ESDS Program

Memberships and Affiliations

NASA's Earth Science Data Systems (ESDS) Program supports and enhances the goals of several international and national organizations dedicated to Earth science and standards development.

The World Data System (WDS) is an Interdisciplinary Body of the International Science Council (ISC). As a WDS member, NASA's Earth Science Data and Information System (ESDIS) Project helps support these WDS goals: WDS strives to become a worldwide community of excellence for scientific data, with searchable common data directories and catalogs, to ensure the long-term stewardship and provision of quality-assessed data and data services to the international science community.

ESDIS has been a Network Member of WDS since January 2013. As a Network Member, ESDIS is an umbrella body representing Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) Distributed Active Archive Centers (DAACs), all of which are Regular Members of WDS.

ESDIS seeks to leverage and augment investments made in international coordination bodies that help to improve science access to key observation data sets. One of the primary organizations is the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS). Established in 1984 with NASA as one of the founding members, CEOS coordinates civil space-borne observations of Earth. There are over 50 participating space agencies, national, and international organizations that strive to enhance international coordination and data exchange and to optimize societal benefit. ESDIS supports several team members as active participants within the CEOS Working Group on Information Systems and Services (WGISS). WGISS activities focus on the data system mechanisms and practices to improve data sharing and access, and ESDIS is involved in several WGISS activities including the Technology Exploration Interest Group, the International Directory Network (IDN), the Atmospheric Composition Interest Group (ACIG), and the CEOS WGISS Integrated Catalog (CWIC) Project.

CWIC is being developed by WGISS to provide a framework that allows for easier search and access of Earth observation data via partnering of CEOS agency data systems. For these partnering agencies, CWIC provides a single point of search and access. CWIC is a virtual clearinghouse of spatial, temporal, and science keyword metadata that brokers access to Earth observation data by interoperating with data archives of other agencies and countries. CWIC is envisioned to be a community catalog for satellite data that will provide search and access to satellite data within an integrated view of multiple providers of satellite data holdings.

The ESDIS middleware system is called the Common Metadata Repository (CMR). CMR is a key data provider for CWIC and will offer search and access to all of NASA’s unrestricted Earth observation data. Other partners include NOAA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation, the Indian Space Research Organisation, INPE – National Institute for Space Research, USGS, the Academy of Opto-Electronics, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Beijing-1, the National Satellite Meteorological Center/FENGYUNCast, the China Centre for Resources Satellite Data and Application), with more coming. The International Directory Network (IDN) is part of NASA's contribution to CEOS and other international Earth science efforts. It extends the IDN capabilities for use by interagency and international collaborators. IDN offers directory-level search functionality for CWIC.

Several operational clients (e.g., Land Surface Imaging Portal, the Canadian Center for Remote Sensing CEOCat3, and the Group on Earth Observation Data Access Broker) are able to provide search and access to satellite data via CWIC. The CWIC team works with the ESA (European Space Agency) Federated Earth Observation missions access team to develop a common interface protocol that enables interoperable access to their respective collections.

The federal government includes NASA as a participant in the Group on Earth Observations (GEO). GEO is a voluntary partnership of governments and international organizations initiated in 2002 that provides a framework within which governments can develop new projects and coordinate their strategies and investments for environmental societal benefit. ESDIS staff support the development of data system interfaces and other services from NASA systems to those being developed with GEO including the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). ESDIS participation is intended to further leverage our in-house capabilities and data access tools providing an efficient means for data access from our non-US partners and increased data access for our NASA and US science communities.

ESDIS also participates with the Quality Assurance Framework for Earth Observation (QA4EO) initiative that was endorsed by CEOS as a contribution to facilitate the GEO vision for a Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). QA4EO was established to facilitate interoperability of GEO systems, and is based on the adoption of guiding principles, which are implemented through a set of key operational guidelines derived from best practices, for implementation by the GEO community.

Improving the interoperability and access to environmental data and related services across US government agencies is an ongoing ESDIS Project goal. To this end, ESDIS has active membership in the United States Group on Earth Observations (USGEO) Architecture and Data Management (ADM) committee. USGEO was established in 2005 under the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy's Committee on Environment and Natural Resources to lead federal efforts to achieve a national Integrated Earth Observation Systems.

The Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) is a broad-based community comprised of researchers and associated groups of more than 110 organizations that produce, interpret, and develop applications for Earth and environmental science data. Although conceived and begun under the auspices of NASA, ESIP now includes sponsorship from other federal agencies. This venue provides ESDIS with a diverse forum for exploring and collaboration on data system activities.

ESDIS also participates in and helps advise on the use of data standards including data formats, data transport, metadata standards, and content standards for archive and preservation. This effort involves work with three key organizations:

ESDIS is a member of the U.S. Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), a U.S. government committee that promotes the coordinated development, use, sharing, and dissemination of geospatial data on a national basis. ESDIS actively interacts and participates in the development of remote sensing data standards through the FGDC in order to foster more efficient use, management, and production of geospatial data.

ESDIS has always fostered the evolution and adoption of data systems standards in support of the long-term preservation of digital information obtained from Earth observations. As a member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), a voluntary international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations, ESDIS periodically assembles teams of data systems and metadata experts to analyze requirements and recommend best approaches for adopting various ISO series of standards for describing the data and services offered by NASA's Earth Science Data Systems (ESDS) Program. NASA has recognized the advantages of adopting ISO metadata standards for future Earth observing missions, and the EOSDIS DAACs have also recognized these advantages.

ESDIS is a member of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), an international voluntary consensus standards organization. In 1994 (when OGC was then called the OpenGIS Consortium), NASA initiated a cooperative agreement, the goal of which was to to model interoperable visual environments and demonstrate the OpenGIS principles. NASA's funding allowed OGC to grow and develop a robust technical governance process. NASA has continued to fund and participate in OGC testbed activities and technical steering, including the OGC Web Services (OWCtestbeds (where participating technology providers conduct standards development that is aligned with their product development programs) and collaboration with other standards and technical committees. ESDIS helps to review and suggest modifications to existing standards so that our users can benefit from the adoption and use of agreed to standards and protocols related to environmental data and services.

Last Updated
Feb 12, 2021