Latest versions:

  BEAT-6.9.1(released on January 15, 2015; Release Notes)
  HARP-0.1 (beta)(released on November 9, 2015; Release Notes)
  VISAN-3.11.0(released on January 15, 2015; Release Notes)
  Tutorial-2.3(released on August 1, 2011)
  CODA(see CODA website)

Known issues for the BEAT, VISAN and tutorial packages can be found on the current issues page.

Known issues for the CODA and HARP packages can be found on their respective GitHub pages: CODA issues, HARP issues.


The ESA Atmospheric Toolbox project (BEAT) aims to provide scientists with tools for ingesting, processing, and analyzing atmospheric remote sensing data.

The project consists of several components, with the main components being CODA, BEAT-II/HARP, and VISAN. These components are made available by means of several software packages. A full overview of the BEAT components and packages can be found below.

The primary instruments supported by BEAT are GOMOS, MIPAS, and SCIAMACHY (ENVISAT), GOME (ERS-2), OMI, TES and MLS (Aura), GOME-2 and IASI (MetOp), and Sentinel 5P.

All BEAT packages are provided as Open Source Software, enabling user community participation in further development and quality improvement.

BEAT Overview

BEAT consists of the following components:

CODA:The first layer of BEAT, formerly known as BEAT-I, is implemented using CODA. CODA allows direct reading access to product data, supporting a very wide range of products. The version of CODA that comes with BEAT supports over 75+ atmospheric product files (this includes level 0 through level 4 data and auxiliary data, but also HDF4, HDF5, netCDF, GRIB, and XML files). The supported instruments include GOMOS, MIPAS, SCIAMACHY, GOME, GOME-2, IASI, OMI, TES, and MLS. All product file data is accessible via the CODA C library. On top of this C library there are several interfaces available to directly ingest product data using e.g. Fortran, IDL, MATLAB, and Python. Furthermore, CODA also comes with a set of command line tools (codacheck, codacmp, codadump, and codafind).
BEAT-II:The second layer of BEAT provides an abstraction to the product data to make it easier for the user to get the most important data from a product. Using only a single command you will be able to ingest atmospheric product data (from one or more files) into one of a set of flexible data types for spectral readout data, profile data, ground pixel data, etc. These predefined data types make it easier to compare similar data coming from different instruments and also simplifies the creation of general visualisation routines. Furthermore, the BEAT-II layer provides some additional functions to manipulate and import/export these special data types. The layer 2 interface is build on top of the CODA C library, but BEAT-II also supports reading of additional products that are stored in custom formats (that are not supported in CODA). All BEAT-II functionality is accessible via the BEAT-II C library that is included in the BEAT package. On top of this C Library are interfaces for Fortran, IDL, MATLAB, and Python, and a command line tool (beatl2dump). Note that BEAT-II will at some point be replaced by its successor HARP.
HARP:HARP is the successor of BEAT-II. It is a toolset for ingesting, processing and inter-comparing satellite or model data against correlative data. The current beta version of the toolset provides a set of command line tools and a library of analysis functions. This will be extended later on with direct import/export interfaces for Python, IDL, and MATLAB (at which point it will provide a complete replacement of BEAT-II). The main goal of HARP is to assist in the inter-comparison of data sets. By appropriatelty chaining calls to the HARP command line tools one can preprocess satellite and correlative data such that the two datasets that need to be compared end up having the same temporal/spatial grid, same data format/structure, and same physical unit.
VISAN:VISAN is a cross-platform visualization and analysis application for atmospheric data. The application uses the Python language as the means through which you provide commands to the application. The Python interfaces for CODA and BEAT-II are included so you can directly ingest product data from within VISAN (HARP interfaces will be added once the HARP Python interface becomes available). Using the Python language and some additional included mathematical packages you will be able to perform analysis on your data. Finally, VISAN provides some very powerful visualization functionality for 2D plots and worldplots.
Scientific Tutorial:The BEAT Scientific Tutorial, created in co-operation with KNMI, provides an introduction to BEAT and its capabilities for use in atmospheric science. By using a number of real-life scientific case studies, the tutorial shows how one can use the BEAT tools to proceed from asking a scientifically interesting question to answering it. The tutorial consists of one VISAN example and three IDL examples. The examples cover CODA and BEAT-II, all ENVISAT atmospheric intruments, and both level-1, level-2, and level-3/4 data products. The tutorial can be run on Windows and Unix based platforms.
Data Files:On the download page you can also find a set of data files, such as sample products for GOME (level 1, level 2, and level 4) and a Reference Spectra Database file for GOME and SCIAMACHY (courtesy of the Molecular Spectroscopy Group of the Institute for Environmental Physics of the University of Bremen).

The components are made available via the following software packages:

CODA:You will need this package if you want to use the CODA interfaces directly and if you are not already installing the BEAT package. The CODA package can be downloaded from the CODA website. The HARP and VISAN packages also include some part of CODA, but these will not install CODA for direct usage. Some types of products will need CODA definition (codadef) files in order to read them with CODA. These CODA definition files can be downloaded from the CODA website as well.
BEAT:The BEAT software package provides a full installation of the CODA and BEAT-II packages, including all CODA definition files for the atmospheric products. It provides the C Libraries, command line tools, and interfaces for Python, IDL, MATLAB, etc.
HARP:The HARP software package contains everything for HARP, including the CODA definition (codadef) files. The HARP package does not provide a full installation of CODA, but it does include those parts of CODA to satisfy its own dependency on CODA. You therefore don't have to install CODA separately to use HARP. But on the other hand, if you want to use CODA yourself, you will have to install the CODA package next to HARP.
VISAN:The VISAN software package is a self-contained application. It incorporates the Python interfaces for CODA and BEAT-II, and includes all necessary CODA definition (codadef) files. Support for the HARP Python interfaces will be added once these become available.

To download BEAT, HARP, and/or VISAN, please go to the download page.

More information about the BEAT, HARP, and VISAN packages can be found in the on-line BEAT documentation, HARP documentation, and VISAN documentation.

Supported Platforms and Languages

Supported platforms include:

It should be possible to use the BEAT package on other Unix platforms (Sun Solaris, IBM AIX, SGI Irix, HP/UX, BSD, etcetera) as well, since the entire system is implemented in portable ANSI-C code. However, these platforms are not routinely tested and may therefore require more effort during installation.

The VISAN application is currently only supported on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.

Because BEAT is an open-source effort, users are actively encouraged to send any installation reports, suggestions and/or patches that can improve stability, usability, or cross-platform compatibility. Contributions will be integrated into the main distributions of BEAT, CODA, HARP, VISAN, etc.


The development of the ESA Atmospheric Toolbox is primarily funded by the European Space Agency (ESA).
ESA Project Manager: Claus Zehner

The development of GOME-2 and IASI data product support in the toolbox is funded by EUMETSAT.

BEAT, CODA, HARP and VISAN are designed, developed and maintained by S&T.


The BEAT Scientific Tutorial was created by the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI).

Support and Feedback

Please send an e-mail to beat@stcorp.nl if you have any questions and/or remarks regarding BEAT (including VISAN).

For BEAT and VISAN, be sure to check the current issues page to see if a problem that you are faced with is not already mentioned there. For CODA and HARP issues are tracked via the GitHub site: CODA issues, HARP issues