Rapid Response

Rapid Response is the precursor to Worldview. Rapid Response has been providing global swath imagery from MODIS since 2001. Rapid Response MODIS Subsets and Near Real-Time (Orbit Swath) Images. are still available for long-term users and those with relatively slow internet access. Learn more about Rapid Response...

Worldview builds on the success of Rapid Response, it provides more functionality from a range of satellite instruments. If bandwidth is not an issue, we encourage users to try Worldview.

To help users, the imagery have been organized into 10 application categories to assist users in monitoring and analyzing a variety of natural and man-made hazards and disasters (e.g. ash plumes and fires).

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Visualize and download 200+ near real-time products for a variety of hazards and disasters categories. Worldview is supported by the Global Imagery Browse Services (GIBS) - a set of community standards based imagery services that delivers imagery in a highly responsive manner.

GIBS sample data in Google Earth

Global Imagery Browse Services (GIBS)

Access global, full-resolution imagery from the AIRS, AMSR-E, AMSR2, ASTER GDEM, GMI, MLS, MODIS, OMI, SMAP, and VIIRS instruments via a variety of community standards based set of imagery services, such as Web Map Tile Services (WMTS), Tiled Web Map Service (TWMS) and Keyhole Markup Language (KML).

MODIS subsets section

MODIS Subsets

Download a large number of user-specified, geo-referenced and geographically sub-setted images around the world in GIS-compatible format. Examples include most of the AERONET sun photometer sites and the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) sites.

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MODIS Near Real-Time (Orbit Swath) Images

View and download swath images for each five-minute interval for Terra and Aqua MODIS data. Data posted approximately 2.5 hours after the observation at the spacecraft.

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VIIRS Near Real-Time (Orbit Swath) Images

View and download swath images for each five-minute interval for VIIRS (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite) data from the joint NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP (National Polar-obriting Partnership) satellite. Data posted approximately 2.5 hours after the observation at the spacecraft.

Gallery section

View and download imagery for interesting events and phenomena from MODIS.

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Polar Mosaics

Download daily Antarctic and Arctic mosaic images at 4km, 2km and 1km resolutions. The mosaic is composed of smaller image tiles, which are available individually at 250m, 500m, 1km, 2km, and 4km resolutions.

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Hazards and Disasters

View and download 200+ near real-time products for a variety of hazards and disasters categories in Worldview.



Frequently asked questions about Rapid Response.

About Rapid Response

Imagery available through Rapid Response and LANCE are available freely and may be reproduced for any purpose. We ask that you acknowledge Rapid Response, visit the Citation Policy and Disclaimer page for the full acknowledgement.

Expedited Processing

To make imagery available in less than 3 hours, expedited Level 0 data are processed using predicted attitude and ephemeris data. In some cases, this can result in significant differences exist between the near real-time LANCE products and the standard products. Data products available through LANCE should not be regarded as science quality and should not be used for quantitative science analyses. Nonetheless, all LANCE products have been reviewed by members of the instrument Science Teams and have been approved for applications purposes.


The Rapid Response system was originally developed in 2001 to provide near real-time data and imagery from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on board the Terra Satellite, to meet the needs of the US Forest Service (USFS), the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) and other federal and state users. Rapid Response, then known as the MODIS Land Rapid Response System, was made possible through the collaboration between staff at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), the Department of Geography at the University of Maryland and the USFS Remote Sensing Applications Center (RSAC). By 2007, the Rapid Response System was producing data globally and had incorporated data and imagery from the MODIS instrument on the Aqua satellite. As this rapid response image and information provision capability became more visible, news organizations began requesting custom geo-referenced images for large newsworthy events. Users quickly realized that the imagery and data products produced by Rapid Response could be used for other tasks that required low latency products, including imagery for monitoring air quality, floods, dust storms, snow cover, agriculture, and for public education and outreach. As the original system aged and the demand and expectations for near real-time data increased, the NASA Earth Science Division (ESD) implemented a Near Real-Time (NRT) capability that was closely aligned with the science-processing systems. NASA ESD sponsored the development of LANCE in 2009. Worldview and the Global Imagery Browse Services (GIBS) have built on the success of Rapid Response and provide global imagery for MODIS, the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) and the Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS).

Article on the MODIS Land Rapid Response System: Sohlberg R, Descloitres J, Bobbe T (2001). MODIS Land Rapid Response: operational use of Terra data for USFS wildfire management. Earth Obs 13:8–10.

Last Updated: Jan 5, 2017 at 3:12 PM EST