Orfeo Toolbox (OTB)

In the frame of the Methodological Part of the ORFEO Accompaniment Program to prepare, accompany and promote the use and the exploitation of the images derived from Pleiades (PHR) and Cosmo-Skymed (CSK) satellites, the French Space Agency (CNES) decided to develop the Orfeo Toolbox (OTB): a set of algorithmic components, adapted to large remote sensing images,  which allow to capitalize the methodological know how, and therefore use an incremental approach to benefit from the results of the methodological research.

ORFEO Toolbox (OTB) is distributed as an open source library of image processing algorithms. As the motto of OTB goes, Orfeo Toolbox is not a black box, OTB encourages full access to the details of all the algorithms. OTB is based on the medical image processing library ITK and offers particular functionalities for remote sensing image processing in general and for high spatial resolution images in particular. Targeted algorithms for high resolution optical images (SPOT, Quickbird, Worldview, Landsat, Ikonos), hyperspectral sensors (Hyperion) or SAR (TerraSarX, ERS, Palsar) are available.

OTB is distributed under a free software license CeCILL (similar to GPL) to encourage contribution from users and to promote reproducible research. The library is intensively tested on several platforms as Linux, Unix and Windows. Most functionalities are also adapted to process huge images without the need for a supercomputer using streaming and multi-threading as often as possible.

Among other, OTB provides a number of heavily documented functionalities as:

  • image access: optimized read/write access for most of remote sensing image formats, meta-data access, visualization;
  • standard remote sensing preprocessing: radiometric corrections, orthorectification;
  • filtering: blurring, denoising, enhancement;
  • feature extraction: interest points, alignments, lines;
  • image segmentation: region growing, watershed, level sets
  • classification: K-means, SVM, Markov random fields;
  • change detection;
  • information extraction for integration in GIS and mapping systems.

E. Christophe and J. Inglada, "Open Source Remote Sensing: Increasing the Usability of Cutting-Edge Algorithms," IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Newsletter, pp. 9-15, mar. 2009

E. Christophe and J. Inglada, "Orfeo Toolbox: from satellite images to geographic information," in Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial, FOSS4G 2009, Sydney, Australia, oct 2009.

J. Inglada and E. Christophe, "The Orfeo toolbox remote sensing image processing software," in IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium, IGARSS’09, Cape Town, South Africa, jul 2009.