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Abstract: NASA A-Train Vertical Data (“Curtains”) in Google Earth

2007 AGU Fall Meeting, December 10-14,San Francisco, CA

NASA A-Train Vertical Data (“Curtains”) in Google Earth

Aijun Chen1,2, Gregory Leptoukh2, Liping Di1, Christopher Lynnes2, Steven Kempler2 and Denis Nadeau2, 3

1Center for Spatial Information Science and Systems (CSISS), George Mason University
6301 Ivy Lane, Ste. 620, Greenbelt, MD 20770, USA
2Goddard Earth Science Data and Information Services Center (GES DISC),
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Code 610.2, Greenbelt, MD, 20771, USA
3RSIS Inc, 1651 Old Meadow Road, McLean, VA 22102

Google Earth combines satellite imagery, aerial photography, map data, and human-social data to make a real 3D interactive template of the world. It is revolutionizing the way that general public recognize our planet and professional scientists discover, add, and share information about different geographic-related subjects in the world. NASA Goddard Earth Science (GES) Data and Information Service Center (DISC) has done innovative work integrating NASA imagery in Google Earth in order to facilitate scientific research and releasing of geospatial-related public information. The NASA imagery includes two dimensional (2D) flat data and three dimensional (3D) vertical data. Here, a new solution is introduced to integrate the vertical data from the A-Train constellation satellites CloudSat, CALIPSO (Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation), and Aqua (mainly MODIS and AIRS products) into Google Earth to vividly expose cloud, aerosol, and H2O characteristics and atmospheric temperature profile in the form of curtain along the satellite orbit.

All kinds of vertical data are first processed by GIOVANNI (GES-DISC Interactive Online Visualization ANd aNalysis Infrastructure) A-Train system based on user-selected spatial/temporal range and physical parameters. The resultant image is processed into transparent small image slices with each image slice representing the fixed temporal internal orbit range. A generalized COLLADA (COLLAborative Design Activity) 3D model is designed to render the image slices in the form of 3D. Based on the designed COLLADA models and satellite orbit coordinates, an orbit model is designed and implemented in KML (Keyhole Markup Language) format. The resultant orbit curtain makes vertical data viewable, transparently or opaquely, in Google Earth. Thus, three- dimensional science research data can be made available to scientists and the general public in a popular venue. Also, simultaneous visualization and efficient exploration of the relationships among quantitative geospatial data (e.g. comparing the vertical data profiles with MODIS, AIRS data and TRMM precipitation data) becomes possible.

This method allows combining vertical data together with other geospatial data for scientific research and allows better understanding of our planet. A key capability of the system is the ability to visualize and compare diverse, simultaneous data from different providers, revealing new information and knowledge that would otherwise be hidden.

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