Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Towards a planetary spatial data infrastructure

June 21, 2017

Planetary science is the study of planets, moons, irregular bodies such as asteroids and the processes that create and modify them. Like terrestrial sciences, planetary science research is heavily dependent on collecting, processing and archiving large quantities of spatial data to support a range of activities. To address the complexity of storing, discovering, accessing, and utilizing spatial data, the terrestrial research community has developed conceptual Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) models and cyberinfrastructures. The needs that these systems seek to address for terrestrial spatial data users are similar to the needs of the planetary science community: spatial data should just work for the non-spatial expert. Here we discuss a path towards a Planetary Spatial Data Infrastructure (PSDI) solution that fulfills this primary need. We first explore the linkage between SDI models and cyberinfrastructures, then describe the gaps in current PSDI concepts, and discuss the overlap between terrestrial SDIs and a new, conceptual PSDI that best serves the needs of the planetary science community.