Filter and order from a data set web page using the Data Access Tool

Many NSIDC DAAC data sets can be accessed using the NSIDC DAAC's Data Access Tool. This tool provides the ability to search and filter data with spatial and temporal constraints using a map-based interface.

Users have the option to

  1. Download a Python script
  2. Place an order to download files
  3. Pass their selection through to Earthdata Search to further customize and order there

Let's get started with how to use the NSIDC DAAC Data Access Tool.

Step 1: Go to a dataset landing page

Any data set that is compatible with the Data Access Tool will have it listed as an option under the Data Access & Tools section of the data set landing page. This article will use the MEaSUREs Greenland Ice Velocity: Selected Glacier Site Velocity Maps data set as an example, but all data sets will have a similar workflow.

Start by going to the data set landing page:

Step 2: Select the Data Access Tool

On the data set landing page, choose the menu button for Data Access & Tools.

Screenshot highlighting data access menu button

The menu button link will take you down the page to the download options section.

Screenshot of data access tool card

In the Data Access Tool Card, click the title: Data Access Tool. This will load the Data Access Tool populated with the data product you have selected.

Screenshot showing default Everest screen

Step 3: Filter results by spatial and temporal constraints and/or text wildcards

Spatial and temporal filters can help limit data to a region of interest or time period. Spatial filtering can be applied by drawing a bounding box or polygon or entering latitude and longitude bounding box coordinates. A shapefile or GeoJSON file can also be imported. A temporal filter can be applied by entering a start and end date. Use the reset or trash icons to delete any filters.

Screenshot of data selection with temporal and spatial filters
Quick tip: The easiest way to select one file is to copy the filename in the Filename list and paste it into the Search file names box above the list of file names.


The use of wildcards can also be applied to search and filter by file names. For example:

  • Use * (asterisk) to match any number of characters in the file name (e.g. *W69.10N or *W69*18Sep)
  • Use ? (question mark) to match any one character (e.g. ?W)
Screenshot of data access cool with wildcard and filename

Step 4: Login to your NASA Earthdata account

Click the Login to Earthdata button above the list of file names and enter your credentials. Access to any NASA data requires a NASA Earthdata user account. You can also use the link to register as a user if you don't have an account yet. 

Step 5: Download files or customize further

Below the list of file names, select the download option that best fits your needs. Options include a python script, receiving a list of download links (<2000 files), or ordering through NASA Earthdata Search (for orders >2000 files). This last option will also provide you more options to further customize your selection.

Please note if you are trying to download a large number of files (e.g. hundreds) using the python script then the script may timeout and stop running. This happens rarely but if it does occur, then just start the script running again and it will check which files have already been downloaded and it will download the remaining files that you requested.


Screenshot of data sset list with access buttons

Last updated: August 2022