What is that Sensor Swath Tool?

  • Dec 5, 2016
  • Tech Tip

STK has a LOT of features and utilities that have been built up since 1989.  As humans though, we tend to focus more on the latest and greatest.  This can lead us to forget about some of the older features that solve some of the more basic problems, and the Swath Tool for sensors is a good example of this.   The Swath Tool has been part of STK for a long time, but when I was trying to solve a problem where the Swath tool was the perfect solution, I still didn’t think of it because it hasn’t been talked about for a while.

If you’d like to learn about or get a refresher on the Swath Tool, you can take a look at our help documentation, but here is a general Q&A to help you get started.

So what does the Swath Tool do?  It lets you display the cumulative central body footprint of your sensor for a time interval you specify.  You can also export this footprint as a shape file and import it back in as an area target in this or other scenarios.

How do I find the Swath Tool in STK?  You can access it from the sensor object in the object browser by right-clicking on the sensor and going to the Sensor submenu -> Swath.

Now that I found the Swath Tool, how do I use it?  First you want to check Swath at the top of the menu to turn on the tool.  Then you can specify the style settings for your footprint.  Finally set the time interval you want to display.

The swath will contain all of the space on the surface of the central body that is in the field of view of the sensor within that time interval.


Sensor Swath for above settings window

What if I want to make an area target from this swath?  Once the time interval is set up in the swath tool, you can use the Export GIS Shapefile utility from directly beneath Swath in the Sensor right-click menu.  From that utility, save the .shp file then insert a new area target using the From Shapefile (.shp) method.  Browse to the .shp file you just created, select it, and an area target will be created with the shape of the swath.


Area Target object created from Swath Shapefile