Ground sampling distance - What ist it? How to calculate?

The ground sampling distance is the nominal size of one sensor pixel projected onto the imaged surface. It depends on the following parameters:
  • The size / format of your camera sensor
  • The number of columns and rows of sensor elements on your sensor
  • The altitude of your sensor above the surface to be imaged
  • The focal length of your lens
Please note that the GSD is neither equal to the spatial resolution of your complete sensor system, because it does not count for light diffraction and distortion induced errors in your lens system (e. g. light diffraction caused by the aperture, spheric and chromatic aberation), nor is it an adequate measure for the positional accuracy of your resulting image mosaic. For an easy GSD calculation you might want to proceed to our online GSD-Calculator.