Sentinel-3 OLCI L1b data publicly available

Recently ESA and EUMETSAT announced availability of Sentinel-3 OLCI L1b data from now on. All data acquired onwards will arrive in near-real time at the Sentinel Data Hub (ESA) and the Earth Observation Portal (EUMETSAT). Data collected during Commissioning Phase will be reprocessed and will be made available later.
Please be aware that you currently have to use a special login to the Sentinel Data Hub. The usual login doesn't work. The credentials are shown on the login screen when you follow the link above.
A more exhaustive news article can be found on this ESA Sentinel-3 page.
We are very happy that the OLCI data is now available and we are keen to exploit its capacity. Probably you are too.

To work with the OLCI data you will need SNAP, the successor of BEAM. Please make sure that you also get the latest plugin updates after installation.

SNAP 2.0 released

We are happy to announce the release of SNAP 2.0. It has been released after a public beta test phase with many helpful feedback from enthusiastic users. It provides users a comprehensive set of tools for using data products from the Sentinel platforms. SNAP is a powerful EO application on its own and provides the platform for plugging in other sensor- or domain-specific toolboxes. Sentinel-1, Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-3 Toolboxes and also the SMOS-Box and Radarsat-2 Toolbox can be optionally installed, either by the installer, or later from within the SNAP plugin manager.
SNAP is the successor of the well known BEAM software and will replace it in the long term. BEAM will remain under maintenance until at least mid of 2016 where we will continuing our user support. The further development of new features will take place within SNAP and the toolboxes.

BEAM-Python also for Python 2.7 available

With BEAM 5.0 we have introduced the BEAM Python API. It allows Python developers use BEAM with Python and vice versa.
Initially this worked only for Python 3.3+. The latest version of the BEAM Python module (v5.0.2) is now also compatible with Python 2.7! You can go and get it via the Module Manager within VISAT. After the installation is complete (restart of VISAT), follow the instructions given in the you will find in the beam-python-5.0.2 folder in BEAM's modules directory.

The BEAM Team

BEAM 5.0 released

The BEAM team presents BEAM 5 with the following new features:

  • The new beam-python module enables Python developers to use the BEAM Java API from Python, and to extend BEAM by operator plug-ins for EO data processing written in the Python programming language. For an introduction on how to use it please refer to the file in the beam-python module which you find in the $BEAM_HOME/modules directory.
  • For this release a special goal was the improvement of the runtime performance. Reading, writing, processing and displaying of EO data has been greatly enhanced in multiple cases.
  • The user interface of the binning processor has been reworked and greatly improved
  • The Colour Manipulation tool has been extended for a new editor which lets user easily pick a colour palettes. Also its 'Apply' button has been removed.
  • The spectrum tool window has been extended to display multiple spectra at the same time. Each spectrum can be displayed with its own style. The set of displayed spectra can be stored and reloaded.
  • A new Magic Wand tool has been introduced. The purpose of this tool is to create regions of interest (ROIs) within images comprising pixels that are "similar" to a set of manually picked pixels. The similarity takes into account any number of bands or entire spectra.
  • New morphological image filters have been added: erosion, dilation, opening and closing. Users can now also create their own convolution and morphological filters using a graphical editor.
  • Also the overall usability of BEAM has been improved at various places, e.g. pins can now be copied to an other product just by a few clicks. Also the main menu of VISAT has been restructured in order to find processors and tools easier.

It goes without saying that the new release also encloses a number of bug fixes, which can be inspected at our BEAM issue tracker.

For a complete list of changes please refer to the changelog.

The installers for BEAM 5.0 can be downloaded from the BEAM download page.

Reader for Landsat 8 available

In June the USGS announced the availability of Landsat 8 data. Today we are happy to announce the support of the new (meta)data format introduced with Landsat 8 by BEAM. This enables the user now to open and work with Landsat 4/5 (TM), Landsat 7 (ETM+) and
Landsat 8 (OLI/TIRS) in GeoTIFF format; while Landsat 5 (TM) is also supported in FAST format.
You can get the latest version (1.4) of the reader by means of the module manager found in VISAT's help menu.

SMOS-Box 2.3 released

This software adds a new processing-tool to the BEAM SMOS-Box that allows for converison of native SMOS data products to NetCDF 4.
In addition, the BEAM SMOS Reader Plug-in has been updated to handle SMOS-schemas up to version v05-02-01.

The installer for SMOS-Box 2.3 can be downloaded from the BEAM download page.

BEAM 4.11 released

The BEAM team is happy to announce that we have released BEAM 4.11 on March 28th, 2013.

