Java Advanced Imaging In Action -- Brockmann Consult GmbH

BEAM - The Basic ERS & ENVISAT (A)ATSR and MERIS Toolbox

BEAM is an application suite which facilitates the utilisation, viewing and processing of MERIS, AATSR and ASAR data products of the ESA ENVISAT environmental satellite. The software is being developed by Brockmann Consult GmbH under contract to the European Space Agency ( ESA). BEAM is now the definitive, freely available software used throughout the ENVISAT scientific user community. It is available for the Windows, Linux and Solaris platforms.

One of the central software components of BEAM is VISAT, an intuitive desktop application used for the visualization, analysis and processing of data products of the ESA ENVISAT and ERS satellites. The use of JAI was central to the smooth and timely development and implementation of VISAT using Java.


With VISAT, the user can create images from satellite data by defining various color palettes, overlay multiple bitmask images or even true RGB images where each of the red, green and blue channels are computed from a mathematical expression combining any number of bands contained in a data product.

regions of interest

VISAT users can also define regions of interest (ROI) to be used as input for statistics, histogram and scatterplot generation. A ROI can be defined by a simple rectangle or even a combination of shapes, a bitmask and/or a value range. All of these features could easily be implemented using the JAI API. Thanks to JAI's processing power and image display performance, VISAT users receive immediate feedback necessary for an unhindered work with large volumes of satellite data.

BEAM development is planned to be continued as an open source project. In order to achieve this goal the BEAM software has an open and extensible architecture. The BEAM Java™ API provides many ready-to-use components for remote sensing related applications development as well as dedicated plug-in points for new BEAM extensions such as I/O support for new satellite product formats or new data processors.

To get more information and detailed documentation, please visit the BEAM home page located within the ESA User Services at

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