The geometric accuracy of 2008 AVHRR orthoimages from Metop-A, NOAA-17 and NOAA-18 satellites over Switzerland have been investigated here. The methods employed in the study are fully automated, with an accuracy of 0.1–0.2 pixels, however, blunders do occur and this requests a careful blunder detection approach. The investigations include analysis of relative, absolute and band-to-band registration (BBR) accuracy. Regarding relative accuracy, thousands of points are matched between Metop-A, NOAA-17 and NOAA-18 images of the same day. The accuracy is quite high with mean shifts between 0.2 and 0.4 pixels. Systematic stripes have been observed when NOAA-18 images are involved in matching. In spite of many efforts to find the source of this error, no explanation could be found. In addition, large shifts up to 2.9 pixels on some days between September and December 2008 were observed. Regarding absolute accuracy, digitized lakes as reference polygons have been used and a subpixel lake matching method has been applied. The mean shifts generally fulfilled EUMETSAT and GCOS specifications, although some partial results exceed them, especially for Metop-A. Regarding BBR accuracy, six multispectral bands have been compared, also with point matching. The EUMETSAT specification is 0.1 km, however, this specification refers to original images, not orthoimages. Taking also into account the matching errors of 0.1 km, the EUMETSAT specifications are in principle fulfilled in all cases except matching of Metop-A and NOAA-17 Band-2 images with Bands 4 and 5. The overall work showed that although, in general, accuracies are high and fulfill specifications, errors exceeding the specifications can occur and vary depending on the satellite used, time and location. Such errors influence subsequent geometric or thematic processing; thus, an automated and permanent quality control of such images should be executed.
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