Ground Stations


There is a network of reception stations around Australia which acquire data from environmental satellites. IMOS installed a new reception antenna at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) near Townsville in 2008 to extend data coverage into the equatorial part of the Western Pacific Ocean which is are important regions for ENSO and Tropical Cyclone development during the monsoon season. The Townsville X band was installed at AIMS on April 10 2008 with the first MODIS image received later that day. The L band upgrade to a dual band system was installed in July 2009. Starting in 2013 further upgrades to the station were made to receive EUMETSAT Metop-A and B.  The CNES/ISRO (French/Indian) SARAL satellite will also be acquired through a co-investment with CNES CLS from late 2015.   

A legacy L band station established in the early 1990s was also operated near Townsville as a backup for NOAA AVHRR passes when clashes with other satellites occurred this legacy station operated beyond expectation but eventually in 2014 was decommissioned.

IMOS also refurbished an older existing Tasmanian Earth Resource Satellite Station (TERSS) antenna in Hobart between 2008 and 2010. More recently after an evaluation of the national satellite receiver ground stations the Hobart station was decommissioned in 2014 as it is no longer needed after the launch of the next generation of satellites.

Instrumentation and Data

The IMOS groundstation at AIMS Cape Ferguson, near Townsville, complements others operated by BoM in Perth, Melbourne, Darwin, Antarctica and GA in Alice Springs and WASTAC in Perth. The data streams from all stations routinely flowed to Bureau of Meteorology (BoM), CSIRO, NASA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and European Space Agency – Collecte Localisation Satellites (ESA CLS).

Core satellite imagery acquired currently (2013/14) is NOAA AVHRR, MODIS Aqua and Terra. Near real time data is maintained and distributed within an hour of acquisition of each pass by CSIRO and Bureau of Metrology and on the Ocean Portal [link].The satellite imagery data is ingested to improve operational forecasting and composite products such as Sea Surface Temperature and Ocean Colour.

A new generation of satellites are currently being constructed, the first of which called Suomi-NPP was launched in late 2011.  One of the instruments aboard this satellite is called the Visible Infrared Radiometer Suite (VIIRS)  and will replace the MODIS and AVHRR data streams as they reach the end of their operational life.

Useful links


Mr. Craig Steinberg

Email c.steinberg(at)


Bureau of Meteorology

CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere

Geoscience Australia

Australian Institute of Marine Science


Your access to IMOS Satellite Remote Sensing data discovery and exploration is through the Australian Ocean Data Network (AODN) Portal and IMOS OceanCurrent.