NASA’s Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) has been a central component of the NASA Earth observation program since the 1990s, providing end-to-end capabilities for managing NASA Earth science data from various sources— satellites, aircraft, field measurements, and various other programs. And although the system has undergone significant changes over the past 27 years, one thing has remained constant: the global user community’s satisfaction with EOSDIS products and services. For proof of that, one need only look to the 2022 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) survey of EOSDIS data, products, and services. In the 2022 ASCI survey, EOSDIS received a Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) score of 79 out of 100. This is a slight decrease from the 2021 score of 81, but shows that, despite minor fluctuations, satisfaction with EOSDIS products and services remains consistent.
The ACSI survey is administered by the CFI Group, an independent organization contracted by the federal government to assess user satisfaction with products and services at numerous federal agencies, including the National Weather Service, the General Services Administration, and the U.S. Department of Education. Its aim is to measure customer satisfaction with EOSDIS at a national level for each Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC) and identify the key areas that NASA can leverage across the DAACs to continuously improve service to its customers (i.e., data users). Among the areas it examines are customer support, product selection and order, product search, product documentation, product quality, and product delivery.
To calculate the CSI score, the model uses a set of causal equations linking customer expectations, perceived quality, and perceived value to customer satisfaction. Satisfaction, in turn, is further linked to a customer’s likelihood to recommend products and services and their willingness to use products and services in the future.
As one might expect, when customers are highly satisfied with products and services, it results in trust and loyalty. This is accounted for in the ACSI algorithm and reflected by a number indicating the customer’s likelihood of recommending the evaluated products and services to others, coupled with the likelihood of a customer to use the services in the future. NASA EOSDIS’ CSI score of 79 indicates a high level of satisfaction with its products and services. Given that the CSI score is an aggregate of several scores (calculated using the proprietary ACSI methodology), scores in the upper-70s represent “strong” performance, especially when maintained over several years. Likewise, increases in CSI scores of just a few points can denote a significant increase in user satisfaction.
NASA’s EOSDIS has never received a CSI score lower than 74 since the first EOSDIS ACSI survey was conducted in 2004. Further, in all previous surveys spanning nearly 20 years, NASA’s EOSDIS outscored the federal government, which in 2021 received a CSI score of 63. Over the past four years, CSI scores for EOSDIS DAACs ranged from 74 to 84, with an average aggregate CSI of 79.
The results from the annual ACSI survey provide something of a blueprint that the DAACs and NASA’s Earth Science Data and Information System (ESDIS) Project, which manages EOSDIS science operations, can use to tailor their products and services so they better align with and serve user needs.
The score pertaining to respondents’ “likelihood to recommend EOSDIS products and services” — 87 out of 100 — was two points lower than the score received in the 2021 survey. Similarly, the score pertaining to respondents’ “likelihood to use EOSDIS services in the future” — 88 out of 100 — was one point lower than in the 2021 survey. Yet, despite the small decrease, these rankings reveal that EOSDIS continues to provide products and services its users value.
The high regard customers have for EOSDIS products and services is also borne out by the high scores given to what the ACSI survey identifies as three significant drivers of customer satisfaction: product documentation, customer support, and product quality. In the 2022 survey, EOSDIS product documentation was the lowest rated satisfaction driver with a score of 83. Customer support received a satisfaction score of 85 and product quality was the highest-rated satisfaction driver at 87. When taken together, these scores indicate that EOSDIS customers have a positive experience when using NASA EOSDIS products and services.
The 2022 ACSI survey was conducted online between September 26 and October 24, 2022. Of the 765,750 survey invitations sent out, 4,582 completed surveys were returned for a response rate of 0.6%. By comparison, 758,000 survey invitations were sent out in 2020, resulting in 9,178 completed surveys for a response rate of 1.2%.
ESDIS, which coordinates and facilitates the annual ACSI survey, returned to the “long-form” version of the survey for 2022, which is designed to ask more detailed and in-depth questions allowing for a more complete survey of EOSDIS products and services. The abridged or “short-form” version of the survey questionnaire used in 2021 was created to introduce some variation into this annual accounting of EOSDIS customer satisfaction and prevent survey fatigue among respondents while continuing the nearly 20-year record of results. As its name implies, the short form has fewer questions and takes less time to complete than the longer survey (approximately 5 minutes vs. 15-20 minutes for the longer survey).
Starting with the 2019 survey, the ESDIS Project began alternating short-form surveys with the more detailed longer surveys as a way to maintain continuity with questions from the longer surveys. So, whereas the 2021 survey used the short-form questionnaire and the 2022 survey used the long-form, EOSDIS will return to the short-form survey in 2023, and so on.
