HICO - Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean
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HICO - Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean
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What is HICO?

The Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean (HICO) is an imaging spectrometer based on the PHILLS airborne imaging spectrometers. HICO is the first spaceborne imaging spectrometer designed to sample the coastal ocean. HICO samples selected coastal regions at 90 m with full spectral coverage (380 to 960 nm sampled at 5.7 nm) and a very high signal-to-noise ratio to resolve the complexity of the coastal ocean. HICO demonstrates coastal products including water clarity, bottom types, bathymetry and on-shore vegetation maps. Each year HICO collects approximately 2000 scenes from around the world. The current focus is on providing HICO data for scientific research on coastal zones and other regions around the world. To that end we have developed this website and we will make data available to registered HICO Data Users who wish to work with us as a team to exploit these data.

For the first three years, HICO was sponsored by the Office of Naval Research as an Innovative Naval Prototype (INP); support is now provided by NASA's International Space Station (ISS) Program.

HICO Status -
Transition to NASA

Jan 1, 2013

HICO was developed by The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) for the Office of Naval Research (ONR) as an Innovative Naval Prototype (INP). HICO exceeded all its objectives as an INP and continues to operate after 3 plus years. ONR also supported the first three years of operations including the development and operation of the HICO website at Oregon State University (OSU). This ONR support ended in December 2012. 

With the expiration of ONR funding, NASA’s International Space Station (ISS) Program has agreed to provide funding such that the operation of HICO, including the OSU HICO website and data distribution, can continue. In the near term, NRL will continue to operate HICO and OSU will still manage the HICO website using established procedures.

As the ISS brings in new users through NASA’s ISS National Lab Office and new domestic and the International Partners of the ISS Program, HICO operations will evolve to be consistent with other ISS operations. Changes will most likely affect the proposal approval and data selection and distribution processes, especially as they involve non-US principal investigators. HICO users and the ocean color remote sensing community will be notified in advance of any changes, as it is the intent of NASA, NRL, and OSU to make the transition as seamless as possible while expanding access to HICO data to a broad user base.

The entire HICO data archive, in HDF5 format, is now publicly available from the NASA Ocean Color website. Note that to access HICO data from the NASA website, an EOSDIS account is required.

In addition, the Oregon State University HICO website will continue to provide access to data in ENVI format from a subset of regions collected by HICO.

HICO on the International Space Station
HREP is installed on the ISS (NASA ISS020E041979)

image galleries

Become a HICO Data User

As a demonstration instrument, HICO is designed to collect one 50 x 200 km scene per orbit. A limited amount of this data will be available to academic and international scientists for their scientific studies. To become a HICO Data User and request data for your study requires a short proposal and signing a data use agreement. Team members will be asked to publish and share all data and results including presenting their results at an annual HICO Team Meeting. To access the forms and format for the proposal and apply visit the "Become a HICO Data User" webpage.



  HICO® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Navy.
  Website Administrator: Jasmine Nahorniak
  © Oregon State University 2009