Celebrate GIS Day 2022

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) provide powerful capabilities for visualizing, analyzing, and interacting with Earth science data.

November 16 is GIS Day! GIS stands for Geographic Information Systems, and today we celebrate this innovative technology that allows us to see our world through a spatial lens. GIS provides an intuitive way to gather, visualize, and analyze geographic information to help us better understand patterns, trends, and phenomena based on their location. NASA uses GIS to visualize Earth observation data collected from a constellation of satellites integrated with other information to analyze relationships and impacts in areas across the globe.

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; 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. To further these goals, ESDS created the ESDS GIS Team (EGIST) to enable the appropriate use and adoption of GIS technology in support of Earth science research and applied science for data in NASA's Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) collection.

As you celebrate GIS Day 2022, learn more about how NASA uses this technology through the Earthdata GIS at NASA page, the GIS Backgrounder, and the GIS Data Pathfinder. More detailed instructions for working with GIS are available on the Earthdata GIS Tutorials and How-Tos page.

Below are a few snapshots showcasing examples of GIS use at NASA Earth science. Click on the snapshot or the snapshot title to learn more.

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Gridded Sea Surface Height Anomalies

Colors indicate sea surface height anomalies in the Pacific Ocean in January 2022.

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Changes in Air Quality: Sulfur Dioxide

Slider image showing a comparison of total column sulfur dioxide over China for 2006 and 2021.

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Tracking Fire Hotspots in Madagascar

Red dots indicate satellite-detected thermal anomalies; colored lines show satellite overpass tracks and times; green/pink layers are settlements and protected areas.

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May 2022 Derecho Impact on the Power Grid

Data maps and animations combined with GIS show why a May 2022 derecho was so disruptive.

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Hurricane Ida Flood Impact

NASA precipitation rate data and USGS map data provide an indication of flooding caused by the remains of Hurricane Ida as it tracked through a section of New Jersey in 2021.

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Exploring Sentinel-1 InSAR

The Alaska Satellite Facility (ASF) provides on-demand services for generating Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) products from Sentinel-1 data.

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The Satellite Beach Energy Project

A combination of datasets and remote sensing technologies are helping Satellite Beach, Florida, achieve solar renewable energy goals.

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Reclassify RTC Tool - Water Mask

This ASF StoryMap shows how surface water in a Radiometric Terrain Corrected (RTC) SAR product can be more easily identified.

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Utilizing GRACE Data Over the Colorado River Basin

Data from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) are being used to explore water changes in the Colorado River Basin.

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Hurricane Dorian and Population Density

This NASA Worldview image from September 1, 2019, shows Hurricane Dorian approaching the densely populated Florida coast.

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Air Pollution and Social Inequalities

Colors in this image indicate the percentage of minorities in areas where pollutant levels do not meet U.S. National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).

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ARIA Damage Proxy Map for Hurricane Ian

This damage proxy map (DPM2) image shows areas in Florida that are likely damaged due to Hurricane Ian in September 2022.

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Exaggerated Plume Height for 2019 Australian Fires

Circles indicate exaggerated smoke plume heights, which are displayed on top of red dots indicating FIRMS active fire detections.

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Creation of Urban Heat Islands

Colors in this image indicate differences in daytime heating caused by the urban heat island effect in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Ocean Circulation Patterns: Garbage Patches

NASA ocean current data show circulation patterns and their relation to ocean garbage patches.

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Nighttime Lights Detection

Black Marble HD nighttime lights were visualized for New Orleans, Louisiana, to highlight the impacts and recovery from Hurricane Ida in August 2021.