Remote sensing of the polarized light emitted or reflected from a scene has the potential to improve object detection, object identification, or to enhance images. The need to accurately measure individual Stokes components depends on the application. In all applications, it is desirable to estimate the uncertainty associated with Stokes images. A process is described that uses an instrument computer simulation to compute expected uncertainties in imaging polarimeter data. The simulation takes measured and/or estimated uncertainties in individual instrument components and propagates them to evaluate their effect on the Stokes measurement. Individual uncertainties are then combined to obtain an overall uncertainty estimate for the given Stokes input. Methods of visualizing the effect of instrument uncertainty on various Stokes input states are also described.