NASA DAAC Data Services Now Accessible as an API Endpoint

Are you looking to customize MODIS, GLAS, AMSR-E, or SMAP data? While customization options such as subsetting and reformatting are currently available through the NASA Earthdata Search web application, these services can now be accessed programmatically as a synchronous REST interface.

How does the API work?

Programmatic access to these data services is provided via an HTTPS URL. The programmatic access endpoint contains key-value pairs that utilize the Common Metadata Repository (CMR) to find the requested data, as well as the subsetting, reformatting, and reprojecting services to customize those data. When utilizing this API in a command line environment, the customized output is returned as either a single file or multi-file zip downloaded directly to your machine’s current working directory.

Programmatic access architecture

Architecture of the EOSDIS Service Interface. CMR and data processing services are called via programmatic API access. Source: https://developer.earthdata.nasa.gov/sdps/programmatic-access-docs

Why access data services programmatically?

While the NASA Earthdata Search application provides a comprehensive web-based search and order interface, you may be looking for a more direct access point for customized data. Using the new API feature, these data can now be easily accessed using a variety of approaches including URL transfer protocols (e.g. curl: https://curl.haxx.se/) and MATLAB readers (e.g. https://www.mathworks.com/help/matlab/ref/geotiffread.html). In addition, work is currently ongoing to provide OGC Web Coverage Service (WCS) compatibility, enabling data access through WCS-supported software such as ArcGIS, QGIS, and GeoServer.

Where can I learn more?

An overview guide to this API can be found at http://nsidc.org/support/how/how-do-i-programmatically-request-data-services. This guide walks you through the basic steps needed to construct the API, as well as resources to help you determine the customization options available for your data set(s) of interest. Comprehensive documentation provided by the API developers is also available on the Earthdata Developer Portal.

Comments? Concerns? Feedback?

Let us know! Email us at nsidc@nsidc.org to let us know how we can improve this API.