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‘Data Recipes’ for accessing and working with data at the NASA GES DISC

Step-by-step examples describe how to get the data scientists and other users need

‘Data Recipes’ for accessing and working with data at the NASA GES DISC

Users frequently request data for a particular season. Data recipes at the NASA GES DISC instruct users on how to perform this and many other procedures with data services and tools.

‘Data Recipes’ for accessing and working with data at the NASA GES DISC


The NASA Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center (GES DISC) is developing ‘data recipes’ for accessing and working with Earth science data:
Earth science data are frequently used by researchers, policymakers, educators, and engineers. These broad user communities can benefit from the GES DISC’s large variety of data sets and related data services and tools. Although user guides are typically provided for many of the data sets and tools at the GES DISC, the recipes go a step beyond these guides, by providing task-oriented, ‘How-To’ instructions for users at many different experience levels.
Similar to a recipe for cooking a delicious meal, a data recipe provides step-by-step instructions accompanied by screenshots, demonstrating how to use a data service or data tool. Each recipe contains the following eight sections:
  • Overview – summary of the recipe
  • Best When – conditions for which the recipe is applicable
  • Task -- group name to which the recipe topic belongs (obtaining data, reading/viewing data, etc.)
  • Example –description of an use scenario for the recipe
  • Tool or Service – name of the tool or service to which the recipe applies
  • Procedure -- steps of the recipe to be completed
  • Discussion -- additional information about using the service or tool
  • See Also -- related recipes
Figure 1 shows one of the current data recipes, for obtaining seasonal data using Mirador.
Data Recipes Web page for Seasonal Data
Figure 1.  Image of  a sample data recipe Web page at the NASA GES DISC for accessing seasonal data using Mirador.  Click on the image to view the full-size image.
Over time, as they are completed, these recipes will constitute a data services ‘cookbook.’ Recipes will be grouped by tasks, e.g., “How to obtain data” and “How to read and view data.” Under each “How to …” category, the topics will be further grouped by services, such as Mirador, OPeNDAP, Simple Subset Wizard, etc.; or tools, such as Panoply, GrADS, Giovanni, etc. In addition, examples or scenarios of how data are used in research and applications will be provided by a list of selected articles. 
Please send us comments on existing recipes. We encourage users to send us recipe topics that they wish to be added to the cookbook.


Article by Suhung Shen. Editing by James Acker and Bill Teng.  Web formatting by James Acker.
The GES DISC is a NASA earth science data center, part of the NASA Earth Science Data and Information System (ESDIS) Project.
Questions and comments? Email the NASA GES DISC Help Desk:


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Last updated: Jan 20, 2015 04:41 PM ET