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HRIT/EMWIN Frequently Asked Questions

HRIT/EMWIN General Information:

  • How do I find more information on the HRIT Standard?
    • “The intention of LRIT/HRIT is to define a standard for dissemination of data, preferably from geostationary spacecraft towards LRIT/HRIT user stations. The main approach of LRIT/HRIT is to disseminate rasterized image data mapped to the surface of the earth, preferably those generated by or deducted from satellite remote sensing data. Additionally, LRIT/HRIT shall provide means to forward other types of graphical information, alphanumeric data or binary data. LRIT is intended for use on low rate communication links, mainly at 10 kb/s until 256 kb/s. HRIT is intended for use on high rate communication links, mainly at 0.256 Mbit/s through 10 Mbit/s.” See the “LRIT/HRIT Global Specification”

  • How do I find more information on EMWIN?
    • EMWIN provides the emergency management community and other users equipped with VSAT stations with NWS warnings, watches, forecasts, and other products at no recurring cost, this information can be found on at EMWIN. EMWIN product information can be found at NWS ISCS. EMWIN has its own transponder on GOES-13, 14 and 15. Onboard GOES-R Series satellites, there is only one transponder for both HRIT and EMWIN broadcasts.

  • How do I find more information on the EMWIN products?

  • How do I find more information on GOES Data Collection Service (DCS)?
    • GOES DCS users monitor the environment through the transmission of observations from surface-based data collection platforms to NOAA geostationary satellites. Decision-makers in the areas of emergency response and resource allocation depend on the GOES DCS. Go to GOES DCS for more information along with information on the DCS Administration and Data Distribution System (DADDS) which can be found at DADDS1, DADDS2, DADDS3 and DADDS4.

  • What is the difference between WEFAX, LRIT and HRIT/EMWIN?
    • At the CGMS XXVIII meeting in October 2000, NOAA announced that the analogue Weather Facsimile (WEFAX) direct broadcast service on GOES I-M satellites would be migrated to the new digital LRIT format. The NOAA LRIT service became operational October 1, 2005. The LRIT broadcasts provide the users with additional imagery data, products and broadcast services including the GOES Data Collection Service in-situ observations, the NWS’ Emergency Manager’s Weather Information Network (EMWIN), GOES visible and infrared imagery, and other hydro-meteorological products. On December 18, 2017, the new HRIT/ EMWIN service that combined the LRIT and EMWIN services became operational on GOES-16 in the GOES-East position. View GOES Opertional Status>>

  • What continuity of operations or backup does HRIT/EMWIN have?
    • EMWIN has a primary generation facility at College Park, MD and a backup facility in Boulder, CO. GOES-DCS has two generation servers at the NSOF in Suitland, MD and another two at the Command and Distribution facility in Wallops Island, VA. The HRIT/EMWIN broadcast can be generated at the primary facility in Suitland, MD and at the backup site at Fairmont, WV. Both the EMWIN and DCS data can be sent to either Suitland or Fairmont. Both the Suitland and Fairmont HRIT/EMWIN systems can send the data stream to either the primary uplink facility at Wallops Island or the backup uplink facility at Fairmont. More information can be found on pages 59-61 including Figure 9 of the “GOES-R Series Concept of Operations (CONOPS)” and the Broadcast Tab on the site.

  • What will happen to the GOES LRIT broadcasts?
    • The GOES-LRIT broadcast is a 128 kilobit-per-second broadcast on GOES-13, 14 and 15. GOES-15 will be the operational West satellite until GOES-17 becomes operational currently planned for Fall 2018 at which time all three GOES 13-15 satellites will be in a storage orbit, relocated or decommissioned. GOES-LRIT will remain a capability on GOES-13, 14 and 15 until they are de-commissioned.

HRIT/EMWIN Content:

  • How do I find out what products are on the HRIT/EMWIN broadcast?
    • There are tables detailing the products on HRIT/EMWIN under the Products Tab on this site.

  • Which imagery bands are on HRIT/EMWIN?
    • Seven channels were selected for both the GOES-16 and eventual GOES-17 broadcasts. They are bands 2, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14 and 15. This gives a mix of visible, water vapor and infrared bands. They are broadcast at 2 km spatial resolution in HRIT format every 30 minutes. There are also 3 mesoscale sectors broadcast for bands 2, 7 and 13. There are tables detailing the products on HRIT/EMWIN under the Products Tab on this site. More information on the bands can be found on the GOES-R web site at the link to “ABI Bands Quick Information Guides”.

