ZiYuan3-02 (ZY3-02) is the first remote sensing satellite for the development of China’s civil space infrastructure (CCSI) and the second satellite in the ZiYuan3 series; it was launched successfully on 30 May 2016, aboard the CZ-4B rocket at the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center (TSLC) in China. Core payloads of ZY3-02 include a triple linear array camera (TLC) and a multi-spectral camera, and this equipment will be used to acquire space geographic information with high-resolution and stereoscopic observations. Geometric quality is a key factor that affects the performance and potential of satellite imagery. For the purpose of evaluating comprehensively the geometric potential of ZY3-02, this paper introduces the method used for geometric calibration of the TLC onboard the satellite and a model for sensor corrected (SC) products that serve as basic products delivered to users. Evaluation work was conducted by making a full assessment of the geometric performance. Furthermore, images of six regions and corresponding reference data were collected to implement the geometric calibration technique and evaluate the resulting geometric accuracy. Experimental results showed that the direct location performance and internal accuracy of SC products increased remarkably after calibration, and the planimetric and vertical accuracies with relatively few ground control points (GCPs) were demonstrated to be better than 2.5 m and 2 m, respectively. Additionally, the derived digital surface model (DSM) accuracy was better than 3 m (RMSE) for flat terrain and 5 m (RMSE) for mountainous terrain. However, given that several variations such as changes in the thermal environment can alter the camera’s installation angle, geometric performance will vary with the geographical location and imaging time changes. Generally, ZY3-02 can be used for 1:50,000 stereo mapping and can produce (and update) larger-scale basic geographic information products.
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