Asian and Australian Satellite Imagery

...a part of the International Weather Satellite Images.

Most of the Asian satellite images available on the WWW are from the Japanese GMS satellite. However, this satellite does not observe central Asia or the Indian Ocean. Central Asian satellite programs have been the most troubled in the world in recent years. There have been two failures of Chinese satellites, an unreliable Russian satellite, and an Indian satellite that encrypts all of its images. Finally, in Summer 1998, a reliable satellite, METEOSAT-5, has been placed over the Indian Ocean. It was once the active satellite over Europe, and it has been moved to take part in a research project over the Indian Ocean.

The GMS satellite provides some stunning views of the Earth, since high resolution images are widely available through sites mainly in Japan and Australia. The Hawaii/NASA images are the least altered, and thus offer the most picturesque views. See GEO-NEWS for news and information about all of the Asian satellites.

GMS-5, or Himawari (140°E)

GMS-5 replaced GMS-4 in late 1995 as Japan's satellite covering the Western Pacific, Eastern Asia, and Australia.

Hawaii/NASA Images

These images are a great set of images, now that mapped and unmapped images are both available. The large images in this group are somewhat difficult to view, since they are quite large, but the raw visible images often have stunning views of the Earth. This site is mirrored at NASA/ARC and NASA/MSFC. Note that the archives at the different mirrors run for different lengths. The archive at ARC runs about 10 days, while the other archives only go back 1 day.

These images are located at four sites:

Hawaii SatLab

The University of Hawaii's Satellite Oceanography Laboratory provides a number of sets of satellite images. Their GMS images, at present, include only full disk images.

Kochi University Images

These images are somewhat to see difficult because of the terrain in the background (for infrared and water vapor images), but are otherwise good images, although they are a bit small. The archive runs back for years with a very high time resolution for many images. Some of the archive images are in PGM format, while others are in JPEG.

Global Hydrology and Climate Center Images

The Global Hydrology and Climate Center, part of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, provides a very good interface to satellite images. This system presents the user with a satellite image and allows the user to click to zoom in on different parts of the image, to 4km resolution, and animate those parts.

METEOSAT WEFAX Infrared Images

These images don't have a whole lot to be said for them. They are the images of Asia retransmitted by the European satellite, METEOSAT. See the Nottingham University METEOSAT Images section for more information.

James Cook University Images: Enhanced Infrared

Most of the images at the The JCU site (also available at their FTP site) are in IFF format (though some are in GIF as well). A good IFF viewer is Paint Shop Pro 3.11 for Windows 3.1 (or later), or Version 4.14 for Windows 95/NT. The images are completely enhanced infrared images, i.e., the whole temperature scale is displayed in colors.

Victoria University of Wellington

VUW provides a good set of GMS images, especially for those in Australia or New Zealand. They are remapped images with good map and lat/lon lines. Most of the images at the site are infrared.

Other GMS Images


METEOSAT-5 used to be the active satellite over Europe in the METEOSAT Program, and has now moved to view the Indian Ocean as part of the INDOEX Experiment.

The background for the INDOEX mission is explained on the INDOEX Project Page and in the articles A New Perspective for Meteosat-5 and Meteosat-5 relocation. The EUMETSAT's INDOEX Page is probably the best source of current information on the mission. The entire New METEOSAT Dissemination Schedule (for transmissions from METEOSAT-7 in Europe) is available, as is the INDOEX Dissemination Schedule (for transmissions form METEOSAT-5 in Asia). According to these schedules, the METEOSAT-7 transmission began 1998 July 15. UCSD also has information on data for the whole INDOEX project. Further information is available in the INDOEX 1998 FFP Experiment Design Document.

DSRS Indoex Images

These images from Dundee are the best INDOEX images available. They are the only copies available of the INDOEX WEFAX trasmissions. They are available at three resolutions, with or without grid/map overlay. The archives last about one week.


Naval Pacific Meteorology and Oceanography Detatchment in Diego Garcia

The NPMOD in Diego Garcia provides good METEOSAT-5 and FY-2B images over a very slow link.

Other INDOEX Images


After losing Feng-Yun 2A upon launch failure in 1996 (or 1995?), the Chinese launched Feng-Yun 2B in March or April of 1997. It is positioned at 105°E, and is similar in design to the Japanese GMS-5. Hawaii / NASA/GSFC provided imagery similar to that provides for GOES-8, GOES-9, and GMS-5. Dennis Chesters is a good source of information on Feng-Yun.

Images were available as of 1998 January 21, at NASA/GSFC. However, the satellite's antenna went awry, and the satellite stopped transmitting for most of 1998. In 1999, a few images, between 0300 and 0800 GMT, were able to be obtained from the satellite, according to Dennis Chesters.


Naval Pacific Meteorology and Oceanography Detatchment in Diego Garcia

The NPMOD in Diego Garcia provides good METEOSAT-5 and FY-2B images over a very slow link.


The Russians have a GOES-like satellite known as GOMS. There is no reliable source of its transmissions on the Internet. The spectral bands are:

GOMS-1 Information

The first satellite in the series was launched at the end of November 1994 after long (cold-war) delays. GOMS-1 is located at 76°E, where it will provide Indian Ocean coverage. Ground data is recieved at the main data center in Moscow, with regonal data centers at Tashkent and Khabarovsk. It also has a FAX system like the GOES do. GOMS-1 is officially known as ELEKTRO. An early GOMS-1 IR Image from Feb 28 1995, 1200Z is available from NASA/GSFC.

According to Dennis Chesters's GEO-NEWS, GOMS Infrared imagery was to become operational in 1996 (it has), while visible imagery cannot be broadcast.

GOMS data through METEOSAT

These images have not been updated since 1998 May 22.

IKI/SMIS GOMS Data (Infrared)

The Space Monitoring and Information Support laboratory (SMIS) provides GOMS Data and Information, including GOMS Technical Information, and other Satellite data, on their SPUTNIK Server. The SMIS News page has information on new data available. These images have not been updated since 1998 August 13.


For many years, India did not make INSAT images available. However, they are now available from the Indian Meteorological Department. INSATs are located at very good locations for seeing the Indian Ocean. There is a good page of information (bad link?) about the INSAT satellites. There is also a page that has an INSAT image.

Indian Meteorological Department

Asian Polar Orbiter Imagery

Asian Composite Images

Composite Views from The Weather Channel

The weather channel images are probably the best of the composite images from major weather companies. The small images are useful only for overview, the large images are of reasonable size.

Composite Views from WSI Intellicast

The Intellicast images are colorized, enhanced infrared images, and very presentable, but rather low resolution. The Full Earth Image is especially bad because it is a mercator projection, giving much more space to areas near the poles. Some of them are not updated often at all.

Intellicast recently changed all their links, and not all the redirects work. That is bad business. I'll try to figure out what they did and fix these links sometime...

Composite Views from CNN

CNN Provides a set of low quality satellite images from AccuWeather. They do a bad job of showing cloud color only in some areas.

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