Fifth International World Wide Web Conference

May 6-10, Paris, France

Workshops: Call For Participation

WWW Access to Earth Observation/Geo-referenced Data


The objectives of this workshop are to share experiences between developers of Web based Earth Science data systems and to promote both the interoperability of such systems and software exchange. To provide better Earth Science resource location tools on the Web, and in particular to allow geographic based searching. To exchange information with non-traditional Earth Science data systems. This workshop is sponsored by the CEOS (Committee on Earth Observation Satellites) WWW Task Team.

Latest Information

The latest information concerning the workshop: position papers, attendees, detailled program, will be made available by the workshop chairman at the following URL:


rom the early days of the Web, research institutes and suppliers of remote sensed satellite data have used the Web as a medium for presentation of data. The satellite data is particularly suited to the Web, because the results can nearly always be represented as images. Derived data such as sea surface temperatures are also represented as false colour images. Real time data for example from meteorological satellites, are of immediate appeal for general use, and these sites are heavily used.

The concern for Global Change research, has identified the need to gather and disseminate environmental data , modeling data, and research data on a global international scale. There are several international programmes underway designed to meet this need. Examples are the G7 Environment and Natural Resources Management (ENRM), UNEP GRID, GCDIS, and others. Such types of data and information are characterised by their geographic location and their time of acquisition. This is similar to remote sensed data.

The first phase of Earth Science Web servers were characterised mainly by promotional material and example images. However, it has been recognised that the need of distributed information systems is to provide access to information and data. Therefore there is now much effort being put into interfacing catalogues, inventories and databases to the Web. There are in general four levels of information.

1) Inventories of Data Centres, Researchers, Research Papers, and documents We call this a virtual yellow pages directory.

2) Metadata archives. Metadata describes information about data. That is it contains enough specific information to inform a researcher of the place, time, quality, measurement parameters and other attributes about a given data-set. The data-set itself can be ordered off-line. Metadata is often held inside catalogue systems of the data suppliers.

3) Access to raw-data itself. Having isolated a given dataset, a user would prefer to download the data on-line. There exist some servers giving access to the raw data through such means. This data is currently free. The implications of charging and data policy , overlap with the concerns of commercial services via the Web. The main limitation on this type of service is network bandwidth. In addition there are some interesting recent developments allowing application programs remote access to data via http servers.

4) On-line data services. This type of service provides access to software applications which act on data at the local site and display the results usually graphically via html generated 'on the fly'. More sophisticated examples actually access data remotely. That is a user puts data on his server, enters the URL to the remote application, via the html forms interface. The application picks up the user's data, processes it and displays the results on the next page of html.

There are several examples of types 1 and 2, a few of type 3 and even less of type 4. There are rapid developments in software , network bandwidth and research requirements taking place which will change this balance in the future. Therefore this workshop provides a timely forum to discuss these future developments and directions What is possible now within current network bandwidths and what will become possible as technology and bandwidth develop.

Workshop Agenda

The workshop is divided into 3 main sessions which roughly reflect current developments. in Earth Observation and Earth Science services.

Workshop Committee

Yonsook Enloe -- yonsook.enloe@gsfc.nasa.gov -- NASA
Clive Best -- clive.best@jrc.it -- CEO
Zavisa Bjelogrlic -- zavisa@roma.intecs.it -- ESA/Intecs
R. Suresh -- suresh@ulabsgi.gsfc.nasa.gov -- NASA/HSTX

Introduction :

Survey of existing WWW based Earth Science systems

Session 1): Resource discovery/location. (2.5 hours)

Position Paper: Resource discovery/location.

This session concerns techniques for advertising and locating geographically referenced resources on Internet. How to establish cooperation between sites and their interoperability.
Contact: Clive Best (CEO/JRC) clive.best@jrc.it

Session 2) Gateways to Catalogs of Earth Observation Data (2.5 hrs)