David Gallaher

Senior Associate Scientist
Manager, Technical Services


M.S., Northern Arizona University, 1984
B.S., University of Illinois, 1979


Big Data analytics, satellite remote sensing, spatial-temporal information systems, large scale database integration, raster and vector GIS, satellite system development, production data systems, data center energy efficiency, contract administration, organizational structures, work plans, project management, prioritization methodologies, and IT best practices.

  • Project Manager and Co-Investigator on an NSF grant for a project to design and prototype a process (through creation of a condensate database "Data Rods") for addressing time-series data as pure objects that will enable time-centric change analysis of massive remote sensing data.
  • Principal Investigator on a project to recover Nimbus satellite data from the 1960s to determine the sea ice extent during that decade.
  • Part of the team building a low cost CubeSat “PolarCube,” a 118GHz Passive microwave satellite to monitor polar ice and atmospheric conditions.
  • Award winning  “Green Data Center” at NSIDC that reduced the power consumption for cooling by 90 percent and total energy use by more than 70 percent.

Recent Highlights

IT Services Manager, National Snow and Ice Data Center, Boulder, CO, 2007-present
IT Director, City of Boulder, Boulder, CO, 2005-2007
IT Development Manager, Jefferson County, Golden, CO, 1995-2005
Manager GIS, Advanced Sciences Incorporated, San Diego, CA, 1992-1995
Manager GIS Development, Petroleum Information Corporation, Littleton, CO, 1988-1992

Current Roles

David is responsible for the IT systems at the National Snow and Ice Data Center. The center has an interdisciplinary staff providing data management and scientific support to the cryospheric sciences. The IT group has about 20 staff engaged in database, systems administration, and engineering.



Liu Q., Q. Lv, C. Chen, D. Gallaher, G. Grant, and L. Shang. 2017. Unsupervised detection of contextual anomaly in remotely sensed data. Remote Sensing of Environment doi: 10.1016/j.rse.2017.01.034.


Grant G., D. Gallaher, Q. Lv, Q, Liu, R. Klucik, and C. Fowler. 2016. Demonstrating condensed massive satellite datasets for rapid data exploration: The MODIS land surface temperatures of Antarctica. N13B-1655 AGU 2016 Proceedings.


Grant G., and D. Gallaher. 2015. A novel technique for time-centric analysis of massive remotely-sensed datasets. Remote Sensing 2015, 7(4): 3986-4001. doi: 10.3390/rs70403986.

Gallaher D., G. Campbell, W. Meier, J. Moses, and D. Wingo. 2015. The process of bringing dark data to light: The rescue of the early Nimbus Satellite data. GeoResJ 6: 124-134. doi: 10.1016/j.grj.2015.02.013.


Gallaher, D., G. Campbell, and W. Meier. 2014. Anomalous variability in Antarctic sea ice extents during the 1960’s with the use of Nimbus satellite data. Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing 7(3): 881-887, doi:10.1109/JSTARS.2013.2264391.

Hobish, M., D. Gallaher, G. Campbell, and W. Meier. 2014. Dark data rescue: shedding new light on old photons. The Earth Observer 26(3): 4-10, NP-2014-1-115-GSFC.


Meier, W.N., D. Gallaher, and G.G. Campbell. 2013. New estimates of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice extent during September 1964 from recovered Nimbus I satellite imagery. Cryosphere 7: 699-705, doi:10.5194/tc-7-699-2013.


Liang Y., W. Colgan, Q. Lv, K. Steffen, W. Abdalati, J. Stroeve, D. Gallaher, and N. Bayou. 2012. A decadal investigation of supraglacial lakes in West Greenland using a fully automatic detection and tracking algorithm. Remote Sensing of Environment 123: 127–138.



Campbell G., and D. Gallaher. 2014. NIMBUS 3 and 4 visible image climatology: 1969 and 1970. IN43E-08 AGU 2014 Proceedings, San Francisco, CA.

Gallaher D. 2013. Case Study: The revolutionary data center retrofit. ASHREA 2014 High Performance Cooling in Data Centers in the Digital Era, Bogota, Columbia.

Gallaher D., G. Grant, Q. Lv, and Q. Liu. 2014. The condensate database for Big Data analysis. IN23C-3743 AGU 2014 Proceedings, San Francisco, CA.


Gallaher D. 2013. The revolutionary retrofit: a low cost approach for massively cutting energy use and improving reliability. Datacenter Dynamics Converged, 12 June 2013, Kinepolis, Madrid, Spain.

Gallaher, D. 2013. The revolutionary retrofit: how to massively cut energy use and improve reliability. Green Data Center Conference 2013, Opening keynote presentation, San Diego, CA.

Gallaher D., and G. Campbell. 2013. Recovery of 1960’s Nimbus satellite data for climate studies, AGU 2013 Proceedings, San Francisco, CA.

Gasiewski, A., B. Sanders, D. Gallaher, R. Weaver, T. Scambos, L. Periasamy, and K. Hwang. 2013. Cubesat based sensors for global weather observation. IGARRS 2013 Proceedings, Melbourne, Australia.

Weaver R., D. Gallaher, A. Gasiewski, B. Sanders, L. Periasamy, K .Hwang, G. Alvarenga, and A. Hickey. 2013. PolarCube: a high resolution passive microwave satellite for sounding and imaging at 118 GHz. AGU 2013 Proceedings, San Francisco, CA.


Campbell, G., D. Gallaher, and W. Meier. 2012. Massive variability in 1960’s maximum Antarctic sea ice extent from Nimbus satellite data. AGU 2012 Proceedings, San Francisco, CA.

