Data Visualization Tools for Climate Change Education and Decision Support


This session will explore ways that data visualization tools can be used in multiple scenarios including climate change education and decision support. A series of new NOAA tools will be demonstrated and discussed: NOAA View, Data Snapshots, TerraViz and Data in the Classroom, with an example linkage to NGSS . Also featured will be NASA Worldview and Global Imagery Browse Services (GIBS), as well as the CIMSS EarthNow Climate Digest product for Science on a Sphere (SOS) exhibits and other computer platforms. All ESIP members interested in data visualization are encouraged to attend and join the discussion. 


Introduction of first speaker:



speaking about developing a portal for visualization

  • Data for different people with different needs: museums, people in the public sphere

  • Addresses specific assumptions about the user - this is creating a system that allows for extension

  • 70 different data sets in the system


  • Showing the visualization as demo:

  • Using tiled imagery- ability to drill down

  • Discussion of the process and features: Data - real time formats - outputs - storage - access

  • Over 170 scripts running

  • Describes types of data sets: ocean, atmospere, land, cryosphere, climate

          (Trying to keep the menu short)

Q: Date range?

A: It depends on the data

Incorporating best practices:

  • color theory and perception - ROYGBIVs are not good

  • browser and platform agnostic approach

  • simple taxonomy and browsing structure

  • everything is prerendered and tiled

Educational Connections:

  • Science on a sphere network


  • TerraViz


  • Partners in educational grant opportunities

Asks about other connections from the group?

  • Discussion of linking to NGSS (Next Gen science standards)

  • Objectives for the 3rd through 12th grade - potential to partner

  • Discussion of next steps for the project:

  • new global datasets

  • beta finalization

  • javascript 3D libraries

  • multi-view (more than one data sets viewed at once)

  • ipad app merger with NEO or SOS

  • Additional imagery and formats


Frank: NOAA

begins with discussion about the importance of NGSS and the potential to be involved with the use in the classroom

Introducing a new feature of Maps and Data tab of data portal

Audience focused

discussion of the different audiences and how to make accessible visualization for multiple audiences and discoverable

Data Snap Shots: will bring a set of NOAA’s popular climate maps into a specific interface

Addresses best practices for best viewing

Jargon-free questions and answers to describe each map

Discussion of Traceability function- “Read More” pathway

IDentifying different pathways for use:

  • web

  • presentations

  • high def TV….

Addresses themes and datasets that will be included - simple

public friendly interface

plain english language

Q: asking about plain language criteria

A: required to provide this - web site

Discussion about scope and potential and maintaining a principle of trust

Q: Asking about potential for location specificity or customizable

A: starting to implement sign up for specific notification

Also the news and features can be much more place-based

Q: Thought about DOI-ing the resources to prove to gov. that these are being used in the way they are intended

A: Research programs are addressing the relationship building process

NOAA is not yet focused on assigning the DOIs to services

New Discussion:

NOAA TerraViz Demo:

Extension of the NEIS - a research initiative

Addresses problem of plug-ins in the classroom

Encourages exploration of audience

Benefit is many more data sets than in the other systems

More global than local, but ability to zoom in and out

Ability to load in your web browser or download as an executable file


Matt Cechini from NASA -

Presenting on WorldView

Global Imagery Browse Services

Shows where GIBS fits within the EOSDIS components- it is a system within the web services

GIBS is an API- providing services

Addresses vision: to improve the approachability of data and stil leverage expertise

importance of interaction and ability to interact with other core EOSDIS systems

Discussion of current imagery, layers, and visual accouterments

Asks for input of best practices for proper visualization

Discussion of Services: Standardized OGC…

Imagery Graphic Types, Coverage Types

Discussion of broadening usage

  • Environmental forecasting

  • Education: partnering with PODAAC state of the Ocean, American Museum of Natural History, NovaLabs, Science on a Sphere

Also commercial product development

Worldview is the reference client for GIBS

opensource sharing


Q: How do you keep track of things for each request

A: Science teams are processing, images are geo-referenced

Q: Is any of this showing up in the US Climate data discussion

A; not sure


Presenting on CIMSS Climate Digest Product

Part of the EarthNow

Mainly for science on a sphere docents (also small videos on the internet)

Climate Digest can be viewed anywhere- it shows the whole globe- spherical

There is a blog where it is avaialable with descriptions

Alternating male and female students from Univ of Wisc.

Demo is not playing encouraged to view later


Live Demo

2 GIBS clients

PBS: original external client- educational and citizen science tool

NovaLabs: cloud lab

Demo of cloud labs- guiding through cloud types

Also an interactive session that allows you to construct clouds, storms yourself

Purpose to encourage interaction with NASA’s data

Front Page: Educator’s guide on how you can use in educational setting

Q: Is there a way to know what data has been used?

A: Under Open Investigation tab- minimal attribution

Demoing WorldView:

Looking at specific world events: Fires from August 2013

Adding layers of data

step forward in time and watch changes

Sharing tools and ability to save images as different file types

new view - looking at poles: July 2012 showing the process of cracks in glacier

Suggestion of a measurement tool

new view - looking at orbit tracks of smoke from fires: can download files one by one or as a group (as HDF - need to know what to do with HDF files)

Q: Is there any thought about video

A: Potential thought for future

Q: What datasets are available?

A: Anything in ECHO- but not using this to get data- just for visualization

Shows ability to customize color

Margaret ends meeting encorages continued discussion


Mooney, M.; Data Visualization Tools for Climate Change Education and Decision Support; Winter Meeting 2014. ESIP Commons , October 2013


Mcechini's picture

Would you be interesting in us presenting our NASA GIBS ( & Worldview ( projects? Sample presentation to give some more info: