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Getting Started

This guide will help you learn about NASA Earth science data and show you how to find tools and resources for accessing the data you need.

Getting Started with NASA Earth Science Data

Montage of visualizations from different sensors and datasets.

For more than 30 years, NASA's Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) has provided long-term measurements of our dynamic planet. The thousands of unique data products in the EOSDIS collection come from a variety of sources including the International Space Station, satellites, airborne campaigns, field campaigns, in-situ instruments, and model outputs.

Learn about Data

The Learn section includes information and guides to help you find and use NASA Earth science data, services, and tools.

Find Data

The Data section provides multiple pathways for discovering and accessing NASA data:

  • Earthdata Search enables data discovery and access to more than 33,000 Earth observation data collections from NASA’s EOSDIS, as well as from our U.S. and international partner agencies. Key features include a free text search and the ability to filter by science area (keyword), platform, instrument, or by day/time and spatial region. Customization (e.g., subsetting, regridding, reformatting) for select data collections is available. Learn more about Earthdata Search.

Screenshot of Earthdata Search showing the whole globe.
View the Earthdata Search Tour

  • Search by Science Discipline: atmosphere, calibrated radiance and solar radiance, cryosphere, human dimensions, land, and ocean.
    • Distributed Active Archive Centers (DAACs) are discipline-specific EOSDIS data archives that provide the data user communities with data resources, information, services, and tools. The User Services Office at each DAAC provides user support for using these resources.
  • Find Near Real-Time Data
    • Land, Atmosphere Near real-time Capability for EOS (LANCE) provides near real-time data and imagery to meet the needs of scientists and application users interested in monitoring a wide variety of natural and anthropogenic phenomena such as fires, dust storms, hurricanes, air quality, sea ice, vegetation and crop development and volcanic eruptions.
    • Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS) provides global hotspot/fire location information from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument aboard NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites and from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) aboard the joint NASA/NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) satellite.

Use Data

NASA’s Earth science data collections are available in various spatial and temporal resolutions and data formats. EOSDIS provides a variety of data tools and resources to help you learn how to discover, access, subset, visualize, and use the data.

Visualize Data

The Visualize Data section provides a number of ways to view NASA’s Earth data imagery and create visualizations of data, whether you are interested in natural disasters, land surfaces, water resources, Earth’s atmosphere, or our ocean. Many of these tools provide access to near real-time Earth observing data imagery.

  • NASA’s Worldview mapping application provides the capability to interactively browse over 900 global, full-resolution satellite imagery layers. Many of the available imagery layers are updated within three hours of observation, essentially showing the entire Earth as it looks “right now.”

Screenshot of Worldview showing the whole globe.

  • Discipline-Specific DAAC Tools. Individual DAACs also provide tools and applications designed to make it easy to use, visualize and manipulate the discipline-specific data in their collections. These tools include the Application for Extracting and Exploring Analysis Ready Samples (AppEEARS) at NASA's Land Processes DAAC (LP DAAC) and the Sea-Viewing Wide-Field Sensor (SeaWiFS) Data Analysis System (SeaDAS) at NASA's Ocean Biology DAAC (OB.DAAC).

Need Help?

There’s a lot more to see on the Earthdata website than can be described in a short guide. We encourage you to explore! If you need help or have additional questions, please use the Feedback button in the upper right section of the Earthdata website, and on DAAC websites, to let us know if you’re having any problems, if a page isn’t working the way it should, or if there is a tool or application you would like to see. In addition, experienced and knowledgeable User Support staff are available at every DAAC to assist you with specific questions about data and tools or help you with general EOSDIS questions.

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  • Page Last Updated: Apr 5, 2021 at 10:43 AM EDT