Earth Sensor Portal - Publishing Your Geospatial Data Catalog Online

Author: Martin Flood
Published On: January 10, 2020

Challenges of Cataloging Geospatial Data

The volume of geospatial data being collected by government agencies and private sector organizations presents significant challenges for cataloging and distributing the data to all interested stakeholders in a timely, cost-effective and responsive manner.  Data repositories sitting on hard disk drives or requiring staff involvement to respond to requests to search for and deliver data to stakeholders are extremely inefficient, do not scale with demand and waste valuable resources during critical periods, such as post-disaster events.  There is a clear need for a sophisticated, scalable solution for the storage, cataloging and on-line distribution of spatial data archives currently locked behind outdated - or often non-existent - data distribution methods.   

What is Earth Sensor Portal (ESP)?

Earth Sensor Portal is our Amazon Web Services (AWS) hosted ("cloud") system designed to provide secure access to a catalog of raster and point cloud data products (i.e. LIDAR, NAIP, Landsat, orthophotos) for both viewing and download/ordering for authorized users.  Earth Sensor Portal began life as the processing, cataloging and delivery solution for the Multi-User System for Earth Sensing (MUSES), a Teledyne Brown sponsored project for the processing of hyperspectral data collected by the DLR Earth Sensing Imaging Spectrometer (DESIS-30) operating on the International Space Station (ISS).  DESIS-30 was installed on the ISS on June 29th, 2018.  ESP has been hosting and serving DESIS data from the ISS since January 2019 with a current catalog of > 12,995 hyperspectral images and over 1,500 user orders processed as of September 2019.

Earth Sensor Portal provides an online catalog for an organization's raster and point cloud data with an intuitive query interface that supports searching for data by any combination of product type, product metadata and data location.  

Figure 1 - Earth Sensor Portal (3D Globe View)

 2D, 3D, and perspective views, a broad choice of base maps and a Named Places gazetteer makes the map view a powerful aid in locating data geographically. Users can create and set alerts for areas of interest to be automatically notified when new data sets are published, simplifying and automating any publication notification process.  The Earth Sensor Portal's ordering system allows users to select and order any number of published products from the Earth Sensor Portal Catalog.  The ordering system tracks the processing status of the order and notifies the user when the order is ready for downloading.  An order history is kept for all orders and users can view their own orders or if permitted any orders in their organization.  Administrative reporting and logging of user activity are automatically generated each month.

Figure 2 - Central Florida LIDAR holdings returned from User Search

Amazon Web Service Platform

Since Earth Sensor Portal is built on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform, it inherits one of the most secure data storage systems available.  In addition, control of data access is completely definable by the data owners.  Administrators can restrict data access by user and/or organization.   Data access can be further controlled by defined polygonal boundaries or attribute values.  For example, you can restrict access by region, such that one organization can access data in one region, but not in another.

Earth Sensor Portal is built entirely using AWS services and SDK's and as such leverages AWS resources to provide scalability for high volumes of storage and automatic scaling for provision of computing power based on demand.  With AWS's services, Earth Sensor Portal is infinitely scalable in terms of storage and processing power.  With respect to flexible storage options, it can take advantage of the life-cycle policies associated with AWS's S3 storage service to balance the cost for storage against the need for immediate access.

ESP Helps You Publish Your Data Quickly and Easily

Finally, ESP supports a variety of business models from a full "user-pays" model to a firm, fixed-fee monthly subscription model or even a hybrid of the two.  If you are struggling with how to cost-effectively publish your geospatial data catalog, for public or private stakeholders, Earth Sensor Portal offers you an immediate solution to get you data catalog online quickly, easily and in a cost-effective way.  Please give us a call or email us at [email protected] if you'd like to arrange a demonstration to learn more about ESP.

Figure 3 - Order Fulfillment via Storefront