There is an ever-increasing interest and need for accurate georegistration of remotely sensed data products to a common global geometric reference. Although georegistration has improved substantially in the last decade, the lack of an accurate global ground reference dataset poses serious issues for data providers seeking to make geometrically stackable analysis-ready data. The existing Global Land Survey 2000 (GLS2000) dataset derived from Landsat 7 images provides global coverage and can be used as a reference dataset, but its accuracy is much lower than what can be attained using the agile and precise pointing capability of the new spacecrafts. The improved position and pointing knowledge of the new spacecrafts such as Landsat 8 can be used to improve the accuracy of the existing global ground control points using a space-based triangulation method. This paper discusses the theoretical basis, formulation, and application of the space-based triangulation method at a continental scale to improve the accuracy of the GLS-derived ground control points. Our triangulation method involves adjusting the spacecraft position, velocity, attitude, attitude rate, and ground control point locations, iteratively, by linearizing the non-linear viewing geometry, such that the residual errors in the measured image points are minimized. The complexity of the numerical inversion and processing is dealt with in our approach by processing and eliminating the ground points one at a time. This helps to reduce the size of the normal matrix significantly, thereby making the triangulation of a continent-wide scale block feasible and efficient. One of the unique characteristics of our method is the use of a correlation model linking the attitude corrections between images of the same pass, which promotes consistency in the attitude corrections. We evaluated the performance of our triangulation method over the Australian continent using the Australian Geographic Reference Image (AGRI) dataset as a reference. Both a free adjustment, using only the pointing information of the Landsat 8 spacecraft, and a constrained adjustment using the AGRI as external control were performed and the results compared. The Australian block’s horizontal accuracy improved from 15.4 m to 3.6 m with the use of AGRI controls and from 15.4 m to 8.8 m without the use of AGRI controls.
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