Content Standard for Remote Sensing Swath Data

Document number


Maintenance authority



The primary objective of this standard is to define the minimum content for remote sensing swath data (hereinafter called the swath data model).  This content standard will provide a solid basis for developing interoperable data formats for remote sensing swath data.

The standard has the following goals:

  1. To provide a common conceptual framework for encoding swath and swath-like data,
  2. To encourage interuse of swath and swath-like data through implementation of transfer standards within the conceptual framework,
  3. To involve non-federal organizations in the development of this standard, thereby encouraging broad applications.


The standard defines the minimal content requirements for a remote sensing swath and the relationships among its individual components.  It also discusses the treatment of optional supporting information within the swath model.  In the classification system of the Federal Geographic Data Committee Standards Reference Model (FGDC 1997), this standard is a Data Content Standard.  Data content standards provide semantic definitions of a set of objects and of the relationships among them.  This standard defines a concept called a swath that provides a means for associating certain kinds of remote sensing data with their geolocation.  To that end, it defines those items of information content that are necessary for the realization of the swath concept.  As a content standard, the Content Standard for Remote Sensing Swath Data does not specify encoding.  Encoding may be specified at some future time by a separate standard or standards.

The standard specifies only the information that varies with time or from pixel to pixel.    Information that is constant for all data points, such as the axes about which platform roll, pitch, and yaw are measured or the orientation of individual instruments relative to the platform, would be specified elsewhere, for example, in a content standard for remote sensing metadata.

Sponsored by

FGDC Standards Working Group

Project history


Proposal   1997-09-23  FGDC Standards Working Group 
Working Draft  2 1998-12-03  FGDC Standards Working Group
Final Draft    1999-08  FGDC Steering Committee 
FGDC-endorsed standard    1999-08