Outside of three survey questions asking respondents to rate their overall expectations, perceived quality, and perceived value of EOSDIS services and products on a scale of 1 to 10, the survey asked respondents to evaluate their experience with the specific DAAC or DAACs from which they obtain data. The survey allowed respondents to skip questions pertaining to DAACs they did not consult with or contact, and allowed respondents to provide open-ended comments that provide EOSDIS with valuable insights regarding their likes, dislikes, and thoughts on suggested improvements. These user comments are one of the most valuable aspects of the survey, as DAAC managers can use them to assess user needs and look across DAACs to gain insight into user preferences and best practices.
In the following summary tables, total percentages may not equal 100% due to survey questions allowing for multiple responses; all non-percentage values are out of 100.
Customer Satisfaction and Data User Type
As in past surveys, respondents self-identifying as Earth Science Researchers made up the majority of EOSDIS data users (34%), followed by University Graduate Students (26%) and General Public (21%). These percentages are similar to those of the 2021 survey, except in the case of respondents identifying as members of the General Public, who comprised 16% of users in 2021, marking a 5% increase between 2021 and 2022. On the contrary, University Graduate Students and Earth Science Researchers made up 28% and 38% of users in 2021, and those numbers decreased slightly to 26% and 34%, respectively.
In regard to user satisfaction, University Professors report the highest satisfaction with EOSDIS products and services, with a 2022 CSI of 82. Earth Science Researchers reported the second-highest level of user satisfaction, with a CSI of 80. Several user types—Elementary, Middle, and High School Teachers; University Undergraduate and Graduate Students; Other Education and Outreach personnel; NASA Earth Science Modelers; NASA Science Team Members; and Data Providers, Tool Developers, and Decision Support Systems Analysts—reported the lowest satisfaction with EOSDIS products and services with a CSI score of 78. However, a score of 78 is still considered “strong” based on ACSI survey methodology.
CSI Scores by Research Discipline or Study Area
Approximately two-thirds of ACSI survey respondents (67%) indicated that they used EOSDIS data and services in the study of land processes. Atmosphere (38%), Ocean (20%), Biosphere (18%), Near Real-Time Applications (18%), and Space Geodesy (17%) comprised other popular uses of EOSDIS data and services.
CSI Score by DAAC
NASA’s EOSDIS is comprised of 12 DAACs that manage, archive, and distribute a variety of discipline-specific Earth science data to users around the globe. For example, data from the Atmospheric Science Data Center (ASDC) pertain to the atmosphere, data from the Land Processes DAAC (LP DAAC) apply to land processes, and data from the Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center DAAC (SEDAC) pertain to human interactions with the environment. Each year, ACSI survey respondents are asked to evaluate their experience and satisfaction with the specific DAAC or DAACs from which they receive data, products, and services, and CSI scores are computed for each DAAC based on these individual DAAC survey responses. All DAACs achieved CSIs between 74 and 84, with a strong average aggregate DAAC CSI score of 78.
NASA’s Alaska Satellite Facility DAAC (ASF DAAC) received an 84, the highest CSI score of the 2022 survey, while the Oak Ridge National Laboratory DAAC (ORNL DAAC) received the and the second-highest CSI score of 82. The Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center (GES DISC) and the National Snow and Ice Data Center DAAC (NSIDC DAAC) received the third-highest CSI scores of the 2022 survey at 80. Although almost all DAACS saw their customer satisfaction scores drop one to two points between the 2021 and 2022 surveys, the Crustal Dynamics Data Information System (CDDIS) saw the largest positive change in CSI score between 2021 and 2022, moving 3 points from 76 to 79. Readers should note, however, that fluctuations in DAAC CSI scores are common as the DAACs routinely work to improve their services to meet the needs of their user communities.
Thanks to user participation, the evaluations and comments from the 2022 EOSDIS ACSI survey will enhance existing products and services and spur the development of new ones. And based on the nearly two decades of survey results, users can be assured that the ESDIS Project and NASA’s DAACs will continue delivering products and services of the highest quality.
Would you like to participate in the 2023 ACSI survey? If so, you can request that your email address be added to the list of survey recipients via the DAAC or DAACs from which you acquire NASA Earth science data.
A summary of the 2022 EOSDIS ACSI report, along with summaries of all EOSDIS ACSI surveys dating back to the first survey in 2004, are available on the ACSI Reports page in the System Performance and Metrics section of the Earthdata website. Full reports are available upon request.