Earthdata Search

Earthdata Search is the gateway for search and discovery of NASA Earth science data.


side by side images of Africa (left) and from the SRTM (right)
This image from Earthdata Search shows a geolocation map of Africa (left) and a NASA Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) image of the Zambia-Democratic Republic of the Congo area captured in February 2000 (right). Earthdata Search offers users the ability to select locations on a map to find corresponding data. The above imagery is part of the NASA Making Earth System Data Records for Use in Research Environments (MEaSUREs) SRTM product developed by NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC). Credit: NASA's LP DAAC.

Earthdata Search provides sub-second searches through more than 90 petabytes (PB) of Earth observation data in NASA’s archive. The application is backed by NASA’s Common Metadata Repository (CMR) and eases the technical burden on users by providing a high-quality tool that makes it simple to discover and interact with Earth observation data created or distributed by NASA. 

Earthdata Search and CMR enable search and discovery of NASA Earth observation data as well as data previously only available through the Global Change Master Directory, including data from NOAA, ESA (European Space Agency), JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), and ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization). Please note that some data services available through NASA’s Earth Science Data and Information System (ESDIS) Project may not work with non-NASA partner data.

Accessing Earthdata Search

Get started with Earthdata Search by creating an Earthdata Login account. An Earthdata Login is required to download NASA Earth science data and provides an improved user experience, including single sign-on, the ability to receive news/notifications on data and services, and greater support for customizable interfaces, context awareness, saved preferences. Once logged in to Earthdata Search, users can download data collections or granules directly or add them to a project profile. (If users cannot find the data they want, they may need to check their Earthdata Login profile for an applicable End User License Agreement, EULA, that must be signed. Most data holdings do not require a EULA, but some do.)

Using Earthdata Search

earthdata search screenshot showing global map with text overlain on left side and colored bars along bottom showing dates data are available
This image from Earthdata Search shows the results of a dataset query overlaid across a clickable geolocation map of Earth. Credit: NASA.

Through Earthdata Search, users can filter datasets labeled as “customizable” to subsets or extract layers before downloading. Data are serviced by the data providers on the back-end, which means Earthdata Search can be a one-stop shop for Earth observation data without the need to go to multiple data providers to request and download data. 

Users can save and share their projects and create subscriptions in Earthdata Search to notify them when new data that meet their subscription's parameters are available. In addition, users can customize their own personal Earthdata Search preferences. For example, users can re-configure default settings, such as sorting keys or map views. The Alert bell in the upper right corner of the Earthdata main window contains pertinent messages and alerts from data providers, such as when a dataset has an issue or an outage. 

Filtering Data

With a simple click of a box, end users can filter searches by many data topics and types to find what they’re looking for from the more than 54,000 collections (and more than 1 billion distinct data segments or “granules”) curated by NASA’s Distributed Active Archive Centers (DAACs). Earthdata Search filters include: 

  • Temporal range
  • Science keyword
  • Platform
  • Instrument
  • Processing level
  • Data format
  • Horizontal resolution
  • Latency
  • Whether or not data are cloud-based
  • Ability to customize data

Key Features of Earthdata Search

Auto-Populated Search Suggestions

Earthdata Search includes a free-text search bar in the upper left corner of the home page that offers auto-complete suggestions to help find and select the right terms or features. 

Search Portals

Earthdata Search has more than a dozen Search Portals, which are instances with a pre-filtered subset of data, usually by topic or project. Search Portals include the Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE), NASA’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory DAAC (ORNL DAAC), and the Satellite Needs Working Group (SNWG). Users can easily find and navigate between portals via the Browse Portals option. 


Earthdata Search results include RESTful URLs, which are links that include the original search filters and results to be shared with other users.

Ordered Results

Search results can be ordered by:

  • Relevance 
  • Usage 
  • Start or End Dates

Search results can be viewed as a list or as a table and can be exported as comma-separated value (csv) files. This is especially useful for anyone wanting to spot-check which data are available for a given search criteria.

Helpful Metadata

Metadata are the who, what, when, where, why, and how of archived data. Earthdata Search provides a splash page featuring collection and granule metadata highlights, with the full metadata record or landing page only a click away. Additionally, other associated metadata, such as related collections or applicable analysis tools, are also included in search results. If a tool metadata record is properly configured and associated to a collection, Earthdata Search enables a Smart Handoff that will open a relevant data tool with that particular collection and spatial/temporal filter context pre-populated. 

Web-Based Data Visualizations

Earthdata Search uses NASA’s Global Imagery Browse Services (GIBS) to provide data visualizations on a web-based map for granule-based visualizations. Even more precise map imagery and thumbnails are available for GIBS-enabled data collections, allowing users to see and further confirm that the data they find are what they need.

Learning Resources

The learning resources below provide more information about the many features of Earthdata Search and how users can most efficiently use this system. As with all NASA data, products, and tools, Earthdata Search is constantly evolving, and new features are added in response to user needs.

  • Earthdata Search FAQ: This Earthdata page provides a range of information including step-by-step instructions for completing single-granule to customized data searches and downloads
  • Earthdata Forum: The Forum is a centralized location to ask questions and get expert answers about NASA Earth science data, services, and tools
  • Earthdata Search Webinar: This webinar provides demonstrations on how to discover, access, and customize datasets using Earthdata Search
  • Data Pathfinders:  More than a dozen Data Pathfinders provide detailed information about finding, using, visualizing, and applying commonly used datasets and resources from across NASA’s Earth science data collections
  • NASA Worldview: The Worldview Earth science data visualizing and mapping tool allows users to interactively browse more than 1,000 global, full-resolution satellite imagery layers—some in near real-time—and download the underlying data using their Earthdata Login
  • NASA Earthdata YouTube Channel: The channel offers a wide range of videos that guide users in how to use popular tools and resources from across the agency
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