ESDS Program

Enabling Web-Based GIS Tools for Internet and Mobile Devices To Improve and Expand NASA Data Accessibility and Analysis Functionality for Renewable Energy and Agricultural Applications

Principal Investigator (PI): Paul Stackhouse, ASDC

In the mid-1990s, an effort began that eventually involved collaboration with the Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Natural Resources Canada RETScreen, and numerous other partners in industry and universities to make progressively improved NASA science data products available for renewable energy and other energy related applications over the internet. In 2002, NASA Applied Science projects were initiated providing a more focused effort to accomplish the goal of empowering energy related decision support tools using NASA meteorological and climate-related data sets. This resulted in a systematically improved web portal called the Surface meteorology and Solar Energy, that aimed to make long-term solar energy and meteorological data sets available to Energy sector related industries, including sustainable buildings and agroclimatology.

The web usage of these tools in terms of numbers of users and data delivered has grown nearly exponentially at times. The success of the web site was found in the provision of data sets via ASCII on a site specific basis for use in decision support tools. However, in the last few years there has been a change in the user requests for more geographically based information. This coupled with recent changes in web site security procedures that reduced capabilities of the current site necessitates a significant upgrade to continue disseminating data sets for energy and agricultural uses.

NASA's Atmospheric Science Data Center (ASDC) has initiated a pilot program for the agency to make available off-the-shelf Geographic Information System (GIS) tools. These GIS tools enable the visualization and data analysis of data sets that provide for a more convenient way to access and use the data for individual needs and decision support systems while retaining the ability to obtain data parameters for a single location. A large number of government and industrial agencies use GIS tools for data analysis. Additionally, there are many new tools for mobile GIS applications where decisions are required in the field, such as in energy industry applications. This proposal, aims to open up to government agencies, industry and individuals a large suite of data parameters produced from NASA science projects and tailored specifically to the renewable energy and agricultural industries to greatly expand the accessibility and usefulness of these parameters for decision support systems utilizing a GIS based SSE by:

  1. Process and reformulate current data to be consistent with ESRI and OpenGIS tools useful for decision support systems.
  2. Develop functions to improve capability and analysis that mimic the capabilities of the current site to produce on-the-fly data products, extending these past the single location to regional and global scales.
  3. Update the current web sites to enable both web-based and mobile application displays of these parameters, the latter of which will be optimized to the mobile platform independent of its type.
  4. Interact with user communities in government and industry to test formats and usage or optimization and develop a series of metrics to allow for monitoring of performance.

A major expected significance on the inclusion of GIS with SSE will be the development of Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) compliant web services (Web Mapping Service [WMS], Web Coverage Service [WCS], Web Feature Service [WFS], Web Processing Service [WPS]) to serve a part of the renewable energy and agricultural application users relying upon GIS services and tools. Each data product and OGC service will be registered within the EOS Clearinghouse (ECHO), the Geospatial Platform, and so that the data are easily discoverable within NASA as well as external to NASA. The Geospatial Platform and are both efforts to provide wider access to geospatial data, services, and applications for use by government agencies as well as the public. This will support cross agency and cross organization interoperability and access to NASA SSE data products and services.

Last Updated
Feb 18, 2020