Call for Code: Use remote sensing and Earth observation data from the International Space Station

September 22, 2018 Jina Kim

The International Space Station (ISS) surveys the surface of the earth every 24 hours providing a valuable stream of data on weather conditions that impact 90% of the world’s population. This information can be used in your Call for Code applications to help your users better prepare for and respond more quickly to natural disasters. The Center for Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the team that manages the ISS US National Laboratory, is a proud Call for Code Supporter. Read on to learn more about the services they make available to the public.

About CASIS, the organization that manages the ISS

The CASIS is the nonprofit organization that was selected to manage the ISS US National Laboratory, where they focus on enabling a new era of space research to improve life on Earth. In this role, CASIS promotes and brokers a diverse range of research in life sciences, physical sciences, remote sensing, technology development, and education.

Since 2011, the ISS US National Lab portfolio has included hundreds of novel research projects spanning multiple scientific disciplines, all with the intention of benefitting life on Earth. Working together with NASA, CASIS aims to advance the nation’s leadership in commercial space, pursue groundbreaking science not possible on Earth, and leverage the space station to inspire the next generation.

CASIS provides a range of data that you can use in your Call for Code application to improve how people prepare for, respond to, and recover from natural disasters.

Datasets, tools, APIs, and other resources for the benefit of all

  • NASA EarthData Search by EOSDIS

    This service is for terrestrial remote sensing from the International Space Station (ISS), and a focus for regional remote sensing in support of climate adaptation science. ESRS provides operations and science team functions for handheld camera crew photography of Earth from the ISS, interacts with other ISS sensor teams and working groups, and coordinates ISS remote sensing response to natural disasters. Additionally, ESRS supports other dynamic events through interaction with the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
  • NASA Earth Science Disasters Program Portal

    The NASA Disasters Program promotes the use of Earth observations to improve the prediction of, preparation for, response to, and recovery from natural and technological disasters. By sponsoring application science, the Program advances the readiness of results to enable disaster management practices, advance damage reduction, and build resilience. The Program targets a spectrum of disasters, including floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, and landslides as well as combined hazards and cascading impacts. This is achieved by facilitating timely access to reliable, relevant data and data products, focusing on the utility of information, maps, and models, and ensuring delivery in useable and understandable formats for incident response, emergency management, and recovery teams.
  • I4 ISS Instrument Integration Interface

    I4 is a powerful tool integrating data from the Crew Earth Observations, Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean, and the Sally Ride EarthKAM. It provides the capability to search various ISS remotely sensed datasets (current and historical, both crew operated and ground commanded) by using either an interactive map or a text-based interface. Its purpose is to promote discovery and use of ISS remotely sensed information of Earth. All data records point back to the original data provider whenever possible so you can get the original data products.
  • Crew EO

    Astronauts onboard the International Space Station use hand-held cameras to take images of the Earth for science and education purposes. The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth hosts the best and most complete online collection of astronaut photographs of the Earth from 1961 to the present.
  • Hyperspectral Imager for Coastal Ocean

    The Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean (HICO™) is an imaging spectrometer, based on the PHILLS airborne imaging spectrometers. HICO is the first spaceborne imaging spectrometer that’s designed to sample the coastal ocean. HICO demonstrates coastal products including water clarity, bottom types, bathymetry, and on-shore vegetation maps. During its five years in operation HICO collected over 10,000 scenes from around the world. HICO data are publicly available from both the OSU HICO website (in ENVI format) and the NASA Ocean Color website (in HDF5 format). Note that to access HICO data from the NASA website, an EOSDIS account is required.
  • Sally Ride EarthKAM

    Not everyone can go to space, but everyone can see Earth from an astronaut’s perspective with the Sally Ride Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students (Sally Ride EarthKAM) program. Thousands of students can remotely control a digital camera that’s mounted on the International Space Station, and use it to take photographs of coastlines, mountain ranges, and other interesting features. The EarthKAM team posts the students’ images on the Internet, where the public and participating classrooms can view Earth from a unique vantage point.

Onward and upwards

That should give you a taste for the breadth of data provided by the International Space Station. Hopefully you’ve gotten a feel for how you might use data from CASIS and NASA to form the core of your application or to extend what you’ve already built with additional data.

We look forward to seeing what you build for the 2018 Call for Code Global Challenge, or how you can make use of the data provided long beyond the competition this year. Don’t forget to get your submissions in by September 28th!

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