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Data Set ID: 

ABoVE LVIS L1A Geotagged Images, Version 1

This data set contains geotagged images collected over Alaska and Western Canada. The images were taken by the NASA Digital Mapping Camera, paired with the Land, Vegetation, and Ice Sensor (LVIS), an airborne lidar scanning laser altimeter. The data were collected as part of NASA's Terrestrial Ecology Program campaign, the Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE).

This is the most recent version of these data.

Version Summary: 

Initial release

STANDARD Level of Service

Data: Data integrity and usability verified

Documentation: Key metadata and user guide available

User Support: Assistance with data access and usage; guidance on use of data in tools

See All Level of Service Details

Data Format(s):
  • JPEG
Spatial Coverage:
N: 72, 
S: 48, 
E: -104, 
W: -158
Platform(s):B-200, C-130, DC-8, G-V, HU-25C, P-3B, RQ-4
Spatial Resolution:
  • Varies x Varies
Temporal Coverage:
  • 29 June 2017 to 17 July 2017
Temporal ResolutionVariesMetadata XML:View Metadata Record
Data Contributor(s):J. Blair, Michelle Hofton

Geographic Coverage

Other Access Options

Other Access Options


As a condition of using these data, you must cite the use of this data set using the following citation. For more information, see our Use and Copyright Web page.

Blair, J. B. and M. Hofton. 2020. ABoVE LVIS L1A Geotagged Images, Version 1. [Indicate subset used]. Boulder, Colorado USA. NASA National Snow and Ice Data Center Distributed Active Archive Center. doi: https://doi.org/10.5067/4O5WY1ORYWK2. [Date Accessed].
5 December 2019
Last modified: 
23 January 2020

Data Description

The images in this Level-1A product were collected by the NASA Digital Mapping Camera, which was mounted alongside the Land, Vegetation, and Ice Sensor (LVIS), as part of the Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE). ABoVE is a NASA Terrestrial Ecology Program field campaign conducted in Alaska and Western Canada. The ABoVE data are used to study environmental change and its implications for social-ecological systems. Related data sets include ABoVE LVIS L1B Geolocated Return Energy Waveforms, which contains the geolocated laser waveform data for each laser footprint collected by the LVIS instrumentation, and ABoVE LVIS Level-2 Geolocated Surface Elevation Product, which contains canopy top elevations, ground elevations, and relative heights derived from the Level-1B data.


The data files include images of various terrains, such as tundra, forests, permafrost, and lakes.

File Information


The data files are provided in JPG (.JPG) format. Each data file is paired with an associated XML file (.xml), which contains additional metadata.

File Contents

Figure 1 shows an example image from the file ABOLVIS1A_ABoVE2017_0706_R1802_060896.JPG.

Figure 1. Image of forested and cultivated terrain, taken on 06 July 2017.

Naming Convention

Example file names:


The files are named according to the following convention, which is described in more detail in Table 1.


Table 1. File Naming Convention
Variable Description
ABoVEYYYY Campaign identifier: ABoVE = acronym for Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment; YYYY= four-digit year of campaign
MMDD Two-digit month, two-digit day of start of data collection
RYYMM Date (two-digit year, two-digit month) of data release
nnnnnn Number of seconds since UTC midnight of the day on which data collection started
ext File type: .JPG (JPG data file) or .JPG.xml (XML metadata file)

Spatial Information


Coverage for the ABoVE LVIS campaigns includes areas in Alaska and Western Canada, as noted by the spatial extents below:

Southernmost latitude: 48° N
Northernmost latitude: 72° N
Westernmost longitude: 158° W
Easternmost longitude: 104° W


Spatial resolution varies with aircraft altitude. The nominal spatial resolution is 3.1 km by 2.0 km (0.35 m per pixel) at a nominal flight altitude of 27,000 ft.

Coordinate System

International Terrestrial Reference Frame 2008 (ITRF08), WGS-84 ellipsoid

Temporal Information


29 June 2017 to 17 July 2017


The ABoVE Alaska and Canada campaigns were conducted on 12 days between 29 June and 17 July 2017. Table 2 lists all the flight dates and general locations of the data flights for those days. For more detailed information, visit the NASA LVIS-ABoVE campaign website.

Table 2. Flight Dates and Locations
Date Location
29 Jun 2017 Saskatoon to Yellowknife
29 Jun 2017 Slave Lake
30 Jun 2017 Yellowknife to Inuvik
30 Jun 2017 Inuvik to Yellowknife
01 Jul 2017 Daring Lake
02 Jul 2017 W and SW Slave Lake
03 Jul 2017 Yellowknife to Whitehorse
03 Jul 2017 Whitehorse to Fairbanks
06 Jul 2017 Kluane
07 Jul 2017 Healy
09 Jul 2017 Fairbanks to Barrow
14 Jul 2017 Fairbanks to Deadhorse via Toolik Lake
14 Jul 2017 Deadhorse to Fairbanks via Fort Yukon
15 Jul 2017 Fort Yukon
16 Jul 2017 Fairbanks to Ketchikan
16 Jul 2017 Ketchikan to Glasgow
17 Jul 2017 Boreal Ecosystem Research and Monitoring Sites (BERMS) Flight

Data Acquisition and Processing


The images provided in this data set were taken with a downward-facing (nadir) Canon EOS 5DS R camera with an image resolution of 50.3 Megapixels (8896 px by 5920 px). The lens model is a Carl Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 100mm f/2 ZE. Frame overlap is approximately 75%.

Acquisition and Processing

Imagery is stored via Ethernet on a supporting computer running the EOS camera utility software to monitor and control image exposure. Frame capture is controlled using an external intervalometer. The intervalometer provides a Transistor-Transistor-Logic (TTL) pulse to the navigation system, which enables precise timing, positioning, and attitude for each image capture.

Images are acquired at 5-second intervals. The image name contains the acquisition time in number of seconds since UTC midnight of the day on which data collection started. Each image is tagged with data regarding the precise time of the acquisition, as well as position and orientation of the camera at time of acquisition; this includes latitude, longitude, altitude, roll, pitch, and yaw.

Quality, Errors, and Limitations

Currently, there are no known errors or limitations in this data set.

Software and Tools

The data files can be viewed using any software that recognizes the JPG format. Frame ID markers (requires Google Earth to view KMZ files) are available at the NASA LVIS-ABoVE campaign website.

Related Data Sets

ABoVE LVIS L0 Raw Ranges
ABoVE LVIS L1B Geolocated Return Energy Waveforms
ABoVE LVIS L2 Geolocated Surface Elevation Product

Related Websites

LVIS data product website at NSIDC
LVIS website at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
ABoVE website at NASA

Contacts and Acknowledgments

Bryan Blair
Geodesy and Geophysics Laboratory, Code 61A
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771

Michelle Hofton
Department of Geographical Sciences
2181 LeFrak Hall
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742


This work was supported through funding from Hank Margolis (NASA - SMD - ESD Terrestrial Ecology).


Miller, C. E., Griffith, P. C., Goetz, S. J., Hoy, E. E., Pinto, N., McCubbin, I. B., … Margolis, H. A. (2019). An overview of ABoVE airborne campaign data acquisitions and science opportunities. Environmental Research Letters, 14(8), 80201. https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/ab0d44

No technical references available for this data set.

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