PROBA-V Level-3 TOC Data

PROBA-V Collection 2 Level-3 data are global composites on daily / five-daily or ten-daily basis. The aim is to optimally combine multiple observations into a single and cloud-free synthesis image. Level-2A data are first atmospherically corrected and these are the basis for the TOC synthesis products. The PROBA-V L3 products are available in 3 resolutions 1km, 300m and 100m.

Level-3 Data access

Level-3 algorithm and data compositing

Atmospheric correction 

TOC directional reflectance estimates are obtained by applying the Simplified Method for Atmospheric Correction (SMAC, Rahman and Dedieu, 1994). The atmospheric correction is performed for each band separately and auxiliary data are used to compute the total gaseous transmission, the atmospheric path radiance, the atmospheric spherical albedo and the total downward and upward scattering transmissions. Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2) data are used as input for atmospheric correction.  


The compositing into synthesis images is performed by the Level 3 Processor. The aim is to optimally combine multiple observations into a single and cloud-free synthesis image. Atmospherically corrected (Level 2B) data are the basis for the TOC synthesis products. Cloud coverage is minimized through discarding pixels that were labelled as cloudy by the cloud detection algorithm. In addition, angular variations are minimized, while global coverage is maximized. The S10 compositing is applied to avoid spatial coverage gaps resulting from clouds and the non-global daily swath coverage in the tropical areas. Atmospherically corrected segment files are combined into a global Level-3 synthesis through application of a Maximum Value Composite (MVC) technique (see among others Holben, 1986 and Tarpley et al., 1984). This technique selects the maximum TOA NDVI (which is additionally calculated within the compositing algorithm) pixel values. The following TOC synthesis products are generated:

  • S1 (1-day syntheses)
  • S10 (10-day or dekad syntheses): with starting days at the 1st, 11th, or 21st day of a month. For months having 28, 29 or 31 days the S10 of the third dekad comprises the remaining days of that month.
  • For the 100 m product, also S5 data files are available. PROBA-V 100 m S5 products are comparable with full-coverage 300 m S1 products and are not real syntheses. Due to the narrow swath of the 100 m camera, there is only overlap in observations for latitudes > ~40° . This means that only poleward of this latitude compositing rules can be applied and that within ~40° S – 40° N the reflectances observed at one of the five days are given.

The layers include: 

  • TOC reflectance for bands Blue, Red, NIR and SWIR 


  • Angular information: solar and viewing zenith and azimuth angles 

  • Status map information 

  • TIME grid 

The TIME grid dataset in the S5 and S10 files provides per pixel information at which day the observations over specific regions was taken. This information is provided in minutes since the start of the synthesis period (day 1, 00:00 UTC). Check the Products User Manual more detailed information.

Level-3 Quality assurance

In the Level 3 S1, S5, and S10 product files, the quality indicator is located in the SM (Status Map) Dataset within the QUALITY Group. The SM Dataset contains a quality state indicator per pixel, consisting of an observation indicator (clear, cloud, ice, shadow, undefined), a land/sea flag, and a radiometric quality indicator. Check the Products User Manual for a list of the various quality bit values and how to read them. The Status Map information can be easily read in most programming languages.

A Quality Webpage is available and provides information on the Quality Assessment and the various methods applied to maintain PROBA-V’s data quality at the highest possible level, from the raw satellite observations through the value-added products available at the PROBA-V Data Portal.

Dataset specifications

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
European Space Agency, 2023, PROBA-V Level-3 TOC reflectance Data (S1, S5, S10) Collection 2,

Spatial coverage: 75°N, 56°S, 180°W, 180°E 
Temporal coverage:  

  • 2013-10-16 – 2020-06-30 (for 1 km and 300 m)  

  • 2014-03-12 – 2020-06-30 (for 100 m) 

Mission status: Complete 
Orbit type: Sun-synchronous 
Data Citation:
European Space Agency, 2023, PROBA-V Level-3 TOC reflectance Data (S1, S5, S10) 

Our Applications and Help

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For years, global food security has been at the forefront as one of the most pressing development targets. According to the FAO, food production around the world has to grow by more than 70% if we want to achieve food for all in 2050. Both public and private organizations bear a huge responsibility to raise food production in a sustainable way. Remote Sensing and especially satellite missions delivering daily global observations, like PROBA-V, are crucial to monitor the status of crops worldwide and predict yields.

Land Use / Land Cover

Land is an essential natural resource - for humanity and all terrestrial ecosystems. But while resources are strictly finite, human demands are not. Today, this leads to events such as deforestation, soil degradation and the loss of wildlife. PROBA-V, the small satellite for global observations, helps monitor and map the extent and dynamics of land cover and land use.


Global daily satellite observations are indispensable to monitor the driving forces of climate change, arguably the largest and most challenging problem our society is facing. Additionally, remote sensing serves to monitor the effects of climate change, e.g. changes in land cover and land use. Hereto PROBA-V satellite imagery with low spatial resolution but delivering daily global coverage is invaluable.


Although PROBA-V is designed as a land mission, the good image quality provides opportunities to extend its applications to coastal waters.  By applying a dedicated atmospheric correction above water  we can derive information on the turbidity of the water and the suspended sediment concentration. Combining these turbidity and suspended sediment products from PROBA-V with products from other typical Ocean Colour sensors allows for better monitoring of turbidity in dynamic near shore areas and it increases the chance to detect short term events in particular for areas with rapid changing cloud cover.

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Collection 2 Products User Manual

Deprecated Collection 1 Products User Manual

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the SNAP PROBA-V Toolbox

consists of a rich set of visualisation, analysis and processing tools for the exploitation of the VEGETATION instrument. As a multi-mission remote sensing toolbox, it also supports the Sentinel missions, Envisat (MERIS & AATSR), ERS (ATSR), SMOS as well as third party data from MODIS (Aqua and Terra), Landsat (TM), ALOS (AVNIR & PRISM) and others. The various tools can be run from an intuitive desktop application or via a command-line interface. A rich application programming interface allows for development of plugins using Java or Python.