Getting MODIS Data and Tools

By the end of this tutorial the following steps will all be executed in R using the MODIS package. To gain a little understand and test the tools we download, however, the first thing we are going to do is a manual download of a MODIS file and some MODIS tools and then we will test out those tools to make sure they work as expected.

The files that we will download can be access through the Data Pool which is located here Data Pool Home.  At the data pool home you should aquaint yourself with the MODIS product table which is here. Product Table.  For this exercise I will be downloading a MODIS product known as MOD11 A2.  That is a  1km resolution 8 day average of Land Surface Temperature. MODIS  LST  8 day average.  That file is located on the Terra FTP site  MODIS TERRA FTP  I’m going to select the version 5 dataset MOD11A2 Version 5 . Specifically a file from the 8 days starting 4th of July 2006. 2006 4th of July.

To get the file I want I merely use the kmz file provided here Modis Tiles in Google Earth  whcih tells me the  Tile specification.  I want a file that covers tile  h10v04. If you don’t have google earth  you can also use this image

I will download two files.  The *hdf file and the  xml file.

Before doing that I can browse a jpg of the file here 

Download the following two files to a directory we will call  Test.



Next up we will get some tools to help us with these files.  You will need to register to get the modis reprojection tool

Modis Reprojection Tool

Download that tool. And read the next page before unzipping it

  1. November 28, 2012 at 12:24 AM

    Modis Reprojection Tool …
    Rotzetter Armand

  2. December 13, 2012 at 11:01 PM

    Steve, when I go here:

    I find that there is no Windows version of MRT available other than for 32 bit Windows NT. Any idea what’s going on there?

    • December 13, 2012 at 11:26 PM

      To add insult to injury even the download of the NT version failed…

    • Steven Mosher
      December 14, 2012 at 6:19 AM

      I use the 32 bit version on windows 7. How did you try to install it

      • December 14, 2012 at 6:25 AM

        I was never able to try–four attempted downloads all failed. Something’s not right. I sent a message to the email address listed on the help page.

      • Steven Mosher
        December 15, 2012 at 11:48 PM

        Oh, ok.

        If you cant work that out I will upload it. Gmail doesnt allow exe transmission


  3. Jill
    June 17, 2013 at 8:20 AM

    Hi Steve,

    First off, this is awesome, thanks for writing it up. While all your instructions about building a package/working with PATH, etc have been easy to follow, I’m having trouble connecting to the ftp linked above with my username. I don’t seem to have access using the same username and password I used to download the MRT. Thoughts?


  4. Ceren
    June 19, 2013 at 10:34 PM

    I am having the same problem as Jill. It seems that the data is now available via a http server rather than ftp. Do you have any advice on how to proceed? Thank you very much!


  5. Jill
    June 20, 2013 at 7:15 AM

    Hi Ceren, glad I’m not the only one who got tripped up there! But the updated MODIS package version takes this into account and worked fine for me, so just keep going and it will work. It helped me to find that you can get a zipped version of the current package to install into R from zip file instead of going through these development steps (I think this blog series was written before the zip file was available) here:

    Saves some time if you don’t already have your computer set up. You do still need to install gdal and MRT separately, though.

  6. Ceren
    June 20, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    Jill- thank you so much! I will give this a shot. May reach out to you again if I have any issues, but this should work. Thanks again

  7. Jill
    June 20, 2013 at 9:18 PM

    No problem. Let me know if you get runMrt to work; I could only get runGdal (and only when the OSGeo4W gdal was installed).

  8. September 30, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    I think there is a problem with the the ftp server. It is not working anymore.

  9. Jill
    September 30, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    They switched to a http server, so this step no longer works. The package, however, does. See the comments above for more info.

  10. Greta
    June 2, 2014 at 4:08 AM

    I’m working on my final project race with MODIS images, the idea is to use the R program to make the process which is to select a tile download these pictures in different years (time series) for an area specific and keep them repository, then extract the NDVI and EVI information for that area and then generate a map that will be displayed on a screen, you can tell me if you know of anyone who has done this kind of code in R, I would appreciate.


    • Steven Mosher
      June 2, 2014 at 12:17 PM

      How can I help you On Jun 1, 2014 4:08 PM, “Steven Mosher's Blog” wrote:


  11. Greta
    June 2, 2014 at 1:01 PM

    hi Steven, my question is about if you know or seem the code guide en R for this issue con MODIS, i need for my final tesis.

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