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NASA Implementation of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure in Calendar Year 1997

Goal 1: Increase the awareness and understanding of the vision, concepts, and benefits of the NSDI through outreach and education.


  • NASA participated in the December 1997 Conference on Scientific and Technical Data Exchange and Integration. A paper on the Earth Observing System Data and Information System was presented, and NASA provided two panel members to the Earth Observations Data breakout discussion.

  • NASA held a metadata workshop in April 1997 to educate Earth Observing System Data and Information System data producers and users on the benefits of providing and using metadata.

  • Earth Science Information Partners (ESIPs) and Federation

NASA has embarked on a prototyping program to try to better integrate the broader scientific communities involved in Earth science into the teams involved in building and operating the environmental information infrastructure. The objective of this prototype Federation of working prototype Earth Science Information Partners (ESIPs) is to experiment with and evolve processes to make Earth system science data easy to preserve, locate, access, and use for all beneficial applications, including research, education, and commercial, many of which may cross the federation membership. NASA has selected two types of prototype ESIPs: creative research partners in support of Earth system science; and applications and extension partners. Both types of ESIPs will contribute publicly-accessible new data products and information using innovative, community-based approaches, adding value to the NSDI. It is expected that the distinctly regional character of some of the ESIPs of both types will help bridge the gap between the predominantly global character of NASA's research data sets and the local environmental user communities. Some of these prototypes will fuse, integrate, and assimilate NASA Earth science data with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and other technologies presently in use by the FGDC, state and local governments, value-added communities, private sector users, and various non-governmental organizations. The two solicitations resulting in these projects stated that all data products and algorithms made available through the program must meet applicable FGDC standards.

  • International Cooperation

Because of NASA's unique research mission to try to characterize and better understand the Earth as a system, NASA works with diverse user communities throughout the world. Through international scientific organizations such as the World Climate Research Program, International Geosphere-Biosphere Program, and the International Human Dimensions Program, NASA builds relationships with the diverse communities of international scientists and regional centers in developing countries. NASA has, in order to meet its mandate of global data collection for its research priorities, provided software systems and tools which can enable such organizations to more quickly begin storing and providing valuable data to their own research communities. Since these systems and tools are compatible with the FGDC, the practical result is real extensions to the NSDI, enriching our national information base.

Additionally, several international partners have developed (in conjunction with EOSDIS) nodes to access EOSDIS data and to allow users of the EOSDIS to access their data. These partners are: CCRS - Canadian Centre for Remote Sensing (Canada); DLR-DFD - Deutsche Forschungsanstalt fr Luft-und Raumfahrt (Germany); EURIMAGE - Rome, Italy; NASDA - National Space Development Agency of Japan; and MARF - Meteorological Archive Retrieval Facility.

Plans for 1998:

  • As part of the preparation for the Federation, a workshop will be held on February 23 - 25, 1998 to work out the details of issues surrounding the Federation, such as governance and the process for establishing interoperability standards. NASA has mandated that these partners meet the FGDC standards. The establishment of additional standards and protocols will be driven by user needs which effectively creates a user testbed.

  • Plans are being developed to establish an EOSDIS node in Russia.

  • In order to be more responsive to the user community, a new paradigm is being developed which is called the "EOSDIS Adaptive Approach". Under this paradigm, Principle Investigators (PIs) will be allowed to propose doing their own data processing, within the framework of EOSDIS products. If their costs are acceptable, the PI will be given funding to perform their data processing. . This potentially extends the number of data centers supporting NASA earth sciences, which by defention, extends the FGDC standards.

  • OES Enterprise Outreach Strategy

OES is developing an Enterprise Outreach Strategy specifically to communicate the substance and science results of its work to seven broad categories of information customers: (1) Science and Technology; (2) Related Industry; (3) Federal, state and local government; (4) Formal Education; (5) Informal Education (e.g., museums); (6) media; and (7) the public. The focus of this Outreach Strategy is to "translate" OES science results, engineering activities, technology development into usable messages and products for our information customers.

Goal 2: Develop common solutions for discovery, access, and use of geospatial data in response to the needs of diverse communities.


  • One of NASA's major contributions to the NSDI is the Earth Observing System (EOS). These satellites, science program, and data system, will provide a long-term dataset of global observations of the solid Earth, its atmosphere, oceans, land surface, and biosphere. Over one terabyte of data will be produced each day. These data are of interest to a broad range of specialized and interdisciplinary scientists. NASA is committed to making EOS science data easily available to a wide community of users. All EOSDIS metadata is available through NASA's Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) clearinghouse node (in compliance with FGDC metadata content standards).

  • NASA offers all its Earth science data set descriptions through an NSDI Clearinghouse Node, which is maintained by the Global Change Master Directory (GCMD). The GCMD offered its content through the Isite software (based on Z39.50), even before the FGDC adopted the package for the Clearinghouse. The most recent installation uses Isite 2.00.07, which allows for numeric searching - critical for searching geospatial location.

