Until mid 2006, SCIAMACHY data processors for the operational retrieval of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) column data were based on the historical version 2 of the GOME Data Processor (GDP). On top of known problems inherent to GDP 2, ground-based validations of SCIAMACHY NO2 data revealed issues specific to SCIAMACHY, like a large cloud-dependent offset occurring at Northern latitudes. In 2006, the GDOAS prototype algorithm of the improved GDP version 4 was transferred to the off-line SCIAMACHY Ground Processor (SGP) version 3.0. In parallel, the calibration of SCIAMACHY radiometric data was upgraded. Before operational switch-on of SGP 3.0 and public release of upgraded SCIAMACHY NO2 data, we have investigated the accuracy of the algorithm transfer: (a) by checking the consistency of SGP 3.0 with prototype algorithms; and (b) by comparing SGP 3.0 NO2 data with ground-based observations reported by the WMO/GAW NDACC network of UV-visible DOAS/SAOZ spectrometers. This delta-validation study concludes that SGP 3.0 is a significant improvement with respect to the previous processor IPF 5.04. For three particular SCIAMACHY states, the study reveals unexplained features in the slant columns and air mass factors, although the quantitative impact on SGP 3.0 vertical columns is not significant.