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Brockmann Consult as part of The BEAM Project

BEAM is an open-source toolbox and development platform for viewing, analysing and processing of remote sensing raster data.

(June 2009) The BEAM development team proudly presents
1. the new BEAM 4.6 release,
2. the redesigned BEAM website including
3. a new BEAM user forum!
BEAM 4.6 comes with some interesting new features, namely the new layer and session management. With the new forum we hope to establish an vivid community where BEAM users ask questions, provide solutions and share their knowledge.
The forum is moderated by the BEAM development team and our experts wont let any problem unacknowledged.


Originally developed to facilitate the utilisation of image data from Envisat’s optical instruments, BEAM now supports a growing number of other raster data formats such as GeoTIFF and NetCDF as well as data formats of other EO sensors such as MODIS, AVHRR, AVNIR, PRISM and CHRIS/Proba. Various data and algorithms are supported by dedicated extension plug-ins.

Software Components

  • VISAT – An intuitive desktop application to be used for visualization, analyzing and processing of remote sensing raster data. To get an impression of how VISAT looks and feels like, please take a look at the related screenshots page.
  • A set of scientific tools running either from the command line or invoked by VISAT, also entirely written in Java.
  • A rich Java API for the development of new remote sensing applications and BEAM extension plug-ins.

Supported Instruments

This following table lists the data product formats which are supported by BEAM using the reader modules provided in the standard installation. Information about the access to these products is given on the data sources page.

Instrument Platform Formats
MERIS L1b/L2 Envisat Envisat N1
MERIS L3 Envisat NetCDF
AATSR L1b/L2 Envisat Envisat N1
ASAR Envisat Envisat N1
ATSR L1b/L2 ERS Envisat N1, ERS
SAR ERS Envisat N1
MODIS L2 Aqua, Terra HDF4
TM Landsat 5 FAST

Generic EO Data Formats

BEAM supports the following generic raster formats:

Format Support Description
BEAM-DIMAP read + write The standard BEAM I/O format. It comprises an XML header based on the SpotImage/CNES DIMAP schema and ENVI images for the raster data
GeoTIFF read + write A widely used EO data format, e.g. for Quickbird, LANDSAT, SPOT
NetCDF read A widely used EO data format. BEAM supports NetCDF files conforming to the NetCDF CF Metadata Convention
HDF-EOS read BEAM supports the HDF-EOS profile (HDF4) used by NASA Ocean Color data products of SeaWiFS, MODIS, OCTS, CZCS

Feature Highlights

  • Very fast image display and navigation even of giga-pixel images
  • Advanced layer management allows adding and manipulation of new overlays such as images of other bands, images from WMS servers or ESRI shapefiles
  • Rich region-of-interest definitions for statistics and various plots
  • Easy bitmask definition and overlay
  • Flexible band arithmetic using arbitrary mathematical expressions
  • Accurate reprojection and ortho-rectification to common map projections,
  • Geo-coding and rectification using ground control points
  • Store and restore the current session including all opened files, views and layers
  • A standard set of scientific data processors which includes
    -Level 3 Binning and Mosaicing (all sensors)
    -Collocation (all sensors)
    -EM and K-Means Clustering, Linear Spectral Unmixing (all sensors)
    -Radiance-to-Reflectance, Smile Effect Correction, Cloud Probability, SMAC Atmospheric Correction, Case 2 Water Constituents (MERIS)
    -Sea Surface Temperature (AATSR)
    -FLH/MCI, NDVI (all sensors)