GIS Technologies For The New Planetary Science Archive (PSA)
Abstract:Geographical information system (GIS) is becoming increasingly used for planetary science. GIS are computerised systems for the storage, retrieval, manipulation, analysis, and display of geographically referenced data.
Some data stored in the Planetary Science Archive (PSA), for instance, a set of Mars Express/Venus Express data, have spatial metadata associated to them. To facilitate users in handling and visualising spatial data in GIS applications, the new PSA should support interoperability with interfaces implementing the standards approved by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC).
These standards are followed in order to develop open interfaces and encodings that allow data to be exchanged with GIS Client Applications, well-known examples of which are Google Earth and NASA World Wind as well as open source tools such as Openlayers. The technology already exists within PostgreSQL databases to store searchable geometrical data in the form of the PostGIS extension.
An existing open source maps server is GeoServer, an instance of which has been deployed for the new PSA, uses the OGC standards to allow, among others, the sharing, processing and editing of data and spatial data through the Web Feature Service (WFS) standard as well as serving georeferenced map images through the Web Map Service (WMS).
The final goal of the new PSA, being developed by the European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) Science Data Centre (ESDC), is to create an archive which enables science exploitation of ESA's planetary missions datasets.
This can be facilitated through the GIS framework, offering interfaces (both web GUI and scriptable APIs) that can be used more easily and scientifically by the community, and that will also enable the community to build added value services on top of the PSA.