I just returned from Washington D.C. where I was involved in a series of meetings at the Association of Science-Technology Centers. In one of the meetings, I had an opportunity to meet David Herring from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. He helps coordinate NASA’s Earth Observatory website.
Launched in 1998, the Earth Observatory has been one of the best spots on the Internet for learning about our planet’s dynamic systems. The site is nominated (again) for a Webby Award as Best Education Site and deservedly so. (You can vote here.)
The Earth of Observatory has been a source of inspiration, and a model that we’ve looked at in developing sites that utilize actual scientific data. In the past, Ideum has developed sites that present scientific data such as: Solar Max (2001), The Global Climate Change Research Explorer (2003), the Sun-Earth Media Viewer (2004), among others. So, it was great to meet someone else who has worked on sites with a similar focus.
In the meeting, David previewed NEO, which stand for NASA Earth Observations. The site provides a Flash 8 pan and zoom interface and will eventually provide access to a wealth of full-resolution earth imagery. At the moment, the Ocean section has the most in the way of data-sets. In NEO, the images are available in multiple formats and at the same resolution that NASA scientists use for research. This great for those of us who depend on high-quality, high-resolution images for exhibit development.
The site is beta, a bit rough around the edges, and not publicly linked, but David was nice enough to give us permission to write about it. Along with its beta status, NEO is gathering information through a survey. So if you do check it out, give them a bit of feedback. Ok?