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Advances in Optical Technologies
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 295950, 23 pages
Research Article

End-to-End Image Simulator for Optical Imaging Systems: Equations and Simulation Examples

1Selex Galileo, Via A. Einstein, 35, Florence, 50013 Campi Bisenzio, Italy
2Department of Electronics & Telecommunications, University of Florence, Via S. Marta 3, 50139 Florence, Italy

Received 7 August 2012; Accepted 27 September 2012

Academic Editor: Marija Strojnik

Copyright © 2013 Peter Coppo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The theoretical description of a simplified end-to-end software tool for simulation of data produced by optical instruments, starting from either synthetic or airborne hyperspectral data, is described and some simulation examples of hyperspectral and panchromatic images for existing and future design instruments are also reported. High spatial/spectral resolution images with low intrinsic noise and the sensor/mission specifications are used as inputs for the simulations. The examples reported in this paper show the capabilities of the tool for simulating target detection scenarios, data quality assessment with respect to classification performance and class discrimination, impact of optical design on image quality, and 3D modelling of optical performances. The simulator is conceived as a tool (during phase 0/A) for the specification and early development of new Earth observation optical instruments, whose compliance to user’s requirements is achieved through a process of cost/performance trade-off. The Selex Galileo simulator, as compared with other existing image simulators for phase C/D projects of space-borne instruments, implements all modules necessary for a complete panchromatic and hyper spectral image simulation, and it allows excellent flexibility and expandability for new integrated functions because of the adopted IDL-ENVI software environment.