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MODIStsp is a R package devoted to automatizing the creation of time series of raster images derived from MODIS Land Products data.

MODIStsp allows performing several preprocessing steps (e.g., download, mosaicing, reprojection, resize, data extraction) on MODIS data available within a given time period. Users have the ability to select which specific layers of the original MODIS HDF files they want to process. They also can select which additional Quality Indicators should be extracted from the aggregated MODIS Quality Assurance layers and, in the case of Surface Reflectance products, which Spectral Indexes should be computed from the original reflectance bands.

All processing parameters can be easily selected with a powerful and user-friendly GUI, although non-interactive execution exploiting a previously created Options File is possible. Stand-alone execution outside an R environment is also possible, allowing using scheduled execution of MODIStsp to automatically update time series related to a MODIS product and extent whenever a new image is available.

For each output layer, outputs are saved as single-band raster files corresponding to each available acquisition date. Virtual files, allowing accessing to the entire time series as a single file, can be also created.

MODIStsp was developed by Lorenzo Busetto and Luigi Ranghetti, Institute of Remote Sensing of Environment - National Research Council - Italy (CNR-IREA). It is dedicated to the memory of Lorenzo.

What’s New

  • 29/10/2021 - MODIStsp (GitHub version supports products with version 061. Version 006 will remain the default product version until its decommission will be announced. Version 061 can be specified through the argument prod_version of function MODIStsp() or by selecting it in the GUI.

  • 10/12/2020 - MODIStsp was resubmitted to CRAN after the maintainer’s death. Now MODIStsp is dedicated to Lorenzo Busetto (

  • 01/09/2020 - MODIStsp 2.0.0 is out. Replaces the old gWidgets GUI with a new one based on Shiny, enhances support for CLI usage and enhances support/provides bug fixing for datasets with multiple NoData values when applying scale/offset.

  • 09/05/2020 - MODIStsp 1.4.0 is out. Switches to use of GDAL3/PROJ6 WKTs for projection representation and usage of sf for all internal work on vector data. Adds support for products MCD19A1 and MCD19A2 products.

  • 07/06/2019 - MODIStsp 1.3.9 is out. Fixes a bug causing crashes on MOD14A1 product, adds support for product MCD12Q2 and removes support for no longer available version 5 of some products.

  • 05/03/2019 - MODIStsp 1.3.8 is out. Fixes an issue causing incorrect application of scale/offset values on GDAL versions > 2.3 ( and adds support for products MOD21A1D.006 MOD21A1N.006 MOD21A2.006.

  • 29/11/2018 - We recently discovered a nasty bug in the computation of some custom spectral indices (those including additions / subtractions on reflectance values, such as in \frac{(b1_{NIR}+0.1)}{b2_{Red}} (with \rho being a reflectance). See here for further details. The bug is now fixed on the GitHub version. A patched release will be made available on CRAN as soon as possible.

  • 07/08/2018 - We are glad to report that MODIStsp is now included in the rOpenSci packages ecosystem. We thank reviewers Leah Wasser and Jeffrey Hanson for their valuable reviews, which helped us
    further improving the package.

  • 10/07/2018 - MODIStsp v. 1.3.6 is out (check out the Release Notes for further details).

  • 20/06/2018 - MODIStsp v. 1.3.5 is out (check out the Release Notes for further details).

  • 11/04/2018 - Due to new NASA Policies the MODIS FTP servers were shut down starting, April 2, 2018. FTP download is therefore no longer working and will be removed in the next MODIStsp version.

  • 11/04/2018 - Decommissioning of MODIS Version 5 Land Data Products. As per NASA notice above, MODIS v005 products are going to be decommissioned, and will soon be no longer available for download. Support for those products will be removed in the next MODIStsp version.

  • 11/08/2017 - MODIStsp 1.3.3 was released today. It provides improvements in processing speed, as well as the usual bug fixes. See our <i class=“fa fa-newspaper-o aria-hidden=”true”> news page for a detailed changelog.

Getting Started

  • To install MODIStsp, please follow instructions reported here, both for , and .

  • MODIStsp can be used either in interactive mode exploiting its user-friendly GUI, or in non-interactive mode from within R scripts.

  • The list of currently supported MODIS products and versions can be found here.

  • Scheduled Processing allows automatic updating of MODIS time series through scheduled jobs, both on and .

  • Solutions to common installation, data download and processing problems can be found in our faq.

  • Please report any issues you may encounter in our issues page on github .


To cite MODIStsp in publications, please use:

L. Busetto, L. Ranghetti (2016) MODIStsp: An R package for automatic preprocessing of MODIS Land Products time series, Computers & Geosciences, Volume 97, Pages 40-48, ISSN 0098-3004,, URL:

A BibTeX entry for LaTeX users is:

    author  = {Lorenzo Busetto and Luigi Ranghetti},
    title   = {MODIStsp: an R package for preprocessing of MODIS Land Products time series},
    journal = {Computers & Geosciences},
    year    = {2016},
    volume  = {97},
    pages   = {40-48},
    issn    = {0098-3004},
    doi     = {10.1016/j.cageo.2016.08.020},
    url     = {},