Beside the Pleiades (PHR) and Cosmo-Skymed (CSK) systems developments forming ORFEO, the dual and bilateral system (France - Italy) for Earth Observation, the ORFEO Accompaniment Program was set up, to prepare, accompany and promote the use and the exploitation of the images derived from these sensors.

The creation of a preparatory program1 is needed because of:

This program was initiated by CNES mid-2003 and will last until mid 2013. It consists in two parts, between which it is necessary to keep a strong interaction:

The Thematic part covers a large range of applications (civil and defence), and aims at specifying and validating value added products and services required by end users. This part includes consideration about products integration in the operational systems or processing chains. It also includes a careful thought on intermediary structures to be developed to help non-autonomous users. Lastly, this part aims at raising future users awareness, through practical demonstrations and validations.

The Methodological part objective is the definition and the development of tools for the operational exploitation of the submetric optic and radar images (tridimensional aspects, changes detection, texture analysis, pattern matching, optic radar complementarities). It is mainly based on R&D studies and doctorate and post-doctorate researches.

In this context, CNES2 decided to develop the ORFEO ToolBox (OTB), a set of algorithms encapsulated in a software library. The goals of the OTB is to capitalise a methological savoir faire in order to adopt an incremental development approach aiming to efficiently exploit the results obtained in the frame of methodological R&D studies.

All the developments are based on FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software) or existing CNES developments. OTB is distributed under the permissive open source license Apache v2.0 - aka Apache Software License (ASL) v2.0:

OTB is implemented in C++ and is mainly based on ITK3 (Insight Toolkit).