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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


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Current Version

STARFM, Version 1.1.2


Landsat data provide sufficient spatial details for monitoring land surface and changes. However, the 16-day revisit cycle has limited its use for studying global biophysical processes, which evolve rapidly during the growing season. In cloudy areas of the Earth the problem is compounded, and researchers are fortunate to get 2 to 3 clear images per year. Meanwhile, MODIS sensors aboard the NASA EOS Terra and Aqua satellites provide daily global observations valuable for capturing rapid surface changes. However, the spatial resolution of 250m to 1000m may not good enough for heterogeneous areas. To better utilize Landsat and MODIS data, one solution is to combine the spatial resolution of Landsat with the temporal frequency of MODIS.
To combine Landsat and MODIS data, a Spatial and Temporal Adaptive Reflectance Fusion Model (STARFM) was developed that fuses high spatial resolution data from Landsat with high temporal resolution data from MODIS (Gao et al., 2006). This approach provides a feasible and economic solution for integrating remote sensing data from different satellite sources for land surface monitoring.

The STARFM algorithm uses comparisons of one or more pairs of observed Landsat/MODIS maps, collected on the same day, to predict maps at Landsat-scale on other MODIS observation dates. STARFM was initially developed at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Further improvement and continuous maintenance are now being undertaken in the USDA-ARS Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory (HRSL), Beltsville, MD by Dr. Feng Gao.

Gao, F., Masek, J., Schwaller M., and Hall, F., (2006). On the Blending of the Landsat and MODIS Surface Reflectance: Predict Daily Landsat Surface Reflectance, IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Vol. 44, No. 8, pp. 2207-2218.

Unconditional Release

The package is now being released at no cost to the public for further development. ARS is releasing the STARFM so that interested parties can use the software tool for their own needs and purposes. ARS does not foresee providing monetary or technical support to refine, adapt, or use this software tool, and provides no warranty for its use for any purpose. ARS does not reserve any rights or interests in the work that may be performed by others to refine or adapt it. ARS does reserve the right to continue its own refinement of the current version of the software package at a later date, should program needs require it.

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Last Modified: 11/26/2015
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