Thursday, July 10, 2008

My MODIS is Back and it's Better than Evers!

For those of you who don't already know, MODIS (or the Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectrometer) is an extremely useful sensor array that was built for a pair of NASA satellites called 'Terra' and 'Aqua'. In a similar fashion to good ol' Landsat TM, MODIS can image the earth at a vareity of wavelengths. Although it doesn't produce typically as sharp an image, MODIS has several advantages over Landsat that make it very useful for a vareity of purposes.

EOS Aqua, one of two MODIS satellites

1) MODIS works (see Landsat 6 and Landsat 7)

2) Terra and Aqua cover the earth DAILY (Landsat is on a 16 day cycle)
..and there are many others

As useful as that sounds, it doesn't do the layperson much good without a way to access the data they want. For about a year my favorite tool was the "OnEarth" Google Earth KML modis dalies (mostly defunct). One day I went to see them and the planet just went black. I dug around the contact information and got on the horn witht he person in charge and found out it was on a testing server that crashed. I was truly sad but she gave me a glimmer of hope, "Last December I replaced the subsets with a complete global coverage dataset that eliminates the "black" and the "white", called DailyPlanet. That one is stalled currently, I hope to get it restarted in July." Alas how far off July seemed....

But it's July now and lo-and-behold I get a surprise email from JPL that the new "Daily Planet" is up and running!! (love the name!)

Actual DailyPlanet KML in Google Earth 7/8/08

In case you're wondering why I'm so obsessed with this, just take another look at the MODIS Rapid Response System gallery. Like the June 27 pic for instance. It's very useful for keeping tabs on fires and smoke, snowcover, cloudcover, and weather systems. I think now you can imagine how useful it can be as an addition to your usual assortment weather and conditions forecasting tools.

So without further ado, here are the main links to this now working, fabulous tool:

Daily Planet KML (opens in Google Earth)

Google Earth Download

More OnEarth info

And for you non-Google Earthers, a web-based version:

Daily Planet WorldKit

My kudos to everyone associate with OnEarth at JPL for providing these amazing and valuable tools!

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