seen in decades is both exciting and challenging. Ultimately, these early satellite data are highly valuable, as they have extended our climate records and provided important context in longer-term climate changes.

Join the webinar to learn how NASA and NSIDC are recovering old data to answer new questions. For information or to register, please see:

New life for old data: Nimbus Data Rescue Project publishes first data set

Back in the 1960s, technology to process massive amounts of data and imagery did not exist. Advancements in technology now allow for the processing of film into a digital format. The Nimbus Data Rescue Project set out on a techno-archeological mission to convert data and images from the NASA Nimbus 1 and 2 satellites that were developed on film into a more manageable digital format. These data extend the satellite record back in time providing the earliest satellite data of polar sea ice extent.

The Nimbus Advanced Vidicon Camera System Visible Imagery L1, HDF5 (NmAVCS1H) is the first data set publicly available from the Nimbus Data Rescue Project. NmAVCS1H consists of black-and-white Advanced Vidicon Camera System (AVCS) images that were acquired by the Nimbus 1 satellite during September 1964 and by Nimbus 2 from May to August 1966. NSIDC researchers and staff scanned the images from archival rolls of 35-mm, black-and-white film. Each HDF5-formatted data file contains an array of 8-bit grayscale values, estimates of the latitude and longitude for each pixel, a grayscale calibration map, and a non-data/data quality mask. Browse images are also available.

For a detailed description of the data see the NmAVCS1H documentation.

To obtain the NmAVCS1H data see the Order Data Web page.

The Nimbus Data Rescue Project was a collaboration between the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) at NASA Ames Research Park, and NSIDC. For more of the project’s history and development see our Monthly Highlights: Glimpses of Sea Ice Past article and the Nimbus Data Rescue Project Web page.