In-flight CCD distortion calibration for pushbroom satellites based on subpixel correlation

Sébastien Leprince, Pablo Musé, Jean Philippe Avouac

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


We describe a method that allows for accurate in-flight calibration of the interior orientation of any pushbroom camera and that in particular solves the problem of modeling the distortions induced by charge coupled device (CCD) misalignments. The distortion induced on the ground by each CCD is measured using subpixel correlation between the orthorectifled image to be calibrated and an orthorectifled reference image that is assumed distortion free. Distortions are modeled as camera defects, which are assumed constant over time. Our results show that in-flight interior orientation calibration reduces internal camera biases by one order of magnitude. In particular, we fully characterize and model the Satellite Pour l'Observation de la Terre (SPOT) 4-HRV1 sensor, and we conjecture that distortions mostly result from the mechanical strain produced when the satellite was launched rather than from effects of on-orbit thermal variations or aging. The derived calibration models have been integrated to the software package Coregistration of Optically Sensed Images and Correlation (COSI-Corr), freely available from the Caltech Tectonics Observatory website. Such calibration models are particularly useful in reducing biases in digital elevation models (DEMs) generated from stereo matching and in improving the accuracy of change detection algorithms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4579246
Pages (from-to)2675-2683
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Sept 2008


  • Change detection
  • Charge coupled device (CCD) distortions
  • Ground deformations
  • Interior orientation
  • Orthorectification
  • Pushbroom camera calibration
  • Satellite Pour l'Observation de la Terre (SPOT)
  • Subpixel correlation


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