Layer by Layer, NASA Worldview Continues to Improve

New features and enhancements to NASA Worldview make it even easier to interactively work with imagery layers to see your world, your way.

Note: The “Hide Unavailable” option described in this article has been removed with the release of Worldview 3.7.0 on 23 June 2020. Read about this latest Worldview release in the recent NASA Earthdata article New Imagery and Functionality Available in NASA Worldview.

Enhancements to the NASA Worldview interactive data visualization application over the next few months will provide new ways to work with the more than 900 data imagery layers available in Worldview through NASA’s Global Imagery Browse Services (GIBS). These improvements are rolling out in two phases. The first enhancements have just been released, and add many new features designed to improve data layer discovery, search, and filtering. The second round of new features will be released in March.

Screenshot of the bottom of the Worldview Layer List showing the orange
Some of the most visible improvements are to the Layer Picker, which appears when you click on the orange “Add Layers” button at the bottom of the Layer List (below red arrow in image at right). The Layer Picker enables users to search through more than 900 imagery layers using key words (such as aerosol optical depth, Terra, or dust) and find imagery layers related to these words. With a simple click, users can select the layer or layers they want and immediately have these selections added to the Layer List (which sits on the left side of the main Worldview screen).

Screenshot showing the Worldview Layer Picker with
With “Hide unavailable” layers selected (the default setting), only imagery available on the date you want to see will be displayed (19 results in this example). Turning off this feature shows all imagery search results (24 results in this example). Click on image for a larger version. NASA Worldview image.

Updates to the Layer Picker include a new “Hide unavailable” toggle button that makes it easy to see imagery that is available for the date you’re seeking. Let’s say you want to add a Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) snow cover layer from NASA’s Terra Earth observing satellite acquired on February 24, 2020. After first setting the image date in the lower left corner of the Worldview screen to read “2020 Feb 24,” click the “Add Layers” button and type “snow” in the search box at the top of the Layer Picker. With “Hide unavailable” selected, which is the default setting, the search results return only imagery layers that are available for February 24, 2020 (or whichever date you select). Toggling off “Hide unavailable” shows all results, including imagery that is not available for the date you selected.

Screenshot showing list of Worldview layers on left side with the second layer selected. To the right is a panel with a preview of the layer showing the title of the layer at the top. Below this from top to bottom is a thumbnail of the layer image, a small orange box with

Clicking on the row for a layer pulls up another new enhancement: the ability to see a preview of the selected layer. This layer preview includes a layer description, a preview image, and the option to add the layer to the Worldview Layer List (or remove the layer) by clicking on the orange “Add Layer”/“Remove Layer” button under the preview thumbnail (as seen in the image at right).

Another new Worldview feature improves the usability of imagery layers that feature classification types, such as Land Cover Type, Anthropogenic Biomes, and Human Built-up and Settlement Extent. Users can now select the specific classification types in which they are interested by turning classification values on or off while interactively exploring an image.

For example, if you’re specifically interested in looking at the extent of evergreen needleleaf forests and grasslands and the proximity of these land cover types to urban areas you can turn off all the classification layers not related to these criteria. Type “Land Cover Type” in the Layer Picker search box and select the Land Cover Type layer (L3, IGBP, Yearly) to add it to your Layer List (note that the Land Cover Type layer is only available from 2001 to 2018, so you may need to adjust the year on the bottom of the screen to display this layer).

Two images arranged vertically. Top image shows Land Classification layer with a red arrow pointing to the layer options icon in the layer box; to the right is a drop-down menu showing all land type classification layers with toggles to turn layers on or off. All layers are on and the resulting image displays a map with all classification colors. Bottom image shows same map with only Evergreen Needleleaf Forests, Grasslands, and Urban and Built-up areas selected with the resulting three-color classifications displayed to the right.

In the Land Cover Type layer, click on the layer options icon in the upper right corner (red arrow and circle in upper image at right) and a box appears with toggles allowing you to turn a land type classification layer on or off. Disable all layers except for Evergreen Needleleaf Forests, Grasslands, and Urban and Built-up Lands. The image is now updated to display only the three classification types you just selected (lower image at right; click on image for larger view). You easily can add or hide classification types using the toggles as you interactively explore the image.

The next round of enhancements to NASA Worldview are scheduled to go live in late-March, and will feature additional new layers and features. These include further enhancements to the Layer Picker and a new timeline feature to enable users to easily assess the temporal availability of all loaded imagery layers. Stay tuned for more details about these exciting enhancements that will make it even easier for you to see your world, your way using NASA Worldview!

Published February 26, 2020

Updated June 23, 2020

Last Updated
Nov 4, 2020