Long name MODIS MCD
Short name MCD
Sensor type Optical
Platform MODIS
Key file name (use to open dataset) .hdf
Supported file name extensions .hdf

Data product name and description
Distribution disk files
Returned data for supported format

Data product name and description

The MODIS instrument operates on both the Terra and Aqua spacecraft. It has a viewing swath width of 2,330 kilometers and views the entire surface of the Earth every one to two days. The instrument's detectors measure 36 spectral bands ranging from 0.405 through 14.385 µm, and it acquires data at three spatial resolutions: 250 meter, 500 meter, and 1,000 meter.

GDB for MODIS supports the following products:
  • MCD43A2
  • MCD43A4
Note: The information provided herein is based on the data distributor's documentation cited under References.
Product level Horizontal accuracy (m) Description/notes
MCD43A2 ~500 Contains:
  • Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function (BRDF)/Albedo band quality (inversion information)
  • Days of valid observation during the 16-day period for MODIS ranging from bands 1 through 7
  • Land-water type
  • Snow BRDF/Albedo
  • Local solar noon
  • Platform
  • BRDF/Albedo uncertainty
MCD43A4 ~500 Provides adjusted-reflectance (NBAR) and quality layers for MODIS ranging from bands 1 through 7

Spectral bands:
Spectral range (nm)

Spatial resolution (m)*
(spectral resolution)

Maximum image dimensions
(Across track x along track, km)

  • Quality bands only
~500 1200 x 1200 N/A
  • Band 1 (Red): 620 - 570
  • Band 2 (NIR): 841 - 876
  • Band 3 (Blue): 459 - 479
  • Band 4 (Green): 545 - 565
  • Band 5 (SWIR-1): 1230 - 1250
  • Band 6 (SWIR-2): 1628 - 1652
  • Band 7 (MWIR): 2105 - 2155
~500 1200 x 1200 N/A

* Resolution is always nadir position unless noted otherwise.

Distribution disk files

MODIS data sets are distributed as a single Hierarchical Data Format (HDF) file.

You can open a MODIS data set by selecting the *.hdf file.

When opening a MODIS data set, the files read by GDB are as described in the following table.

File name Format Required Contents/details
*.hdf Hierarchical Data Format (HDF) Yes Contains image data and associated metadata

Returned data for supported format

MODIS data can be opened directly in its raw vendor format or imported into a PCIDSK (*.pix) file using the key file name (*.hdf). For optimal processing, use the PCIDSK format.

The following table describes the data structure after it is opened by GDB.

Data product Data returned Details

4 x [8U] raster channels
7 x [16U] raster channels
7 x [8U] raster channels
1 x [8U] raster channel
1 x [TEX] text segment

For channel information, visit:
MCD43A4 7 x [8U] raster channels 7 x [16U] raster channels 1 x [TEX] text segment The first seven channels are quality layers for MODIS bands 1 through 7. Channels 8 through 14 are NBAR values for MODIS bands 1 through 7.


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