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Working Groups

There are four major working groups defined within SBG to investigate key areas:

  1. Applications
  2. Algorithms
  3. Modeling
  4. Calibration and Validation

To join any of the Working Groups (WG) please contact the respective co-lead:

The Applications Working Group (AppsWG) will recruit, coordinate and integrate input on applications needs, data product requirements and training/education and other needs:

  • The AppsWG will identify key applications requirements, latency, revisit, specific products
  • The AppsWG will cultivate stakeholders and end users via joint activities, workshops, thematic working groups, and design and dissemination of tailored SBG data products
  • Characterize the SBG Communities of Practice and Potential and produce a SBG Community Assessment

The Algorithms Working Group (AlgoWG), co-led by Kerry Cawse-Nicholson and Phil Townsend, is made up of more than a hundred scientists in industry, academia, and federally-funded research institutions, spanning a wide range of areas of expertise. The group is sub-divided into focus areas for aquatic, geology, snow, thermal, and vegetation algorithms. These groups are transparent and fully open to the community.


  • A formal charter to support mission concept development by assessing the status of existing algorithms, identifying gaps and opportunities, and assisting in traceability studies
  • An express obligation to offer community input and transparency


  • Consider available algorithms, their maturity, uncertainty, and computing requirements
  • Consider whether any given algorithm should be applied globally or to a subset (pre-classification, different algorithms)
  • Prepare prototype workflow for sample products
  • Use and acquire precursor airborne and space-based imagery to demonstrate prototype level 3 and level 4 products
  • Prepare a final report recommending algorithms for each product along with a list of required ATBDs

The Modeling Working Group (ModWG) was established to inform Phase-2 of the SBG Study Plan, “Architecture Assessment”, through ‘simulations to support traceability’, where a workflow combines ‘true’ surface reflectance with expected at-sensor radiances for various instrument designs (Figure 1). In addition, the Modeling Working Group aims to develop a user community for providing SBG radiative transfer model requirements and for using the diverse set of SBG products to improve biogeophysical modeling via data assimilation, parameter estimation, and significantly advancing existing model structures for representing biodiversity, for example.

ModWG will examine the following areas:

  • Simulate the expected performance of candidate SBG architectures
  • Quantify the end-to-end impact of performance and space/]me sampling on science return using sensivity analyses, Observing System Simulation Experiments (OSSEs) and existing data, as applicable
  • These simulation analyses will quantify the relationship between instrument performance and mission parameters (spatial resolution, revisit interval, targeted acquisitions) and science and applications return
  • Simulations of alternative architectures will help in evaluating competing designs and trades, and also allow determination of the science return towards questions that do not drive requirements, i.e., are there 70% solutions to lower priority questions?

The Calibration / Validation Working Group (CalValWG), will in coordination with the other working groups:

  • Describe calibration and validation strategies for the SBG observations
  • Work with Algorithm WGs to identify target observations uncertainties
  • Work with Algorithm WG to identify sensor characteristics data, references and standards (e.g., solar irradiance spectrum, spectral libraries) needed for algorithms
  • Identify required pre-launch instrument characterization activities
  • Define objectives for vicarious and on-orbit calibration
  • Describe validation strategies and objectives for higher-level products (L2b - L4), identify sites and measurements to satisfy those
  • Identify partner sites and organizations through which appropriate Cal/Val activities may be conducted
  • Inform the project of connections and relationships between mission architecture and Cal/Val concepts
  • Produce a final report on Cal/Val objectives to achieve required data product uncertainties

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