NASA’s Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) provides full and open access to more than 17.5 petabytes of Earth observation data. These data are managed by NASA’s Earth Science Data and Information System (ESDIS) Project. This interesting information came to us from Earth Data in their article, “The Common Metadata Repository: The Foundation of NASA’s Earth Observation Data.”

Petabytes? To give an idea of how much data this represents, 1 petabyte has been described as being equal to roughly 20 million file cabinets filled with text. Let that sink in for a minute.

It is estimated that by 2020 the cumulative EOSDIS data archive will be around 65 petabytes in size, and by 2025 it may be more than 330 petabytes in size.

Astonishingly enough, even with this sobering amount of data, EOSDIS has developed systems that allow data users from around the world to easily search the entire EOSDIS data catalog and find relevant data products in less than a second, all by using metadata as its foundation.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Data Harmony, a unit of Access Innovations, the world leader in indexing and making content findable.