SENTINEL data products are distributed using a SENTINEL-specific variation of the Standard Archive Format for Europe (SAFE) format specification. The SAFE format has been designed to act as a common format for archiving and conveying data within ESA Earth Observation archiving facilities. SAFE was recommended for the harmonisation of the GMES missions by the GMES Product Harmonisation Study.
The SENTINEL-SAFE format wraps a folder containing image data in a binary data format and product metadata in XML. This flexibility allows the format to be scalable enough to represent all levels of SENTINEL products.
A SENTINEL product refers to a directory folder that contains a collection of information. It includes:
- a 'manifest.safe' file which holds the general product information in XML
- subfolders for measurement datasets containing image data in various binary formats
- a preview folder containing 'quicklooks' in PNG format, Google Earth overlays in KML format and HTML preview files
- an annotation folder containing the product metadata in XML as well as calibration data
- a support folder containing the XML schemes describing the product XML.