Google Earth Engine: Democratizing Global Geospatial Analysis with Cloud Computing

Sunday, 15 February 2015: 1:30 PM-4:30 PM
Room 210CD (San Jose Convention Center)
David Thau, Google Inc., Mountain View, CA
Google Earth Engine is a cloud computing environment for data analysis

that combines a public data catalog with a large-scale computational

facility optimized for parallel processing of geospatial data. The data

catalog is a multi-petabyte archive of georeferenced datasets that include

images from Earth observing satellite and airborne sensors (examples: USGS

Landsat, NASA MODIS, USDA NAIP), weather and climate datasets, and digital

elevation models. Earth Engine supports both a just-in-time computation

model that enables real-time preview and debugging during algorithm

development for open-ended data exploration, and a batch computation mode

for applying algorithms over large spatial and temporal extents. The

platform automatically handles many traditionally-onerous data

management tasks, such as data format conversion, reprojection, and

resampling, which facilitates writing algorithms that combine data from

multiple sensors and/or models. Although the primary use of Earth Engine,

to date, has been the analysis of large Earth observing satellite datasets,

the computational platform is generally applicable to a wide variety of 

use cases that require large-scale geospatial data analyses.  The cloud-based

nature of the platform effectively gives anyone with a web browser

access to a supercomputer tuned specifically for geospatial analysis.

This talk will focus on how Earth Engine has been used by organizations to

educate the public about environmental challenges, and by educators bringing

real time satellite image display and analysis into their classroomes.