  • The Global Change Master Directory project, which is also responsible for the International Directory Network, developed software to provide the information stored in their (commercial) database to be output in the FGDC Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata in a form required for parsing with FGDC's Metadata Parser (mp). This allows display of the fields names in an order consistent with the standard and also the indentation and numbering scheme of the rigorously formatted version of the content standard.

  • A standalone program was developed, DIFmorph, that translates database information and raw DIFs (NASA's Directory Interchange Format) into a variety of formats, including the aforementioned FGDC formats.

  • The FGDC Clearinghouse Committee has also demonstrated a distributed prototype, "Distributed Mapping", with the assistance of the Open GIS Consortium (OGC). With the support of a group of cooperating vendors and institutions, they created a demonstration of open network access to heterogeneous sources of geodata. GTE Internetworking integrated the software and provided other necessary resources. They illustrated the kind of open geodata access that will become common after vendors begin releasing Open GIS-conformant geoprocessing software.

Plans for 1998:

  • The EOS Data and Information System (EOSDIS) Version 0 is an operational prototype that provides basic search and access to heritage data. The EOSDIS will have significant new capabilities delivered this year. This will allow the data from the AM-1 and Landsat-7 spacecraft to be added to our holdings.

  • NASA's EOSDIS project has been working within the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) Protocol Task Team. The Protocol Task Team has been developing the Catalog Interoperability Protocol (CIP), an earth observation customization of the Z39.50 1995 Version 3 search and retrieval protocol, which has its beginnings in the digital library community. The CEOS Interoperability Protocol (CIP) is being aligned with the GEO protocol which implements the FGDC Content Metadata Standard through the Isite software. The alignment of CIP and GEO will facilitate common solutions for discovery, access, and use of geospatial data by diverse communities. CIP is fully compatible with the EOSDIS Systems. A software prototype implementing EOSDIS Core System - CIP interoperability is expected to be completed in 1998.

Goal 3: Use community-based approaches to develop and maintain common collections of geospatial data for sound decision-making.


  • NASA earth science metadata adheres to the FGDC Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata. This metadata is provided through the Global Change Master Directory, an FGDC Clearinghouse node.

  • NASA participates regularly on the FGDC Steering Committee, Clearinghouse Working Group, and Standards Working Group.

  • NASA has proposed a remote sensing swath standard to the FGDC Standards Working Group (SWG). The SWG has created an imagery subgroup to participate in the development of imagery standards such as the remote sensing swath standard. This group is currently chaired by NASA. Volunteers from NASA, FGDC, NOAA, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, OpenGIS Consortium, and University of Wisconsin plan to participate in the imagery subgroup.

  • Cooperative Earth Science Applications Research Projects with State and Local Governments

NASA's Office of Earth Science (OES) is participating in cooperative partnerships with state and local governments designed to improve the access of OES science research and apply OES data to problems of particular importance to this user community. Projects include: (a) the development of twenty year time analysis of remotely sensed data with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and University of S. Carolina to detect change along the South Carolina and Georgia coasts and apply these results to future land suitability assessment; land use planning and predictive disaster damage assessment; (b) integration of OES data into Ohio's Land Use and Land Cover Information System for non-point source pollution mapping, and monitoring of strip mined lands reclamation with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources; (c) assessment of OES data product applicability to a diversity of urban planning problems; focus on storm water infrastructure assessment and planning; and development of linkage between global climate change/variability models and the local and regional user with the city of Scottsdale, Arizona; (d) Baltimore-Washington corridor change detection; development of historical agriculture, forest, and urban land-use patterns for integration into a two-hundred year urbanization study; and (e) investigation and modeling of the relationship between the city growth and land cover change of Atlanta, Georgia and the development of the urban heat island effect, change in air quality, and overall effects on surface energy budgets across Atlanta's city landscape through time at nested spatial scales from local to regional.

  • U. S. Global Climate Change Research Program (USGCRP) Regional Workshops

NASA's OES, jointly with other Federal agencies is conducting a series of 19 regional workshops around the Nation as a means to communicate the science results of the USGCRP Program to regional users and develop the process by which these users can assess the potential consequences of global climate variability/change in their region and can identify responses to the challenges. The workshops will be followed by a series of regional assessment activities in each region, many of which will involve state and local governments.

  • "NASA as a Catalyst -- Survey of States' Uses of Satellite Data"

NASA's OES recently published a survey of the use of remotely sensed data by all 50 states and the identification of their priority applications. Priority applications identified by the states consisted of land use and land cover inventory, land capability/suitability analyses, site and route selection, non-point source pollution monitoring, superfund site monitoring, critical areas management, inventory and monitoring of irrigated lands and assessment of water needs, forest inventory and wildlife habitat.

