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Introducing Earth Search Console: An AWS Open Data Exploration UI


Our team at Element 84 is proud to Introduce Earth Search Console, a new mapping interface that complements the existing Earth Search API. While APIs are powerful tools for data retrieval, pulling usable data visualizations from APIs can be challenging and time consuming for users without a broad technical understanding. Earth Search Console addresses this challenge by providing a simplified, user-friendly interface, making data exploration and access more accessible to a broader audience. With Earth Search Console, anyone can effortlessly explore and access data from the Earth Search API. This allows users to search for and visualize earth open data in a single application.

In its simplest form, Earth Search Console is a platform where users can, at no cost, view geospatial data. Earth Search Console enables users to access collections of publicly available geospatial data available on AWS using components from our FilmDrop user interface. We’re excited to spread the word about this open source resource as it provides an avenue to further increase accessibility and simplicity surrounding Earth Observation (EO) data – especially as a tool for exploring where and when data is available. 

Above, we mention that this Console is ultimately built to complement Earth Search. A STAC-compliant search-and-discovery API, Earth Search brings petabytes worth of Geospatial Open Datasets from the Registry of Open Data on AWS to users. Designed to enhance user experience, Earth Search Console is a map centric web UI used to complement and extend the capabilities of the Earth Search API. In this blog, we’ll detail how Earth Search Console leverages FilmDrop, and what Console components we are most excited about.

How does FilmDrop power Earth Search Console? 

A graphic depicting FilmDrop's elements Acquire feeding to Processing and Metadata, into Archive and Discovery, into Console.

By integrating FilmDrop into a visualization platform like Earth Search Console, we are able to implement our learnings from the FilmDrop ecosystem to unlock seamless access to open EO data. As a crucial element of FilmDrop, the UI component is a browser-based interface designed to showcase results from a STAC API. The data display can be tailored to meet specific user requirements through a configuration file, allowing organizations to brand it according to their themes. Just like we employ FilmDrop UI here to support Earth Search Console, by rolling out a FilmDrop implementation within your organization we can build a custom deployment that meets your organization’s needs.

As mentioned, the user interface compatibility with STAC API’s is a big component of Earth Search Console’s magic. FilmDrop offers compatibility with various STAC sources, making it versatile and adaptable to different data sources.

There are also advanced features that make FilmDrop UI indispensable for projects like Earth Search Console. These features include geohex and grid code aggregated views, cloud cover filtering, and support for reference data layers. Ultimately, these features enhance data exploration and visualization, resulting in a powerful tool for geospatial discovery and analysis.

Earth Search Console’s top features

Streamlined Data Exploration

A screenshot of a basic search result in earth search console.

Earth Search Console simplifies the exploration of Earth imagery through a user-friendly web application, making it easy to access and visualize vast datasets. With terabytes of EO data at our fingertips online, it feels overwhelming to know where to find imagery for a particular project, and, beyond that, how to view it in a way that makes sense for all parties involved. 

Versatile Data Access

Screenshot from Earth Search API Repo showing collections and basic summary data

Open data is at the core of this project. Earth Search Console offers users access to cloud-native AWS datasets and multiple imagery collections like Landsat, Sentinel-1, Sentinel-2, Copernicus DEM, and NAIP. This allows users with a variety of different project needs to find the specific data they’re looking for, without having to search a variety of databases to find it. 

Precision and Control

A screenshot from Earth Search Console with a visualization of data from Sentinel-2 Level 2A. The date range is set from July 2023 through September 2023, and there are 310 scenes shown with 4 scenes selected. T

Once you access the data your project needs, customization within Earth Search Console can further streamline your results to minimize time spent pairing down the data. The customization options include the ability for users to set specific date ranges and cloud cover thresholds for precise searches. Additionally, users can further pair down data by defining search areas via bounding boxes or geojson. This tool currently serves to primarily enable better data visualization, but functionality will soon be added allowing users to download the scenes resulting from their queries. 

Powerful Visualization

A screenshot of Earth Search Console depicting a map of the glove featuring aggregated results in hex cells.

Data is only able to reach its full potential when users can properly visualize it to fully extract insights and begin analysis. With Earth Search console, users are able to easily visualize data through scene overlays, on-the-fly mosaic creation, and high level aggregations. These visualizations also provide access to rich metadata, which offers users added insight that can lead to more informed decision-making.

Community-Driven Innovation 

A screenshot of the open source console UI repo

Earth Search Console is built on the open-source FilmDrop-UI project, ensuring continual development, community support, and simplified access to the latest advances in Earth imagery visualizations.

What’s next with Earth Search Console? 

If you’re reading this blog, you can access Earth Search Console for free right now. We’re looking forward to adding new features to Earth Search Console as time goes on, so check back often for updates

If you’re interested in learning more about FilmDrop and other implementations of FilmDrop like Earth Search Console, head over to our website and give us a follow on social media (X, Mastodon, LinkedIn). If you’re interested in setting up a custom deployment of FilmDrop for your own project, get in touch with our team of experts.