Sign up for NPL updates
Sign up for NPL updates

Receive regular emails from NPL to get a glimpse of our activities and see how our experts are informing and influencing scientific debate


Earth observation, climate and optical

We help to improve the quality of data collected through Earth observation systems and satellites

Ensuring organisations can use Earth observation data with confidence

Space-based sensors offer a unique opportunity to capture global data on climate over time. However, as we generate more and more data, we also need to ensure that the data collected is trusted and reliable. Having reliable data from Earth observation systems is critical to achieving international targets, such as those set out in the Paris Agreement.

We are leading international activities to improve the quality and reliability of Earth observation data, and developing new measurement techniques and instrumentation to reduce the associated measurement uncertainties. Our expertise ensures that our customers can have complete confidence in the data they collect through Earth observation.

Our ambition includes the launch of a disruptive small satellite called 'TRUTHS' to extend our capabilities directly into space. TRUTHS would be the cornerstone of a future space climate and calibration observatory.

Our optical work also extends beyond Earth observation, enabling new product development, quality assurance, health and safety, and compliance in applications as diverse as transport, pharmaceuticals, medical imaging and fashion.

Contact us

Our research

We use cutting-edge measurement across a wide range of areas relating to Earth observation, from calibrating instruments pre-flight and in-orbit, to providing the standards and traceability to underpin the quality and accuracy of data.

Optical standards and component characterisation

Improving accuracy of satellite components and providing a full range of optical performance services for other industries

Pre-flight satellite instrumentation calibration

Giving organisations confidence in their instrumentation

In-flight satellite calibration and validation

Providing confidence in the accuracy and reliability of satellite sensors in orbit

Quality assurance and traceability of climate data

Providing the confidence needed to make climate data actionable

Vegetation test site characterisation

Developing the traceable measurement techniques and methods for satellite product validation


TRUTHS is a satellite mission to establish a space-based climate and calibration observing system, facilitating improved confidence in climate change forecasts.

Our services

Our services are relied upon by the space, aerospace, and manufacturing industries, as well as research organisations, to meet the growing need to provide traceability for Earth observation applications.

We offer a broad range of services, from calibration to the design of new instrumentation, and data quality assurance.

Our resources

We have a number of freely available publications, good practice guides and training – both online and in person. Search our comprehensive list of resources.


Our team

We have over 30 internationally recognised researchers focused on Earth observation, climate and optical.
View our team