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About ECHO

NASA's Earth Science Data Information Systems (ESDIS) program is responsible for providing access to Earth Observation data and services to an ever-growing user community. That user community includes Earth Scientists, Educators, other government agencies, decision makers and citizens in general.

In order to effectively provide this access, ESDIS has delivered a set of systems that support the management, storage, discovery of, and access to, the petabytes of information and hundreds of services on that data. Like any very large enterprise-level Information Management System these systems are faced with a set of inherent challenges. Those challenges include the volume of information, the diversity of the information and the diversity of the user community.

ECHO is a middleware solution which provides a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) environment for the Earth Observing (EO) community. This environment serves both the providers and consumers of EO resources (data and services). ECHO provides common mechanisms for provider communities to publish their data and service offerings and other mechanisms for consumers to discover, understand, and access those resources.

By providing an SOA platform, ECHO allows the legacy providers of large amounts of data to focus on their contribution to the EO community to manage the availability of their information resources. These legacy providers can be freed from some of the secondary responsibilities of supporting discovery and usage of that data. ECHO works along with its Earth Science Data Partners to gather metadata representing each partner's data holdings in a process called "metadata ingest." This metadata is then made available through a published Application Program Interface (API) which exposes the necessary functionality for data discovery. ECHO also acts as an order broker between its Data Partners and end users.

ECHO also supports the diversified user community by providing common programmatic interfaces, based on standards, for all stakeholder communities. By providing these programmatic interfaces to a common infrastructure, ECHO enables the different stakeholder communities to build their own applications and user experiences that meet their user community needs, leveraging this common infrastructure. The services provided by the ECHO API are accessed through internally and externally developed client applications. ECHO's Client Partners work in cooperation with the ECHO team to develop efficient and specialized user interfaces which access the ECHO API.

The multi-organizational content of ECHO provides a valuable new service to a growing number of Earth science applications and interdisciplinary research efforts. ECHO streamlines access to digital data and materials and brokers orders and other services from Clients to Data Partners. ECHO provides tracking services for both the Provider and the Client.

ECHO Operations

The ECHO Operations Team is the primary point of contact for ECHO Partners. ECHO Operations responsibilities include:

  • User Support - The ECHO Operations team is available 8:00am - 7:00pm (EST), Monday through Friday to answer questions and support the activities of the ECHO community.
  • 24x7 System Support - The ECHO Operations team works to ensure that the Operational system is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Metadata Ingest Management - The ECHO Operations team manages the metadata workload submitted by ECHO Data Partners to ensure that errors are discovered quickly and that the amount of time for metadata Ingest to complete is minimized.
  • Partner Integration - The ECHO Operations team works to integrate new ECHO Data, Client, and Service Partners into the ECHO community. Individual working group meetings are held between the necessary parties in order to best facilitate the efforts of new ECHO Partners.
  • Community Interaction - The ECHO Operations team encourages the interaction of ECHO community members with each other and the ECHO team through online forums, annual workshops, weekly ECHO Technical Committee Meetings, and the ECHO Collaboration site.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is ECHO?

The EOS Clearing House (ECHO) is a metadata clearinghouse and order broker being built by NASA's Earth Science Data and Information System (ESDIS). ECHO is an operational open system based on Extensible Markup Language (XML) and Web Service technologies. ECHO is composed of many layers that can interface with different clients and users through its series of Application Program Interfaces (APIs). The ECHO Team works closely with Data and Client Partners to enable the science community to exchange data, information and services.

Why use ECHO?

The multi-organizational content of ECHO provides a valuable new service to a growing number of Earth science applications and interdisciplinary research efforts. ECHO streamlines access to digital data and materials and brokers orders and other services from Clients to Data Partners. ECHO provides tracking services for both the Provider and the Client.

What is metadata?

Metadata consist of information that characterizes data. Metadata are used to provide documentation for data products. In essence, metadata answer who, what, when, where, why, and how about every facet of the data that are being documented.

Governance

As an operational system, representing both NASA and the Earth Science community, ECHO has policies in place that require all partner and service registration to be two-phased. These phases are Registration and Activation. Registration is the activity where partners submit their applications to ECHO. Activation is the responsibility of the ECHO Team, when after reviewing the registered material they have the authority to make that registration publicly available.