New to using NASA Earth science data? These pathfinders are designed to help guide you through the process of selecting data products and learning how to use them.
Introducing Data Pathfinders
Data pathfinders provide direct links to commonly-used datasets across NASA’s Earth science data collections. Earthdata search provides direct access to datasets, regardless of where they are archived, providing access to all research quality data for a given measurement type. These pathfinders supplement the search capability by providing datasets through commonly used tools; these tools provide different ways of visualizing the data, options for subsetting the data, and options for saving the data in different file formats.
Note that these pathfinders will not make you an expert data user. They are intended to familiarize users with the various datasets that are applicable, with some guidance on resolutions (spectral, spatial and temporal), and to provide direct links to the data sources. After getting started here, there are numerous NASA resources that can help develop your skills further. If you are new to remote sensing, check out What is Remote Sensing or view the Applied Remote Sensing Training on Fundamentals of Remote Sensing.
Agriculture and Water Resources | Biological Diversity and Ecological Forecasting | Disasters | Diseases | Geographic Information Systems | Greenhouse Gases | Health and Air Quality | Sea Level Change | Sustainable Development Goals | Water Quality | Wildfires
Agriculture and Water Resources Data Pathfinder
This pathfinder is directed toward agricultural and water resource managers, decision makers, and anyone interested in using NASA data to monitor crop production or water availability. This pathfinder directs users to NASA datasets that can aid in forecasting future events or responding to current events, such as drought. When assessing agricultural and water resources, the data can be grouped into three main areas: land, water, and vegetation.
- Find Land Data: land surface reflectance, temperature, elevation, land cover, and possible runoff
- Find Water Data: precipitation, snow water equivalent, groundwater, and soil moisture
Find Vegetation Data: ecosystem health and
characteristics, seasonal trends, croplands and evapotranspiration
Biological Diversity and Ecological Forecasting Data Pathfinder
This pathfinder is directed toward ecologists, conservation managers, decision makers, and anyone interested in using NASA data to monitor biodiversity and forecast changes to ecological communities. This pathfinder directs users to NASA datasets that can aid in monitoring changes in biodiversity, whether natural or human-induced, species distribution modeling, and conservation management. When assessing biological diversity, the data can be grouped into four main areas: Vegetation, Spectroscopy, Human Impacts, and Species Distribution Models.
- Find Vegetation Characteristics and Processes Data
- Find Biodiversity-related Spectroscopy Data
- Find Human Impacts Data
- Find Species Distribution Modeling Data
This pathfinder is directed toward emergency management professionals, decision makers and anyone interested in using NASA data to understand the vulnerability and exposure of a community to a disaster. This pathfinder directs users to NASA datasets that can aid in monitoring conditions that might contribute to natural disasters, measuring and mitigating risk, and assessing post-event impacts to surrounding areas. The data have been grouped by natural disaster:
Diseases Data Pathfinder
While sensors aboard Earth observing satellites cannot detect the spread of diseases from space, they provide long-term data records that help address, inform, and monitor many environmental variables such as temperature and precipitation. The Diseases data pathfinder provides information and NASA data focused on:
- Air and water quality, which can exacerbate many diseases.
- Habitat suitability for organisms that can transmit infectious pathogens, like mosquitoes, ticks, and rodents.
- Seasonality of virus transmission.
- Changes in Earth's environment due to changes in human behavior, such as quarantines and travel restrictions implemented to control disease outbreaks.
This pathfinder is geared towards GIS users, as it provides NASA Earth science data in GIS-ready formats for easy integration and analysis in the primary tools employed by user communities. The pathfinder directly links to geospatial web services and tools from NASA.
This pathfinder provides data to commonly-used data on greenhouse gases and is geared towards researchers in need of satellite, airborne, or ground-based data on climate-warming gases. The pathfinder highlights data on carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, chlorofluorocarbons, and water vapor.
Health and Air Quality Data Pathfinder
This pathfinder is geared to air quality managers and public/environmental health managers as well as citizens interested in using NASA data to monitor air quality for a particular area and to correlate air quality to health conditions. Monitoring air quality provides a means to visualize trends, aid in forecasting events or the movement of pollutants, and responding to events.
- Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD)
- AOD to Particulate Matter (PM)
- Trace Gases—NO2, CO, SO2, surface level ozone (O3)
- Pollutant Transport—aerosol index, dust score, and surface reflectance
- Public Health
Sea Level Change Data Pathfinder
This pathfinder is directed toward resource managers, decision makers, and anyone interested in using NASA data to monitor changes in sea level. This pathfinder directs users to NASA datasets that can aid in monitoring changes in glaciers ice sheets, ocean processes, land water storage, vertical land motion, and glacial isostatic adjustment as contributors to a changing sea level. The pathfinder also provides access to datasets for monitoring the impacts of and the risk of coastal communities to sea level change.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Data Pathfinders
This series of pathfinders provide NASA observations or high-level products that are useful to produce SDG indicators, support SDG monitoring and implementation, and evaluate progress toward achieving sustainable development. The data have been grouped by SDG. These will be released as they are completed.
Water Quality Data Pathfinder
This pathfinder is geared to water quality managers and researchers who have a critical need to monitor bodies of water locally, regionally, and globally. It also helps those who are trying to determine the impacts of changes in water quality to ecosystems, humans, and the environment and to restore and protect coastal and surface waters.
- Ocean Color Data
- Sea Surface Temperature
- Inherent Optical Properties
- Ocean Color in Inland Freshwater Lakes
- In-situ Data
- Cyanobacteria Assessment Network (CYAN)
This pathfinder provides access to datasets that are critical in fire monitoring and fire management. Wildfire data, from NASA satellite missions, can be used to aid in forecasting events, monitor ongoing events, and assess post-fire areas.
- Forecasting—precipitation, soil moisture, drought severity, topography, land surface temperatures, vegetation density and extent
- Risk and response—total area burning, fire radiative power
- Post-fire impacts—total burned area, burn severity, and vegetation regrowth
Page Last Updated: Sep 3, 2021 at 1:42 PM EDT