A Global Showcase for NASA GIS Resources: The Esri User Conference

NASA geographic information systems (GIS) resources were front and center at the Esri international User Conference in July 2023. Multiple NASA Earth science teams demonstrated the many GIS capabilities provided by the agency.
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Stylized globe on left with the word esri in all lowercase black text on right.

NASA Earth science teams showcased the agency's latest geographic information systems (GIS) capabilities at the Esri international User Conference in July 2023. The week-long conference, the largest global GIS meeting, attracted nearly 18,000 in-person attendees, with an additional 20,000 participants attending remotely.

At a NASA Earth Science User Group meeting, the NASA Earth Science Data Systems (ESDS) Program GIS Team (EGIST) demonstrated ESDS resources such as Data Pathfinders, NASA Worldview, Earthdata Search, and Earthdata GIS (EGIS). Additionally, the Understanding Needs to Broaden Outside Use of NASA Data (UNBOUND) project workshop series was introduced.

NASA Earth science representatives presented at sessions including Leveraging Python Multiprocessing to Manage a Multi-Petabyte Raster Archive, Increase Data Accessibility with GIS, A Burnt Landscape: Using ArcGIS to Determine Historical Fire Regimes, and GIS Enables Fire & Water Research Collaboration and Data Access. Additional presentations were conducted by representatives from NASA's Applied Sciences Program and the agency's Office of the Chief Science Data Officer.

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Image of NASA booth at Esri with numerous people standing in front and one NASA representative inside the booth interacting with visitors
NASA Earth science representatives demonstrated NASA GIS resources at the 2023 Esri User Conference. The NASA booth received approximately 750 engagements from visitors during the event. Credit: NASA EGIST.

The NASA Earth Science booth in the conference expo area was a center of activity. Eight teams from NASA's Earth Science Division were on hand to describe agency GIS resources to representatives from a wide variety of GIS user communities, including U.S. and foreign government agencies, academia, and the private sector.

The vision of NASA's ESDS Program is to identify and deliver high-value Earth science data in formats compliant and compatible with GIS standards; to ensure data are interactive, interoperable, accessible, and GIS-enabled through primary GIS platforms; and to provide the maximum impact to research, education, and public user communities requiring data visualization and spatial analysis.

A recent Space Act Agreement (SAA) between NASA and Esri is making NASA Earth science data increasingly available to more than 10 million users of GIS software in ArcGIS and open geospatial consortium (OGC)-based formats. The NASA Earth science team met with Esri representatives during the conference to discuss future activities under the SAA to further promote discoverability of NASA Earth observation data through Esri's Living Atlas of the World.