BEAM 4.11 is shipped with a number of new features, of which the most prominent are:

  • the Time Series Tool has been included into BEAM, allowing users to create, visualise, inspect, and analyse time series of EO data
  • the new Temporal Percentile Operator has been introduced; it allows users to perform multiple kinds of gap-filled, spatiotemporal percentile computations.
  • a dedicated OPeNDAP client which provides an easy interface to arbitrary OPeNDAP servers has been added
  • NetCDF4 data export, allowing users to write compressed data in HDF5-based NetCDF4 format


Additionally, we have dropped and replaced some outdated parts of BEAM in order to keep it lean. It goes without saying that the new release also encloses a number of bug fixes, which can be inspected at our BEAM issue tracker.

For a complete list of changes please refer to the changelog.

The installers for BEAM 4.11 can be downloaded from the BEAM download page.

Celebrating the 10th Birthday

Today we're celebrating the 10th birthday of BEAM! The first version was released on the 6th of December 2002. Since that time, our user community has grown steadily and we have got a lot of valuable contributions and useful feedback that helped us making BEAM what it is today. The BEAM project team is looking forward to continue updating, improving and maintaining the software. Big thanks to ESA and all contributors for supporting BEAM!

The BEAM Development Team

BEAM 4.10.3 is now available

On 22 June 2012, we have released BEAM 4.10.3.

The focus of BEAM 4.10.3 lies on fixing several major bugs, for example regarding downwards compatibility when importing pins. Additionally, we made some helpful improvements, such as accuracy enhancement for pixel-based geolocations.

For a complete list of changes please see the issue summary.

The installer for BEAM 4.10.3 can be downloaded from the BEAM download page.

BEAM 4.10 now available

As of 09 May 2012, BEAM 4.10 has been released!

We have introduced a large number of new features; see below for a summary.

  • BEAM has been greatly enhanced by a number of efficient and user friendly tools supporting validation activities. A number of tools now allow for comparing satellite data with correlative data (e.g. in-situ data or other reference data) imported from external sources. The former statistics tool window has been split into multiple, dedicated tool windows each providing a number of new functions.
    1. General enhancements
      • Generate (ROI) masks from plots: mark a value range in the plot area (histogram, scatter, profile plots) and create a mask comprising the pixels that fall into that value range. The mask is immediately displayed as an overlay in the satellite image view and can be used as a new region of interest for statistical analyses;
      • Zoom into plot areas using the mouse wheel;
      • Axes in plots, if applicable can now use a log10-scaling;
      • Inspect and export (copy to clipboard) plot data as tabulated data.
    2. Profile plot enhancements
      • extract satellite data from a transect or track and display it, optionally averaged over an NxN pixel box, optionally filtered by a ROI mask, optionally together with correlative data;
      • synchronise pixel positions: click the transect graphs in the plot and display a cursor which is shown in both, the plot and also along the track figure shown in the satellite image view.
    3. Correlative plot
      • extract satellite data at geographical points, optionally averaged over an NxN pixel box, optionally filtered by a ROI mask, and display against correlative data fields in a scatter plot;
      • display regression line and information;
      • display the 1:1 identity line.
    4. Scatter plot
      • compare two raster datasets and display a density plot of pixel frequencies, optionally filtered by a ROI mask;
      • quickly invert density colors;
    5. Histogram
      • generate histograms of raster data, optionally filtered by a ROI mask;
      • bin cells of the histogram can now be log10 scaled, thus turning a logarithmic into a normal distribution.
    6. Statistics
      • generate common statistical variables, including commonly used percentile thresholds, histogram and percentile plots;
      • optionally compute statistics for one or multiple masks in one go.
  • In order to import the correlative data for the new validation tools, support for multiple types of text-based point and vector data sources has been added: plain text, tab-separated CSV files, data extracts from MERMAID in-situ database, and SeaDAS 6.x ship-tracks can now be read and used as vector data within VISAT. All additional columns are kept and, if numerical, may serve as a variable used in the scatter or profile plots.
  • Double-clicking the imported vector data in the product browser window displays it in a tabular view similar to double-clicking a band which will an image view.
  • Imported point data can now be interpreted as a path or track and will be displayed accordingly in an image view. Additional numerical columns of such imported point data can be directly displayed in the profile plot.
  • The VISAT colour manipulation tool window has been enhanced by log10 scaled colour bars.
  • Three new readers have been added which allow for
    1. reading data products of the new VIIRS (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite) instrument. This capability is provided by the SeaDAS Ocean Colour reader which has been developed by the NASA OBPG as part of SeaDAS 7 (
    2. reading plain text, CSV files into the BEAM product data model; thus, input from such files may be used for example with the BEAM Graph Processing Tool 'gpt' command-line. Also a corresponding writer is available for CSV.
    3. reading ordinary RGB image files (JPEG, PNG, GIF, ...). Products imported from images comprise the bands red, green, blue with associated wavelength and a grey band which is a linear combination of the three.
  • The VISAT file import / export menus have been revised due to the meanwhile large number of various data formats BEAM is able to import from and export to.
  • The following BEAM command-line tool enhancements (see 'gpt -h' on the command-line) have been added
    1. The pixel extraction operator 'PixEx' now uses an extended wildcard syntax to recursively collect source products from a list of directories.
    2. A new operator 'Merge' allows for copying raster data from other data products to a specified 'master' product.
    3. The BEAM Java core data model has been revised: vector data is now based on the OGC-standard for simple features.

