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FAS Project on Intelligence Reform

Imagery Interpretability Rating Scales (IIRS)
National Imagery Interpretability Rating Scale (NIIRS)
National Radar Imagery Interpretation Standard (NRIIS)
Multispectral Imagery Interpretability Rating Scale (MSIIRS)

Image quality is the single most critical factor determining the utility of the image for data exploitation. Image quality is dependent upon physical features of the collection system (e.g., focal length, lens quality, number and spread of multispectral sensors, and density of the sensor array), the geometric relationships at the time of imaging (e.g., distance and angle between the sensor and the target), target and transmission media features (e.g., acquisition angle and degree of illumination, image degradation from cloud cover and smoke), and errors introduced in the processing stream (e.g., data dropouts and "noisy" communication paths). The user communities for panchromatic, multispectral and radar imagery have developed a series of scales to rate the quality of the received imagery. These scales condense the many factors influencing the image into a single rating that defines the overall usability of the image.

Common rating scales include the National Imagery Interpretability Rating Scale (NIIRS) for optical imagery, National Radar Imagery Interpretation Standard (NRIIS) for Synthetic Aperture Radar, and Multispectral Imagery Interpretability Rating Scale (MSIIRS) for spectral imagery. For video imagery systems, the "DoD/IC Video Imagery Standards Profile (VISP)," Version 1.1, 26 September 1997, defines a "Video Systems (Spatial and Temporal) Matrix" (VSM). This Recommended Practice gives user communities an easy to use, common shorthand reference language to describe the fundamental technical capabilities of DoD/IC video imagery systems. The "Video Systems Matrix" includes tables of Technical Specifications and related Notes.

Sources and Methods



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Created by John Pike
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Updated Monday, May 08, 2000 6:09:07 AM