ESDS Program Highlights 2018. Also available as a PDF.

In 2018, NASA's Earth Science Data Systems (ESDS) Program continued to evolve its capabilities through improving communications with users, adopting new technologies, and supporting vibrant competitive research elements. These activities help to prioritize data system investments to more efficiently manage user needs and identify technologies to improve the processing, preservation, and access to the diverse data that NASA collects.


Earth Observing System and Data Information System (EOSDIS) Growth

Chart showing growth in EOSDIS data archive 2000-2018.

The EOSDIS data archive is growing at an extraordinary pace. At the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, the volume of data in the EOSDIS archive was more than 27.5 petabytes (PB). More than 1.61 billion EOSDIS data products were distributed in FY 2018, with 4.4 million users accessing EOSDIS data and services worldwide.

In 2018, EOSDIS supported the launch and early operations of the Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) mission. Data from several new instruments and missions were added to Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC) archives, including the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) on the European Space Agency (ESA) Sentinel-5P satellite, Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1/NOAA-20), ESA's Sentinel-3B, and the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On ( GRACE- FO), as well as two new instruments on the International Space Station (ISS): Total and Spectral solar Irradiance Sensor-1 (TSIS-1) and ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS). In 2019, EOSDIS will be preparing for the upcoming deployment of Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) and Orbiting Climate Observatory (OCO-3) to the International Space Station (ISS).


Investing in the Cloud

Interagency Implementation and Concepts Team (IMPACT) logo

A legacy of open data and investment in innovative technology manifested across several ESDS projects and initiatives in 2018. Strategic investments focusing on cloud innovation led to the charter of the Interagency Implementation and Advanced Concepts Team (IMPACT) which will partner with other Federal agencies, the applications community, decision makers, non-governmental organizations, and other organizations to demonstrate the potential of cloud computing. In response to the projected rapid growth of data volumes in the EOSDIS archive, ESDS has begun development and testing of "Cumulus," an open source, cloud-based framework for data ingest, archive, management, and distribution. The Cumulus infrastructure was also used by IMPACT machine learning experts to develop a deep learning-based hurricane intensity estimation portal.


Earth Observations from Private Sector Small-Satellite Constellations

NASA is obtaining access to commercial satellite data to assess the utility of this information in achieving goals and objectives related to NASA's Earth Science Division Research and Analysis (R&A) and Applied Sciences (AS) Programs and any associated decision-support applications. The overall objective of the pilot is to determine the viability of purchasing science data products that are directly related or lead to Essential Climate Variables (ECV) from American commercial market vendors.

On September 28, 2018 NASA awarded three vendors for the Small Constellations Satellite Data Buy Pilot: Spire Global, Inc., Planet Labs, Inc., and DigitalGlobe, Inc. There is a robust plan in place to evaluate the utility of the data with results expected in early 2020.


New Missions

EOSDIS partners with data creators and providers to archive and distribute Earth science data to a global community of millions of users. EOSDIS offers this service through discipline-specific and common tools, at no cost to the data provider, with the added benefit of protecting data from disaster and technology obsolescence. In 2018, EOSDIS updated all of the relevant processes, policies, standards, and documents that proposing data producers must complete as part of the data submission process.

Support for Orbital and Airborne Missions
2018 saw continued focus on airborne missions. The Airborne Data Management Group (ADMG), along with the Earth System Science Pathfinder (ESSP) program office began providing support for Earth Venture Suborbital-3 (EVS-3) missions.


Competitive Programs

ESDS drives innovation through competitive programs such as Advancing Collaborative Connections for Earth System Science (ACCESS), Citizen Science for Earth Systems Program (CSESP), and Making Earth System Data Records for Use in Research Environments (MEaSUREs). In 2018, the ten ACCESS 2015 projects presented their final work, resulting in more than 30 peer-reviewed publications. Five ACCESS 2017 projects began their work, while six CSESP projects were selected for implementation and several MEaSUREs projects entered their final year.


Science Tools and Portals

Science portals comprehensively address and communicate information about a specific science issue in collaboration with research and analysis programs. The first of these portals, the Sea Level Change Portal ( SLCP) provides a one-stop source for data, analysis tools, and simulations relevant to sea level rise. Several new datasets were added to the portal in 2018. In 2019, new tools will be added, including a projection tool, a coastal sea level budget tool, and an update of the Data Analysis Tool.

The Sea Level Change Portal’s Data Analysis Tool enables regional statistical analysis, time series analysis, and comparison.

Strategic Partnerships

ESDS is an active participant in a number of partnerships, with particular focus on climate data in 2018 and beyond.

A joint NASA/European Space Agency (ESA) team reached the first set of milestones for the development of a pilot phase Multi-Mission Algorithm and Analysis Platform ( MAAP)—a collaborative project focused on improving the understanding of global aboveground terrestrial carbon dynamics. The MAAP platform enables scientists to access essential NASA and ESA data and provides the tools and computing power necessary to analyze these data. The team successfully demonstrated initial interoperability in December 2018 and are currently working towards a second delivery in April 2019.

As part of NASA's Earth Science Public Private Partnerships program, ESDS and the Google Earth Engine (GEE) team are collaborating to create tools that will support NASA in its efforts to maintain and improve data availability and accessibility to all users.

NASA participated in the Joint Committee on Earth Observation Satellites/Coordination Group for Meteorological Satellite (CEOS/CGMS) Working Group on Climate (WGClimate) to produce a bi-annual inventory of Essential Climate Variables (ECV). The current bi-annual ECV inventory request began in 2018.

NASA's Earth Science Data and Information System (ESDIS) Project supported NASA’s Research and Analysis program by contributing to the Coordination Group for Meteorological Satellites ( CGMS) WGII (satellite data and products) Agency Data Products Report.


Advances in Data Visualization

NASA's Global Imagery Browse Services (GIBS) and Worldview continued to gain popularity, with over 15,000 daily users. Imagery from the Worldview mapping platform was used in hundreds of news articles, blog posts, research articles, and other media. Worldview was selected as NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s FY 2018 Software of the Year Award winner, and was featured prominently at NASA’s Earth Day 2018 events.

Tropical Cyclone Idai in the Mozambique Channel. Image captured by the VIIRS instrument aboard the joint NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP satellite on 11 March 2019, shown in Worldview.

Engaging a Worldwide User Community

The EOSDIS Communications team collaborated across the program to generate 13 Earth science data discovery and data access webinars. Roughly 1,200 participants from over 200 countries actively participated in the live presentations and several thousand views of the recorded content were viewed on NASA's Earthdata YouTube channel.


2018 Data User Profile Yearbook- Cover

Complementing the webinars, 36 articles were published on NASA's Earthdata website. These articles covered a wide range of topics—from short announcements about new EOSDIS and DAAC products and services to feature articles focusing on cloud computing and mission milestones, such as the 100,000th orbit of NASA’s Terra satellite. The Earthdata Data User Profile series, now in its fifth year, showcases the breadth of work NASA Earth observing data enables.

NASA's Earth Science Division collaborated with the Google Earth team to produce four stories in 2018 for the Google Earth Voyager platform. Three of the stories were based on imagery from the new NASA book, "Earth"—"Waterways from Space," "Ice & Snow from Space," and "Landforms." "Earth at Night," featuring NASA's "Black Marble" data and imagery, was also published in 2018 and received 1.2 million views, making it one of the top five most-viewed stories on the Voyager platform.

"Earth at Night" on the Google Earth Voyager platform.
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