  • Why are not all the GOES-R Series imagery bands on HRIT/EMWIN?
    • HRIT/EMWIN has a data rate of 400 kilobits-per-second. It is not possible to broadcast all 16 channels at full resolution, the three mesoscale sectors, plus the GOES-15 full disk and Northern Hemisphere sectors. 7 channels of Full Disk imagery were selected for both the GOES-16 and eventual GOES-17 broadcasts. They are bands 2, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14 and 15. There are also 3 mesoscale sectors broadcast for bands 2, 7 and 13. This gives a mix of visible, water vapor and infrared bands that should be of value to forecasters and planners. They are broadcast at 2 km spatial resolution in HRIT format every 30 minutes. It was also planned to add a selection of the GOES-R Baseline products once technical issues were resolved.

  • What are the GOES-DCS observation messages and how do I read them?
  • What are the default mesoscale sectors:
    • The mesoscale default sectors are determined from areas of the highest population density coinciding with the biggest aviation hubs in the Continental United States.
      Mesoscale sector #1 box is centered over 38°N – 78° W, while mesoscale sector #2 box is centered over 37°N – 86°W. View all mesoscale channels and current locations>>

  • Where can I get information on when the mesoscale sectors are moved?
    • Users will need to subscribe to receive update email notifications of mesoscale change requests and timeframe by contacting the < a href="mailto:espcoperations@noaa.gov">ESPC Help Desk.

  • Who decides when a mesoscale sector is changed?
    • The National Weather Service (NWS) WFO regional focal point offices, all the NCEP National Centers (NHC, SPC, etc.) and the Satellite Analysis Branch are the only requesting entities currently.

HRIT and netCDF4 format GOES-R Imagery Access


HRIT/EMWIN Broadcast:

  • Where does the HRIT/EMWIN broadcast originate?
    • The primary HRIT/EMWIN broadcast is formed in the HRIT/EMWIN processors within the Product Distribution and Access (PDA) system at the NOAA Satellite Operations Facility (NSOF) in Suitland, MD. It is formed into a broadcast stream and sent to either the Command and Data Acquisition Station at Wallops Island, Virginia (WCDAS) or the Consolidated Backup Facility (CBU) at Fairmont, WV for uplink to the satellite. A secondary instance the HRIT/EWMWIN and PDA systems are located at the Consolidated Backup Facility (CBU) in Fairmont, WV. This broadcast is restricted to the essential components of the Emergency Manager Weather Information Network (EMWIN) and GOES Data Collection Service (DCS) products, legacy GOES-NOP imagery along with some graphic format satellite images.

  • Where does HRIT/EMWIN get uplinked to the satellite from?
    • The HRIT/EMWIN broadcast is uplinked from antenna systems located at the primary GOES-R site at the Command and Data Acquisition Station at Wallops Island, Virginia (WCDAS) and at the Consolidated Backup Facility (CBU) at Fairmont, WV. For more information see the GOES-R Facilities and Antennas.

HRIT/EMWIN Reception:

  • How can I receive or copy the HRIT/EMWIN broadcast?
    • The broadcast can be received anywhere in the GOES-East and in late 2018, the GOES-West footprint. The basic receive system consists of a Very Small Aperture Terminal Antenna system, a receiver, a computer and receiver software. A description of a HRIT/EMWIN receive system can be found under the Reception Tab on this site.

  • Where can I find vendors who sell HRIT/EMWIN systems?
    • There are commercial vendors of system that can receive HRIT/EMWIN and can be found on the Manufacturers List. Note that this is a voluntary and partial list of vendors and there are manufacturers not listed and some that may have ceased to participate in the industry.

  • Can I build my own satellite receiver?
    • There is a description of a “prototype receiver” that can be built by users that have an appropriate level of technical skill under the Reception Tab on this site.

  • What size antenna do I need?
    • Antenna System, the broadcast should be able to be received using a VSAT antenna of less than 2 meters with a predicted minimum size of 1 meter at 10 degrees or more elevation and a minimum antenna is 1.2 meters at 5 degrees elevation or less.

  • How much data will I receive?
    • The HRIT/EMWIN data rate is 400 kilobits per second. The maximum amount of data that could be downloaded in one day is approximately 3.2 Megabytes. However, the broadcast will never be full as a buffer is kept avoiding broadcast latency, especially of National Weather Service watches, warnings and emergency information. Currently, the averaged maximum bandwidth is 75%.

