Listed below are tools and visualization aids you can use with MODIS data. NSIDC only supports the tools and aids we created.


NSIDC Data Tutorials

The NSIDC Data Tutorials GitHub repository contains tutorials and code resources provided by the NASA National Snow and Ice Data Center Distributed Active Archive Center (NSIDC DAAC). These tutorials are provided as Python-based Jupyter notebooks that provide guidance on working with various data products, including how to access, subset, transform, and visualize data.

A recording of this tutorial is now available on YouTube. Click here to see the video.

The MODIS Swath-to-Grid Toolbox

The MODIS Swath-to-Grid Toolbox (MS2GT) is a set of software tools that reads HDF-EOS files containing MODIS swath data and produces flat binary files containing gridded data in a variety of map projections. MS2GT can produce a seamless output grid from multiple input files corresponding to successively acquired, 5-minute MODIS scenes.

Hierarchical Data Format - Earth Observing System (HDF-EOS)

Hierarchical Data Format (HDF) is the standard data format for all NASA Earth Observing System (EOS) data products. HDF is a multi-object file format developed by The HDF Group. NSIDC created this site to answer common questions about HDF-EOS and to provide simple methods for working with the HDF-EOS format. Please note that NSIDC does not maintain the HDF Group libraries.

Tools from Other Sources

NSIDC does not support or maintain the tools listed below.


The Application for Extracting and Exploring Analysis Ready Samples (AρρEEARS) offers a simple and efficient way to access and transform MODIS data. AppEEARS enables users to subset geospatial datasets using spatial, temporal, and band/layer parameters. 


The HDFView is a visual tool for browsing and editing the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) HDF4 and HDF5 files. Using HDFView, you can view a file hierarchy in a tree structure, create a new file, add or delete groups and datasets, view and modify the content of a dataset, add, delete, and modify attributes, and replace I/O and GUI components such as table view, image view, and metadata view.

NASA LaRC Satellite Overpass Predictor

This utility helps users obtain an estimate of the next opportunities for Terra or Aqua to image a location on Earth by entering the latitude and longitude for your location. The information returned is based on output from the NASA LaRC Satellite Overpass Predictor, and includes both day and night possibilities.

The MODIS Conversion Toolkit (MCTK)

An ENVI plugin that can ingest, process, and georeference every known MODIS data product using either a graphical widget interface or a batch programmatic interface. This includes MODIS products distributed with EASE-Grid projections.

Visualization Aids

The following links can help you visualize MODIS data.


This application allows you to interactively browse global satellite imagery within hours of it being acquired. You can also save it, share it, and download the underlying data.

NSIDC Data on Google Earth

NSIDC developed a .kml file providing monthly average snow cover, each month for one year. The snow cover data are derived from the MODIS/Terra Snow Cover Monthly L3 Global 0.05Deg CMG (MOD10CM), Version 5 data set. This time series runs from October 2000 to May 2009. Coverage is global.

MODIS Mosaic of Antarctica (MOA)

MOA provides a cloud-free view of the ice sheet, ice shelves, and land surfaces at a grid scale of 125 m and an estimated resolution of 150 m. All land areas south of 60°S that are larger than a few hundred meters are included in the mosaic. Also included are several persistent fast ice areas and grounded icebergs. MOA consists of two MODIS-derived image data sets: a digitally smoothed red-light image, which was compiled using Band 1; and a snow-grain-size image, which was compiled using the normalized difference of calibrated data from Band 1 and Band 2 data.