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Major, E.R., and Olsen, L.M. (2002). Earth Observing System (EOS) Data and Service Records Growing Through NASA's Global Change Master Directory. Eos Trans. AGU, 83(47), Fall Meet. Suppl. 2002.

The Earth Observing System (EOS), the cornerstone of NASA's Earth Science Enterprise (ESE) mission, is highlighted by the successful launches and instrument deployments of the Terra (launch: December, 1999) and Aqua (launch: May, 2002) spacecraft. Data collected by EOS instruments have significantly contributed to our understanding of Earth's processes with the first global pollution measurements, new global vegetation mapping, detection of large iceberg breakups in Antarctica, improved weather system models, and global wildfire monitoring. How will the student, researcher, educator, planner, or interested public know where to find EOS data? NASA's Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) staff ( works closely with EOS data centers to provide information about EOS data sets that can be searched through the directory. The GCMD holds data set descriptions that inform the user about the spatial and temporal coverage and resolution, where data can be ordered or downloaded, associated investigators, and links to the actual data, along with other information vital to assist the user in determining if the data are what is needed. The GCMD database contains more than 11,700 Earth science data set descriptions, of which more than 3000 refer to data from NASA ESE missions. The GCMD database can be searched for EOS data sets using an extensive set of Earth science topic keywords (more than 1200 keywords are controlled through a 3 level hierarchy) or by free-text. Data sets can also be discovered by searching by platform (or spacecraft), instrument, data center, geographic location, or project. For example, a user may conduct a search for all data sets from Terra or data sets collected by the MODIS instrument. Users can focus their searches using GCMD's portal technology to search only those data set descriptions available from the Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) through the ESIP portal ( The ESIP consists of EOS data providers, along with other researchers and organizations using EOS data for research and applications. In addition to locating EOS data sets, users can discover other Earth science data sets from outside the EOS community relevant to global change research from over 1500 data providers from around the world. Earth science related services ( are also searchable. Examples range from specialized tools for browsing, manipulating, and visualizing EOS data products to Earth science educational products and environmental hazard advisory services. Users can search the services database using controlled keywords or free-text to discover data set specific tools like the misr-view visualization software for MISR and AirMISR data or the Graphical Interface for Subsetting, Mapping, and Ordering (GISMO) tool for snow and ice data.

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Updated: 14-Jan-2005