Thursday, March 13, 2014

An Epic View with NASA's Worldview

In an ever-changing world, having a global view is extremely important.  NASA has developed several website/tools where you can view and download up-to-date global remote sensing data.  NASA's Worldview is one of them.  If you are looking for a quick example of its practical value, take a look at last fall's forest fires in the western U.S.
 "Most of the 100+ available products are updated within three hours of observation, essentially showing the entire Earth as it looks 'right now'. This supports time-critical application areas such as wildfire management, air quality measurements, and flood monitoring."- NASA Worldview Website
Of note, browsing on a tablet or smartphone is supported.  There is a layered slider for time, so users can choose the year, month, and day. Selecting dates in some websites can be painful.  However, this slider is intuitive, quick, and easy to use--much more so than those pesky calendar pages some users are forced to navigate.  Users also have several base maps to choose from in addition to the rest of the layers.  There is a great "About" page and brief "Tour" available.

Global Land Surface Temperatures/Day from MODIS, 17 July 2013
A few basic social features are built-in.  The website has buttons for saving links to certain views and taking screenshots.  There are lot of different instruments and views but everything is well-labeled. A few different band combinations can be selected with one-click for easy viewing.  This is especially important for looking at vegetation and agriculture, for example. 

You can also check out recent scenes from Landsat 7 at: or Landsat 8 at:  If you are interested in NASA's open data policies, a quick overview can be found at:


  1. To learn more about the freely available imagery services behind Worldview, visit

  2. Thanks! That is a great explanatory page! - Jon