For a complete list of changes please see the changelog and the issue summary.

The installers for BEAM 4.10 can be downloaded from the BEAM download page.

Calvalus - An efficient processing system for cal/val and algorithm development is now available

Brockmann Consult successfully completed the ESA Calvalus project - A system which performs efficient bulk processing of large amounts of satellite data. Calvalus aims at supporting Earth Observation cal/val activities and algorithm development by providing fast access to mission-wide satellite data and a highly configurable processing environment. The Calvalus system utilises Apache Hadoop and the ESA BEAM development platform and achieves its enhanced performance from the massive parallelisation and data-local execution of processing tasks.

BEAM is mentor at ESA SOCIS: Apply now!

ESA Summer of Code in Space (SOCIS) is a pilot programme run by the Advanced Concepts Team of the European Space Agency that offers student developers stipends to write code for various space-related open source software projects.

Through SOCIS, accepted student applicants are paired with mentors from the participating projects, thus gaining exposure to real-world software development scenarios. In turn, the participating projects are able to more easily identify and bring in new developers.

BEAM has been accepted as a mentoring organization by ESA. Students can now apply for suggested ideas, through the SOCIS Webpage, until 27th of July. For a list of suggested ideas see the SOCIS Ideas Page.

BEAM 4.9 is now available

The new BEAM 4.9 release comes with a new Envisat MERIS data processor, named 'Radiometry Correction'. It combines a Smile-effect correction, an equalisation, a radiance-to-reflectance conversion and a new radiometric re-calibration. For exporting pixels from a bunch of data products a new tool has been introduced. Another 4.9 feature is that files can now be dragged from the file explorer onto the VISAT products view in order to open them.

For a complete list of changes please see the issue summary.

The installer for BEAM 4.9 can be downloaded from the BEAM download page.

SMOS-Box 2.1.1 released

SMOS-Box 2.1.1 is now available for download. Version 2.1.1 fixes issues with the export of SMOS grid point data to the Earth Explorer and CSV formats.

SeaDAS 7 frontend will build on BEAM rich client platform

More than a year ago we announced that BEAM has met the NASA Ocean Biology Processing Group (OBPG) in order to dicuss a possible migration of the SeaDAS IDL frontend to the BEAM Java rich client platform.
The new SeaDAS 7 source code repository can be found at For SeaDAS users who want to stay informed or want to give feedback to the SeaDAS team can go to a new board in the SeaDAS 7 development forum.



New MERIS L1 Equalization processor and updates for BEAM 4.8

The MERIS L1 Equalization processor, a new processor for MERIS Level 1 data products, is now available. It  performs a radiometric equalization of the MERIS L1b products. It reduces detector-to-detector and camera-to-camera systematic radiometric differences and results into a diminution of the vertical stripping observed on MERIS L1b products.

Additionally, several modules of BEAM have been updated. The changes are listed in the issue summary.

CHRIS-Box 1.5.2 released

CHRIS-Box 1.5.2 is now available for download.
It is a mere maintenance update which allows the CHRIS-Box to be run together with BEAM 4.8, the latest release.

EPR C-API 2.2 released

A maintenance release of Envisat Reader API has been released. The API now functions correctly on 64-bit architectures.

The API can be downloaded from the download page.

GlobToolbox 2.0 released

The second version of GlobToolbox is now available for download.
It extends the first version of the GlobToolbox by a number of tools tackling the time dimension. First of all, a time series manager allows to define and edit time series. A time series player allows vividly visualising a time series by providing the control elements for navigating through a time series, either manually or automatically. And a time series graph has been developed which may be used to compare values of different measures, such as TSM or SST, for a specified time series.

Apart from time series, the GlobToolbox 2.0 additionally allows to export arbitrary global products to the widely used NetCDF/CF-format.

BEAM 4.8 released

In this release we have added a number of new readers to enable BEAM to work with even more remote sensing products. In particular we have added readers for products originating from the SPOT VEGETATION programme, for Landsat TM products in GeoTIFF format, for HDF-EOS gridded products as well as a reader for generic NetCDF/CF-products. BEAM 4.8 also allows to export products to the widely used data format NetCDF/CF.

As another feature it is now possible to apply "auto-grouping" in the product tree; that is, product nodes whose names begin equally are automatically put into a common group.

The installer for BEAM 4.8 can be downloaded from the BEAM download page.

Read more about the release in the change log.

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