Ground resolvable distance (GRD) provides the system designer with an end-to-end system performance measure to allocate electro-optical sensor design budgets to the engineering disciplines. Laboratory performance for sensor design parameters is defined in terms of modulation transfer function and noise equivalent differential radiance. Linking GRD to sensor design parameters provides management and engineering with the tool to assess the influence of a single system component to total system performance. Although ultimately sensor imaging performance for reconnaissance is measured by the National Imagery Interpretability Rating Scale (NIIRS), engineering prefers GRD since it can be predicted by analysis, measured in the field, and traced to laboratory measurements of system components. The general image quality equation can be used to estimate the expected average NIIRS rating from the same system analysis parameters used to calculate GRD.