Using Earth Science Data

World map at night with lights illuminating

NASA Earthdata: Open Access for Open Science

NASA's Earth Science Data Systems (ESDS) program oversees the life cycle of NASA’s Earth science data—from acquisition through processing and distribution. The primary goal of ESDS is to maximize the scientific return from NASA's missions and experiments for research and applied scientists, decision makers, and society at large.

ESDS data system and science products continuously evolve through a combination of competitive awards and sustained and strategic investments in open data, international and interagency partnerships, and a set of standards that ensure consistency and interoperability. Since 1994, Earth science data have been free and open to all users for any purpose; since 2015, all data systems software developed through research and technology awards have been made available to the public as Open Source Software (OSS).


Getting Started with NASA Earth Science Data Resources

Screenshot of earth science data dashboard

Since the mid-1990's, NASA’s Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) has provided free and open long-term measurements of our dynamic planet. The thousands of unique data products in the EOSDIS collection advance our understanding of Earth’s interrelated systems. These data come from the International Space Station, satellites, airborne campaigns, field campaigns, in situ instruments and model outputs. EOSDIS supports NASA’s Earth science program by processing, storing and distributing these data to a global user community for interdisciplinary use. New and ongoing NASA missions will add an enormous volume of Earth science data into EOSDIS each year that will continue to be available for free – providing an invaluable resource for scientific discovery. 

The Earthdata website provides comprehensive information about NASA’s ESDS program, and EOSDIS data, information, services and tools.


Data Discovery and Data Access

Screenshot of satellite data of the United States with the west coast colored shades or orange, yellow and green

NASA's Earthdata Search enables data discovery and access to Earth observation data collections from NASA’s EOSDIS, as well as from our U.S. and international partner agencies. Through Earthdata Search, users can search for and read about data collections, filter data by temporal or spatial constraints, preview browse images, and download or submit requests for data files. Data customization options are available.  


Near Real-Time Data

Collage of 7 earth data satellite images including a hurricane, smoke and fire imagery

NASA’s Land, Atmosphere Near real-time Capability for EOS (LANCE) provides access to near real-time (NRT) data products from a number of instruments in fewer than three hours from data acquisition. The system supports application users who are interested in monitoring and analyzing a wide variety of natural and man-made phenomena.    

Watch: Discover NASA’s Near Real-Time Data using LANCE
Download: NASA LANCE Fact Sheet


Fire Information for Resource Management System 

Screenshot of fire data across the world map

The Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS) was developed to provide near real-time active fire data to natural resource managers who face challenges obtaining timely satellite-derived fire information. Active fire data are made available within three hours of satellite observation from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument aboard the Aqua and Terra satellites and the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard the joint NASA/NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi-NPP) satellite and the NOAA-20 satellite.  

Watch: Discover NASA’s Fire Information for Resource Management System
Download: Download FIRMS Fact Sheet


Learning Resources

Find information, tutorials, data tools and recipes, webinars, and other learning resources to help you find, access, and use NASA Earth science data at

Download: Getting Started with NASA Earth Science Data Resources Fact Sheet


NASA Worldview

The NASA Worldview imagery mapping and visualization application provides the capability to interactively browse over 900 global, full-resolution satellite imagery layers. Many of these layers are updated daily and are available within three hours of observation. Geostationary imagery layers are also available and provided in 10-minute increments for the last 30 days.


Cloud Computing Resources

Illustration representing data connections, a series of dots connected by lines in the atmosphere above the earth

With the impending arrival of new, high-data-volume missions, the need to effectively archive and process significantly larger data volumes requires new data management technologies and architectures that are more cost-effective, flexible, and scalable than traditional on-premises systems. To meet these needs, the ESDS Program has adopted a strategic vision to develop and operate multiple components of the EOSDIS in a commercial cloud environment.

Webinar: How to Cloud for Earth Scientists
Tutorials: Amazon Web Services


Competitive Programs

Collage of 4 photos: female and male measuring water, group of 3 people measuring snow, earth satellite data, satellite data of antarctica

ESDS competitive programs provide specialized and innovative services to data users and/or research products offering new scientific insight by engaging external researchers and software developers through peer-reviewed competition. The competitive programs provide a constant source of innovation to improve data products, advance systems, nurture interdisciplinary tools, and increase public participation with NASA Earth observations to advance our understanding of the Earth system. The Competitive Award Program includes:

Advancing Collaborative Connections for Earth System Science (ACCESS)

The ACCESS Program develops and implements technologies to effectively manage, discover, and utilize NASA’s archive of Earth observations for scientific research and applications.

Citizen Science for Earth Systems Program (CSESP)

CSESP is focused on developing and implementing projects that harness contributions from members of the public to advance the understanding of Earth as an integrated system.

