Step 1: Determine the Purpose of the Product

MSG dust RGB showing the volcanic ash cloud from the Eyjafjallajoekull eruption moving from northern Finland to the UK

A good RGB should convey information that would be difficult or time consuming to assess from one or more individual satellite images. To the extent possible, the product should be unambiguous and use intuitive colors to help highlight important meteorological and surface features.

Drawing of different types of land surfaces, from desert to mountains to water

Let's say, for example, that we want to develop a product that emphasizes features such as topography, vegetation, low clouds, and snow cover. We want it to cover Europe using a geostationary satellite with looping capability. This means that we will use EUMETSAT's Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) satellite imager called SEVIRI (Spinning Enhanced Visible and InfraRed Imager). True color images are not possible since the instrument does not carry blue and green visible channels. Therefore we will build a similar product that EUMETSAT scientists call the 'natural color' RGB.