NASA’s Open Source Software for Serving and Viewing Global Imagery

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 9:15 AM
Joe T Roberts1, Christian Alarcon2, Ryan A Boller3, Matthew F Cechini4, Taylor Gunnoe4, Jeffrey R Hall5, Thomas Huang1, Shriram Ilavajhala6, Jerome King4, Mike McGann7, Kevin J Murphy3, Lucian Plesea8, Jeffrey E Schmaltz3 and Charles K Thompson1, (1)NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States, (2)Jet Propulstion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States, (3)NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States, (4)Columbus Technologies and Services Inc., Greenbelt, MD, United States, (5)Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States, (6)Sigma Space Corporation, Lanham, MD, United States, (7)Columbus Technologies and Services Greenbelt, Elkridge, MD, United States, (8)ESRI, Redlands, CA, United States
The NASA Global Imagery Browse Services (GIBS), which provide open access to an enormous archive of historical and near real time imagery from NASA supported satellite instruments, has also released most of its software to the general public as open source. The software packages, originally developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Goddard Space Flight Center, currently include: 1) the Meta Raster Format (MRF) GDAL driver—GDAL support for a specialized file format used by GIBS to store imagery within a georeferenced tile pyramid for exceptionally fast access; 2) OnEarth—a high performance Apache module used to serve tiles from MRF files via common web service protocols; 3) Worldview—a web mapping client to interactively browse global, full-resolution satellite imagery and download underlying data. Examples that show developers how to use GIBS with various mapping libraries and programs are also available. This stack of tools is intended to provide an out-of-the-box solution for serving any georeferenced imagery.

Scientists as well as the general public can use the open source software for their own applications such as developing visualization interfaces for improved scientific understanding and decision support, hosting a repository of browse images to help find and discover satellite data, or accessing large datasets of geo-located imagery in an efficient manner. Open source users may also contribute back to NASA and the wider Earth Science community by taking an active role in evaluating and developing the software.

This presentation will discuss the experiences of developing the software in an open source environment and useful lessons learned. To access the open source software repositories, please visit: