THE CEOS DATABASE : Missions, Instruments and Measurements
CEOS EO HANDBOOK – INSTRUMENT SUMMARY - GLAS -
Full Name Geoscience Laser Altimeter System Status No longer operational
Instrument Agencies NASA Maturity
Instrument Type Lidars Geometry Nadir-viewing
Instrument Technology Lidar altimeter Sampling Imaging
Data Access Data Format
Measurements and Applications Provision of data on ice sheet height/thickness, land altitude, aerosol height distributions, cloud height and boundary layer height.
Resolution Summary 66 m spots separated by 170 m
[Best Resolution: 66m]
Swath Summary
Accuracy Summary Aerosol profile: 20%, Ice elevation: 20 cm, Cloud top height: 75 m, Land elevation: 20 cm, geoid: 5 m
Waveband Summary VIS - NIR: Laser emits at 1064 nm (for altimetry) and 532 nm (for atmospheric measurements)
VIS (~0.40 µm - ~0.75 µm)
NIR (~0.75 µm - ~1.3 µm)
Instrument Measurements
CategoryParameterAccuracy
AerosolsAerosol Extinction / Backscatter (column/profile) 
Cloud particle properties and profileCloud optical depth 
Cloud type, amount and cloud top temperatureCloud type 
Ice sheet topographySea-ice sheet topography 
Landscape topographyLand surface topography 
Sea ice cover, edge and thicknessSea-ice thickness 
Instrument Missions
ICESat - Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite (2003 - 2010)
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