Teaching an Old Client New Tricks – the GloVIS Global Visualization Viewer after 14 Years
Abstract:The US Geological Survey’s Global Visualization Viewer (GloVIS) is a web-based, visual search and discovery tool used to access imagery from aircraft and space-based imaging systems. GloVIS was introduced shortly after the launch of Landsat 7 to provide a visual client to select images squired by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus. Since then, it has been expanded to search on other Landsat imagery (Multi-spectral Scanner, Thematic Mapper, Operational Land Imager), imagery from a variety of NASA instruments (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emissions and Reflection Radiometer, Advanced Land Imager, Hyperion), along with images from high-resolution airborne photography and special collections representing decades-long observations. GloVIS incorporated a number of features considered novel at its original release, such as rapid visual browse, and the ability to use one type of satellite observation (e.g., vegetation seasonality curves derived from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer) to assist in the selection of another (e.g., Landsat).
After 14 years, the GloVIS client has gained a large following, having served millions of images to hundreds of thousands of users, but is due for a major re-design. Described here are a set of guiding principles driving the re-design, the methodology used to understand how users discover and retrieve imagery, and candidate technologies to be leveraged in the re-design. The guiding principles include (1) visual co-discovery – the ability to browse and select imagery from diverse sources simultaneously; (2) user-centric design – understanding user needs prior to design and involving users throughout the design process; (3) adaptability – the use of flexible design to permit rapid incorporation of new capabilities, and (4) interoperability – the use of services, conventions and protocols to permit interaction with external sources of Earth science imagery.