NASA's Visualization, Exploration, and Data Analysis (VEDA) project is an open-source science cyberinfrastructure for data processing, visualization, exploration, and geographic information systems (GIS) capabilities. Developed collaboratively and mostly reusing existing open-source components, VEDA consolidates GIS delivery mechanisms, processing platforms, analysis services, and visualization tools and provides an ecosystem of open tools for addressing Earth science research and application needs through the public-facing VEDA Dashboard.
Challenge and Solution
VEDA was born from the Earth science community's need for a common set of tools to provide exploration, interaction, analysis, and processing of Earth science data, especially for data that have been migrated to the commercial cloud. VEDA provides:
- A collaborative science environment for data analysis and exploration
- An interactive visual interface for storytelling
- Exploratory GIS and data analysis capabilities
- A dynamic scaling platform for large-scale processing
- A modeling and data assimilation infrastructure scaled through high performance computing and a cloud-based infrastructure
VEDA consists of three components that are interoperable: the Visualization and Interactive Exploration System (VisEx), a data analysis and processing platform (DPP), and GIS.
Visualization and Interactive Exploration (VisEx) System
The public-facing component of VEDA is the VisEx system. VisEx is an adaptation of NASA's COVID-19 Dashboard and a complementary tool to the existing NASA/ESA (European Space Agency)/JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) Earth Observing (EO) Dashboard. Its modified design and technology facilitates the use of Earth science data for environmental change storytelling and enables the visual exploration of data that are transformed into cloud-native formats. The system also supports simple data analysis on the browser along with scaling via Jupyter Notebooks. VisEx includes:
- A transformation of high-value NASA datasets to dynamic visualizations, enabling users to perform on-the-fly visual analysis of Earth science data
- The conversion of high value datasets to analysis-ready, cloud-optimized (ARCO) formats
- A repository of data-driven stories that are exportable in GIS formats
- An integration of NASA Earth observation data and socio-economic information designed to support environmental justice initiatives
- A situational awareness system that brings together Earth observation datasets related to greenhouse gasses, air quality, sea level rise, and much more
Data Analysis and Processing Platform (DPP)
VEDA's DPP works in the background to enable interactive, collaborative work with large Earth science data collections. The power of the DPP facilitates large-scale modeling and the development of new products while supporting collaborative tools such as Jupyter Notebooks. The DPP supports access to NASA's Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) data collection, existing ARCO datasets, and new products generated by NASA's Earth Information System (EIS).
Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
The vision of NASA's Earth Science Data Systems (ESDS) Program is to identify and deliver high value Earth science data in formats compliant and compatible with GIS standards and to ensure data are GIS-enabled through primary GIS platforms. VEDA's GIS component furthers this ESDS vision and meets the needs of the rapidly-growing GIS community to discover, access, and analyze NASA datasets by providing a consolidated, enterprise-scale, cloud-native GIS platform. Along with streamlining and standardizing ESDS GIS services, VEDA's GIS component enhances the delivery of EOSDIS GIS-ready data to users. It also delivers advanced GIS analysis capabilities online and generates custom, derived layers that can be explored using VisEx and other visualization tools. By collaborating with Esri and NASA's EOSDIS, VEDA supports Earthdata ArcGIS Enterprise in the cloud and the publication of high-value datasets to GIS catalogs.
The Beta version of the VEDA Dashboard features thematic areas including Environmental Justice and Air Quality. Additional features and thematic areas will be added over the next several months. In keeping with NASA’s open science policies, all VEDA project code repositories and associated documentation are publicly available and accessible via GitHub. Check the VEDA GitHub page or this landing page to learn about the latest system enhancements.