  • Upper Midwest Aerospace Consortium (UMAC) Public Access Resource Center (PARC)

The UMAC PARC is a consortium of 8 universities in 5 Northern Great Plains states, NASA's OES, U.S. Geological Survey, U. S. West and a variety of other private industries established for the purpose of extending OES science results and data products to agribusiness applications, precision farming, rangeland management, wheat quality assessment, rangeland forage assessment, and K through 12 education. The state agencies of the 5 states are major evolving customers of the PARC activity.

Plans for 1998:

  • The databases for Earth science data will be begin to be populated with data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), AM-1, and Landsat-7 missions.

  • Additional joint NASA's OES/state and local governments projects are being initiated with the states of California and Minnesota, San Francisco Bay Area and Cayuga County, New York (similar to those described above).

  • Grant with the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), Science and Technology Council of the States (STCS), and the National State Geographic Information Council (NSGIC).

NASA's OES, in cooperation with NCSL, STCS and NSGIC is planning a series of meetings culminating in a workshop to be held in the Fall, 1998, designed to identify state government needs for spatial data that may be able to be satisfied through the use of OES data. The workshop will prioritize state government needs and determine the applicability of a variety of specific OES instrument data to these needs. The workshop will result in the definition of pilot applications projects to be undertaken and a definition of an overall strategy for future cooperative work between NASA's OES and the states.

  • Pathfinder Project with National Association of Counties (NACO)

NASA's OES, in cooperation with NACO is planning to conduct selected Pathfinder projects designed to assist counties in gaining access to remote sensing technologies which are key to future county management. Preliminary planning meeting have identified the area of watershed management as a priority area for a pathfinder activity. The focus of the pathfinder projects would be directed toward attaining more sustainable communities in which counties could pursue economic development while protecting and enhancing the environment.

  • NASA Research Announcement (NRA) for the Establishment of Regional Earth Science Applications Centers (RESACs).

NASA has been directed by Congress to establish up to five Regional Centers consisting of public/private consortia for the purpose of developing and applying OES science results and data to well-defined problems of significant regional economic or policy consequence. The RESACs shall be distributed geographically to ensure national coverage and diversity for the program. They shall be constituted as "end-to-end" partnerships drawn from the research, service and end-user communities. "End-to-end" implies that all participants involved at each stage from research, to data analysis and reporting, to decision-making are fully involved in each step of the activity. Based upon the focus of a proposed RESAC, participants in the consortium may include appropriate Federal, state, and local agencies, universities, non-governmental organizations, non-profit organizations, private companies and individuals. The NRA shall focus on eight priority sectoral areas as defined by the USGCRP National Assessment: Food Availability, Water Availability, Human Health, Forest, Ecosystem Services, Urban Activities, Energy, and Commerce, Industry and Trade. It will be released by NASA in April, 1998.

Goal 4: Build relationships among organizations to support the continuing development of the NSDI.


  • NASA is a member of the OpenGIS Consortium, an organization dedicated to open access of GIS data. NASA has a designated member on the OpenGIS Management Committee, and recently met with OpenGIS personnel to discuss participation on OpenGIS technical committees.

  • NASA participates on the Committee for Earth Observing Satellites (CEOS). Under CEOS, NASA, along with other international agencies that archive Earth observation data around the globe are aiming to achieve maximum utilization of Earth observation data by enhancing the standardization of Earth observation data and information management services.

  • Stennis Commercial Remote Sensing Program (CRSP)

The commercial aspects of NSDI is promoted through the Stennis CRSP through a number of programs including the Earth Observation Commercial Applications Program (EOCAP) and the Visiting Investigators Program (VIP). The EOCAP is presently comprised of 30 projects with 70 companies, several Federal government agencies and 18 universities directed at the diversified commercial applications of remotely sensed data. The VIP Program provides a low risk opportunity for private industry to send representatives for short-term on-site assessment of the applicability of remotely sensed data for their specific marketplace.

  • State Space Grants and Councils for Extensions of Space Technology

In each state, NASA maintains Space Grants at a number of academic institutions for the purpose of transferring the benefits of space research on a national level. There is an additional plan to coordinate the Space Grants with the USDA State Extensions and the NOAA Sea Grants for the purpose of broader technology transfer as a pilot experiment. This coordinated activity would result in the establishment of Councils for Extensions of Space Technology for the purpose of extending the benefits of space technology to local communities through the Cooperative Extension Systems. NASA Space Grant Directors in each state in the U. S. and Puerto Rico shall interact with the State Directors for the Cooperative Extension System and the Sea Grant Director to create a Council for Extension of Space Technology.

Last Updated: Jan 19, 2006 03:09 PM
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