Making Earth Science Data Records for Use in Research Environments (MEaSUREs)

Through the MEaSUREs Program, NASA is continuing its commitment to expand our understanding of the Earth system using consistent records. MEaSUREs projects are focused on data product generation, availability, and utility.


Interagency Implementation and AdvancedConcepts Team (IMPACT)

Logo for IMPACT, Interagency Implementation and Advanced Concepts Team

IMPACT is an interdisciplinary team that works to further ESDS’s goal of overseeing the lifecycle of Earth science data to maximize the scientific return of NASA's missions and experiments for research and applied scientists, decision makers, and the society at large.


Commercial Smallsat Data Acquisition Program

Collage of three satellite images

The Commercial Smallsat Data Acquisition (CSDA) Program was established to identify, evaluate, and acquire data from commercial sources that support NASA's Earth science research and application goals. NASA's Earth Science Division (ESD) recognizes the potential impact commercial small-satellite (smallsat) constellations may have in encouraging/enabling efficient approaches to advancing Earth System Science and applications development for societal benefit.


Applied Remote Sensing Training

Applied Remote Sensing Training (ARSET) offers online and in-person trainings for beginners and advanced practitioners alike. Trainings cover a range of datasets, web portals, and analysis tools and their application to air quality, agriculture, disaster, land, and water resources management. Since 2009, the program has reached over 32,000 participants from 170 countries and more than 7,500 organizations worldwide. 


Accessing 190 Million Earth Science Observations via the GLOBE Program

Screenshot of world map with thumbnail images overlaid

The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program has a database of environmental measurements collected by students, teachers, and other citizen science volunteers going back to spring of 1995, and freely available to everyone. On the GLOBE Data page, the user will find links to various ways to visualize and download the data, as well as a data user guide and recorded webinars demonstrating how to use the various tools. On the GLOBE Observer Get Data page, the user will also find curated data sets including GLOBE Clouds data matched to NASA satellite data, eclipse events, dust observations, and from special data collection challenges.



Direct Readout Laboratory

Screenshot of Direct Readout Laboratory website

The NASA Direct Readout Laboratory (DRL) is a technology and information conduit for the Direct Broadcast (real-time satellite data) community. DRL serves as the source for official NASA Science Team algorithms and data processing tools for use by international collaborators and the commercial sector as a basis for building emerging partnerships. 


Global Modeling and Assimilation Office

Logo for GMAO Global Modeling and Assimilation Office

From daily weather and atmospheric composition forecasts to multidecadal reanalyses, the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO) generates and distributes experimental data products that make extensive use of NASA's satellite observations and support satellite missions, field campaigns, mission planning, and researchers funded by NASA and others. 


Goddard Institute for Space Studies

Satellite image of the world simulating climate variations

Datasets and images available from Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) span a variety of research projects. These include climate simulations such as projections of 21st-century change, climate impact studies such as the Global Fire Weather Database, and Earth observations such as the GISS Surface Temperature Analysis.  


NASA Advanced Supercomputing/High-End Computing Capability

Satellite image of the globe showing ocean currents

The High-End Computing Capability (HECC) Portfolio provides world-class high-end computing, storage, and associated services to enable NASA-sponsored scientists and engineers supporting NASA programs to broadly and productively employ large-scale modeling, simulation, and analysis to achieve successful mission outcomes. Data Portals include Estimating the Circulation & Climate of the Ocean (ECCO), heliophysics, quantum computing-focused and a general data portals allow NASA researchers to collaborate and share their data within specific communities and the general public.


NASA Center for Climate Simulation

Photo of large computer servers with blue and green lights

As part of its mission to provide high-performance computing for NASA-sponsored scientists and engineers, the NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS) houses curated data collections that include atmosphere, ocean, land, and flood data, both current and historical, as well as operational Global Modeling and Assimilation Office weather analysis data and forecasts that are updated four times daily.  

In addition, the NCCS Spatial Analytics Platform provides an enterprise mapping and analytics capability for NASA scientists and partners and also includes datasets that are available to the general public.


NASA Earth Exchange

Close up photo of forest floor showing grass, ferns and small green globe.

NASA Earth Exchange (NEX) combines state-of-the-art supercomputing, Earth system modeling, and NASA remote sensing data feeds to deliver a work environment for exploring and analyzing terabyte- to petabyte-scale datasets covering large regions, continents, or the globe.


Short-term Prediction Research and Transition Center

color coded weather data overlaying world map

Short-term Prediction Research and Transition Center (SPoRT) is a NASA project to transition unique observations — including real-time data — and research capabilities to the operational weather community to improve short-term forecasts on a regional scale.