  • Do I need the internet in order to receive HRIT/EMWIN?
    • The internet is not necessary for HRIT/EMWIN reception. Electrical power is needed to power the computer, satellite receiver and low noise block down converter (LNB). The LNB is often powered by the receiver.

  • Do I have to pay a fee to receive HRIT/EMWIN?
    • No NOAA original or recurring fee is required for HRIT/EMWIN reception. Depending on how you acquired your reception system, you may have a maintenance and licensing agreement with your vendor

  • Do I have to register with NOAA to receive HRIT/EMWIN?
    • There is no mandatory registration required to receive HRIT/EMWIN. If you would like to complete a voluntary registration navigate to the following link: https://dcs1.noaa.gov/Account/SurveyForm. This registration is voluntary. Outside of FOIA requests, the information will not be disclosed.

  • Do I need special software for the EMWIN products?
    • EMWIN products are in either the text or graphic format so they can be read and displayed by most systems. However, there are software packages offering various levels of enhanced display including warnings etc. A list of EMWIN vendors can be found at the EMWIN the click on "Commercial EMWIN Vendors."

HRIT/EMWIN and GOES-R Notifications:

  • How can I get the latest information about the HRIT/EMWIN broadcast?
    • There are several links for HRIT/EMWIN and GOES information with various levels of detail.

    • There is a Notifications Tab on this site.

    • There is a page that contains all the notifications generated by the NOAA Satellite Operations Facility (NSOF) at the Notifications.

    • Occasional information is promulgated to users that have voluntarily registered at DADDS1

    • Users are free to attend the HRIT/EMWIN User’s Group quarterly meeting to get the latest information on the broadcasts. A link to the last quarterly meeting is located here.

  • Where does HRIT/EMWIN get uplinked to the satellite from?
    • The primary HRIT/EMWIN broadcast is formed in the HRIT/EMWIN processors within the Product Distribution and Access (PDA) system at the NOAA Satellite Operations Facility (NSOF) in Suitland, MD. It is formed into a broadcast stream and sent to either the Command and Data Acquisition Station at Wallops Island, Virginia (WCDAS) or the Consolidated Backup Facility (CBU) at Fairmont, WV for uplink to the satellite. A secondary instance the HRIT/EWMWIN and PDA systems are located at the Consolidated Backup Facility (CBU) in Fairmont, WV. This broadcast is restricted to the essential components of the Emergency Manager Weather Information Network (EMWIN) and GOES Data Collection Service (DCS) products, legacy GOES-NOP imagery along with some graphic format satellite images.

  • Who can I call for help if my reception stops or if there are anomalies with the HRIT/EMWIN broadcast?
    • Users can contact the NOAA Satellite Operations Facility Help Desk at ESPCOperations@noaa.gov or the HRIT/EMWIN Program Manager, Mr. Seth Clevenstine, at seth.clevenstine@noaa.gov or 301-817-4558.

GOES Satellites:

  • What is GOES-R?
    • From the GOES-R FAQ Page, “The GOES-R Series is the next generation of NOAA geostationary Earth-observing systems. The satellite’s advanced spacecraft and instrument technology will support expanded detection of environmental phenomena, resulting in more timely and accurate forecasts and warnings.” View Mission Page for more information.

  • What is the ABI instrument?

  • What is the difference between the GOES-Imager and the ABI?
    • “ABI views the Earth with 16 different spectral bands (compared to five on the previous generation of GOES), including two visible channels, four near-infrared channels, and ten infrared channels.” “It provides three times more spectral information, four times the spatial resolution, and more than five times faster temporal coverage than the previous system.” View Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) for more information.

  • What is HBI?
    • HBI is the Himawari Baseline Imager. It is resident on the Japanese Himawari 8 spacecraft. If is similar to the NOAA GOES-R Series Advance Baseline Imager.

  • How can I get training on the GOES-R products?

  • What is the schedule for NOAA satellite launches?

  • How do I find out the imagery schedules from the NOAA satellites?

WMO, CGMS, NOAA, NESDIS links:

  • How can I find more information on NOAA satellites?
    • NOAA operates several types or series of spacecraft including the GOES-N and GOES-R Series of geostationary satellites, Jason-3, Suomi NPP, DSCOVR, NOAA 20 and other satellite missions.

  • How can I find more information on all of the meteorological satellites?
    • The WMO-CGMS Satellite User Readiness Navigator (SATURN) site exists to provide information on the new generation of Meteorological satellites. The Saturn Portal will provide a single point of access for all information needed for user community preparations for the new missions using information gathered from the satellite operators and by the WMO Space Programme.


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