National Computational Infrastructure

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Earth Observation


Overview of the collection information.
Title Project Usage Project Code Global File System THREDDS Other Services
Satellite Imagery of Earth Observations 700TB rs0, fk4, ry8, wx7 gdata2 Yes (Partial, old version)
MODIS 371TB u39 gdata2 Yes
Himawari 400TB rr5 gdata2 Yes
Ocean Maps 200TB rr6 gdata1 Yes
Synthetic Aperture Radar 42TB fj7 gdata2 Yes
Digitised Aerial Survey Photography 61TB fk2 gdata2 No
Australian Marine Video and Imagery 6TB fk1 gdata1 Yes
Soil moisture 2TB fj4 gdata1 No

Satellite Imagery of Earth Observations

This collection contains satellite imagery or Earth Observations from space created by Geoscience Australia. Among others, the collection includes data from various satellite sensors including Landsat Thematic Mapper and Multi-Spectral Scanner, Terra and Aqua MODIS.


NCI is the regional repository for the southeast Asian set of the European Commission’s Copernicus Earth observation data. The regional Copernicus data hub, managed by Geoscience Australia for the Australian Government, will include data covering sea temperature, atmospheric composition, vegetation health and many other environmental variables.

The Copernicus program collects vast amounts of global data from the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT)’s Sentinel satellites, a growing fleet orbiting the Earth and capturing new measurements every day. This data is then stored, analysed and distributed for a wide range of applications such as environmental protection, sustainable resource development, climate change mitigation and managing risks and emergency response for natural disasters.

These efforts to enhance access to satellite data come at a critical time; as the region undergoes massive changes in population and urban density, those living within it are expected to face several great challenges, including the protection of environmental assets, promotion of sustainable natural resource development, and risk reduction for natural disasters. Through the Copernicus Regional Data Hub, many different governmental and land management organisations in Australia and throughout the region will have access to high-resolution, timely data products. The increased coverage, resolution and variety of the earth observations will open up many possibilities for research, policy and industrial uses in the coming years.

More information about the Copernicus Regional Data Hub can be found here. Access to the data is through NCI’s THREDDS server, here.

This initiative is part of the EU-funded Earth Server 2 project.

Australian Moderate Resolution Satellite Products

These data collections comprise time series from satellite sensors that provide complete continental coverage approximately daily (or at least every few days). These sensors typically have a spatial resolution of 0.5 to 1km and are carried on polar orbiting satellites. Future geostationary satellite sensors are now approaching this spatial resolution also, and provide complete disc coverage many times daily.

The data collections can include multiple levels of processing from a single sensor. For example for several sensors the raw data packets received from the satellite downlink are stored. These may then be accompanied by intermediate level products (so-called L1B: calibrated, geolocated top-of-atmosphere radiances), as well as higher level geophysical products and/or a variety of interpreted or classified indices. Additionally, a range of ancillary data required for processing the data, such as satellite ephemerides, or atmospheric or surface state files may be archived together with some collections.

The data sets collectively underpin a range of national products that are used by CSIRO, TERN, or IMOS. The sensors include NOAA/AVHRR (Noaa-09 through Noaa-19), SeaWIFS, MERIS, MODIS Terra and Aqua. NPP/VIIRS. Potential future inclusions are ATSR* and HIMAWARI-8.

Remote and Insitu Observations products for Earth system modelling

Collection of remotely observed and insitu observed data products from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (Observation and Infrastructure Division, the National Meteorological and Oceanographic Centre (NMOC) and The Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research) to support earth system modelling and ocean/marine modelling.

Within the data collection is geostationary satellite data leading to Himawari-8 data as well as MODIS and AVHRR data sets for land surface and marine environments. The data collection represents the Bureau’s daily operational observations support weather and climate model analysis and verification.

Data and metadata based on a variety of formats such as netCDF and Climate-Forecast (CF) v1.6 conventions with support for Unidata data discovery conventions, WMO BUFR format, and HDF.

More information about this collection can be found at

Ocean and Marine Modelling and Forecast Products

Collection of ocean circulation and marine wave and inudation analysis and forecast model output from National Meteorological and Oceanographic Centre and CAWCR using the various modelling systems for a variety of domains such as global, regional, and coastal. The data collection represents the Bureau’s daily forecast of ocean circulation, wave analysis and model output including research reanalysis of global, regional and coastal ocean circulation and marine wave environments. Additionally the collection contains the tsunami wave propogation scenarios and model output.

The analysis data is outputted from the BLUElink Ocean Data Assimilation Software (BODAS), the forecast data from the NOAA MOM4 software and Ocean Model And Prediction System (OceanMAPS), and the wave model output from the Wave Watch 3 software. The tsunami model scenarios are outputted from NOAA’s MOST modelling software.

Digitised Australian Aerial Survey Photography Collection

The Aerial Survey Photography Records consist of more than 11,000 film negatives as well as derivative contract prints and diapositives. These records of the Australian landscape were created by Geoscience Australia and its predecessor agencies such as the Australian Surveying and Land Information Group, the Australian Survey Office and the Division of National Mapping. The records were captured during the period c.1928-1993 and have been used as the basis for the Commonwealth government topographic map production as well as providing an opportunity to track environmental changes in the landscape over an extensive period of time. Antarctic films are also included in the collection. The entire collection was transferred to National Archives Australia in December 2010.

More information about this collection can be found at

Satellite Soil Moisture Products Collection

This collection consolidates the wide range of satellite-derived soil moisture (SM) products, which span approximately 30 years from a range data providers, into a single repository for Australian research community to access. Examples of satellite SM sensors include, from passive radiometry, SSMI, TMI, AMSR-E, AMSR2, SMOS, and from active scatterometry, ASAR, ERS, ASCAT, WindScat. The planned SMAP mission (scheduled for launch in Nov 2014) will be the first dedicated soil moisture sensing mission to combine both active and passive sources for high resolution (~10 km) mapping of soil moisture for the globe. The driver for consolidating the multiple time series of SM products is their demonstrated capacity to constrain land surface models, particularly their representation of water in the soil column, which leads to improved root-zone soil moisture assessment, latent heat flux estimation, and partitioning of rainfall into infiltration and surface runoff.

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