Gallaher, D., G. Campbell, G. Grant, 2012: Using an object database to examine properties of ice in the Arctic. AGU 2012 Proceedings, San Francisco, CA.

Gallaher, D., A. Gasiewski, R. Weaver, and S. Sanders. 2012. PolarCube: building an Arctic observing, passive microwave CubeSat. International Symposium on Small Satellites for Arctic and Maritime Operations and Research, Washington, DC.

Gallaher. D., G. Grant, and G. Campbell. 2012. Data rods: high speed, time-series analysis of massive cryospheric data sets using pure object databases. IGARRS 2012 Proceedings, Munich, Germany.

Gallaher D., Q. Lv, G. Grant, and G. Campbell. 2012. High speed, time-series analysis of massive data sets using pure object database methods. UCAR Software Engineering Assembly Conference, Boulder, CO.

Grant, G., G. Campbell, D. Gallaher, J. Stroeve, and J. Key. 2012. A new look at the AVHRR Polar Pathfinder data and why good data sometimes goes bad. AGU 2012 Proceedings, San Francisco, CA.

Weaver, R., A. Gasiewski, D. Gallaher, B. Sanders, L. Periasamy, and T. Scambos. 2012. PolarCube – a CubeSat to monitor the sea ice and atmosphere temperature structures. AGU 2012 Proceedings, San Francisco, CA.

Weerts, B., D. Gallaher, R. Weaver, and O. Van Geet. 2012. Green data center: energy reduction strategies: airside economization and unique indirect evaporative cooling. IEEE Green Technologies Conference Proceedings, Tulsa, OK.


Duerr R., S. Lewis, D. Gallaher, S.J.S. Khalsa, and J. Stroeve. 2011. SAGE: a tool for time-series analysis of Greenland. AGU 2011 Proceedings, San Francisco, CA.

Gallaher D. 2011. Forcing engineering revolution, not evolution: improving performance of the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Western Cooling Efficiency Center Conference, Davis, CA.

Gallaher. D., and G. Grant. 2011. Managing massive remote sensing data in a database: using a pure object database as a solution. IGARRS 2011 Proceedings, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Gallaher D., Q. Lv, G. Grant, and Y. Liang. 2011. Data rods: high speed, time-series analysis of massive cryospheric data sets using object-oriented database methods. AGU 2011 Proceedings, San Francisco, CA.

Gallaher D., W. Meier, G. Campbell, and J. Moses. 2011. Nimbus satellite data rescue project for sea ice extent: preliminary results from September 1964, 1966, and 1969. AGU 2011 Proceedings, San Francisco, CA.

Gallaher, D., W. Meier, and G. Garrett Campbell. 2011. Reprocessed datasets and climate: creation of 1960’s sea-Ice extent CDRs/ESDRs from historic satellite ata. World Climate Research Program Open Science Conference, Denver, CO.

Gallaher D., O. Van Geet, and R. Osbaugh. 2011. Low Energy Retrofit for a Key Tool in the Fight Against Climate Change: Improving Performance of the National Snow and Ice Data Center. USGBC/CO Rocky Mountain Green 2011, Denver, CO.


Gallaher, D., W. Meier, J. Moses, D. Wingo, and M. Sandler. 2010. Determining 1960's sea-ice extent from early Nimbus satellite data. AGU 2010 Proceedings, San Francisco, CA.

Gallaher, D., and D. Wingo, 2010. The potential for determining historic sea ice extent from 1960s Nimbus HRIR satellite data. IGARRS 2010 Proceedings.

Grant, G., and D. Gallaher. 2010. Managing cryospheric remote sensing data entirely within a pure-object database. AGU 2010 Proceedings, San Francisco, CA.

Liang, Y., Q. Lv, and D. Gallaher. 2010. Automatic temporal tracking of supra-glacial lakes. AGU 2010 Proceedings, San Francisco, CA.


Gallaher, D., and C. Judy. 2009. Building a green data center. RASEI - Third Annual Energy Research Symposium.

Gallaher, D., D. Wingo, A. Epps, and M. Sandler. 2009 Can sea-ice extent from the 1960s be determined from reprocessed Nimbus and other historic space based data? AGU 2009 Proceedings, San Francisco, CA..

Lewis, S., D. Gallaher, S.J.S. Khalsa, R. Duerr, D. B. Billingsley, D. Fanning, M. Savoie, and S. Reed. 2009. Services for Analysis of the Greenland Environment (SAGE). AGU 2009 Proceedings, San Francisco, CA.


Gallaher, D., M. Brodzik, T. Scambos, and J. Stroeve. 2008. Forcing interoperability: An intentionally fractured approach. AGU 2008 Proceedings.

Gallaher, D., R. Weaver, J. Stroeve, and R. Swick. 2008. Data access tools—filling the usability gap in cryospheric data. IGARSS 2008 Proceedings.


Raza, A., and D. Gallaher. 2006. Workshop: Introduction to object-oriented spatio-temporal data modeling. Presentation at URISA Annual Conference.


Gallaher, D., and L. Schaner. 2004. Automated rectification of vector parcels & planimetrics to raster imagery—No rubber sheeting. Presentation at ESRI User Conference.


Gallaher, D., and M. Weeks. 2003. A systematic approach to high-resolution fire fuel model development. Presentation at ESRI User Conference.

O’Brien, S., and D. Gallaher. 2003. Linux at work for U.S. citizens: A county government case study. Presentation at Linux World Annual Conference.

Souleyrette, R., T. Lillesand, J. Dangermond, D. Gallaher, and A. Wald. 1999. Panel on critical issues in the successful use of high resolution satellite Data. Presentation at PECORA 14 Conference.

Related Resources

Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES)

Contact NSIDC User Services for more information.