Earth Science Informatics

About Earth Science Informatics


The Earth Science Informatics Technical Committee (ESI TC) provides a venue for informatics professionals to exchange ideas and share knowledge. It aims at advancing application of informatics to geosciences and remote sensing, assessing technology to support data stewardship and management, and promoting best practices and lessons learned.

The mission of the ESI TC is to bring together informatics experts and practitioners to share ideas and information to support open science and maximize the use of science data for research and applications.   


The ESI Technical Committee encourages participation from all its members. The committee organization includes the Chair, two Co-Chairs, and 2 working groups.

ESI Technical Committee Chair

Dr. Manil Maskey

ESI Technical Committee Co-Chair

Prof. Dr. Peter Baumann
Constructor University, Germany
Prof. Dr. Gabriele Cavallaro
Forschungszentrum Jülich and University of Iceland


Prof. Dr. Dora Blanco Heras
CiTIUS – University of Santiago de Compostela


Dr. Rocco Sedona
Forschungszentrum Jülich
Iksha Gurung
University of Alabama in Huntsville
Prof. Dr. Sudan Jha
Kathmandu University


Muthukumaran Ramasubramanian
University of Alabama in Huntsville


Dr. Kesheng (John) Wu
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA
Prof. Khalid Belhajjame
Paris-Dauphine University, France


Dr Sujit Roy


Dr. Rajat Shinde
Dr. Johannes Schmude
IBM Research

ESI Technical Committee Secretary

Jerika Christman
NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center


July 2023: new Strategic Initiative unveiled: IEEE GRSS EO datacube infrastructure, EO-Cube.

GRSS co-sponsored workshop highlighted in AGU Eos article on “Advancing AI for Earth Science: A Data Systems Perspective

International expert workshop to discuss how best to use machine learning (ML) techniques on NASA’s Earth Observation (EO) data and address environmental challenges (pdf)

SAR experts collaborate with data labelers to generate Machine Learning Training dataset for flood detection

GRSS ESI co-organized events and conference contributions

Standardization: ESI contributions

ESI members are continuously contributing to standardization, in particular of Big Datacubes. They also contribute actively, in design and implementation, to advances in standardization, such as in the OGC OpenAPI Hackathon in London (June 2019). A liaison agreement with OGC is in place. Below is a list of standards, most of them led by ESI members, others with significant contributions:

  • ISO SC32 Data Management and Interchange:
  • ISO TC211 Geographic Information / Geomatics:
    • ISO 19123-1: Geographic information – Schema for coverage geometry and functions – Part 1: Fundamentals (adopted standard)
    • ISO 19123-2: Geographic information – Schema for coverage geometry and functions – Part 2: Coverage Implementation Schema (adopted standard)
    • ISO 19123-3: Geographic information – Schema for coverage geometry and functions – Part 3: Processing Fundamentals (adopted standard)
  • Open Geospatial Consortium:
    • OGC 09-146: Coverage Implementation Schema (adopted standard)
    • OGC 09-110: WCS Interface Standard – Core (adopted standard)
    • OGC 13-057: WCS Interface Standard – Transaction Extension (adopted standard)
    • OGC 12-040: WCS Interface Standard – Range Subsetting Extension (adopted standard)
    • OGC 08-059: WCS Interface Standard – Processing Extension (adopted standard)
    • OGC 12-039: WCS Interface Standard – Scaling Extension (adopted standard)
    • OGC 11-053: WCS Interface Standard – CRS Extension (adopted standard)
    • OGC 12-049: WCS Interface Standard – Interpolation Extension (adopted standard)
    • OGC 09-149: WCS Interface Standard – XML/SOAP protocol extension (adopted standard)
    • OGC 09-148: WCS Interface Standard – XML/POST protocol extension (adopted standard)
    • OGC 09-147: WCS Interface Standard – KVP protocol extension (adopted standard)
    • OGC 10-140: WCS Application Profile – Earth Observation (adopted standard)
    • OGC 14-052: WCS Application Profile – MetOcean (candidate standard)
    • OGC 12-174: WCS Interface Standard – REST protocol extension (candidate standard)
    • OGC 08-068: Web Coverage Processing Service (WCPS) Language (adopted standard)

Society Outreach

The 1 hour TV documentary Big Earth Data: the Digitized Planet has been created by Peter Baumann and Heike Hoenig, produced by German TV stations ZDF and ARTE, winning an award at the 2015 International Science Film Festival in Hungary. See more background.

ESI Committee Meeting Presentations

ESI AdCom reports:
[ 2019| 2018| 2017| 2016| 2015| 2014]

Focus Areas

Focus areas investigated by the ESI membership include, but are not limited to:

  • Data stewardship
  • Data and metadata standards
  • Data search and discovery
  • Data cubes
  • Machine/Deep learning
  • Knowledge representation
  • Big data
  • Visualization
  • Web services/APIs
  • Geographic information systems
  • Information modeling
  • Data storage
  • Open science
  • Science analytics platform
  • Semantic web

The mission of HDCRS

The HDCRS working group is part of the IEEE GRSS Earth Science Informatics (ESI) Technical Committee. The main objective of HDCRS is to connect a community of interdisciplinary researchers in remote sensing who are specialized on high-performance and distributed computing, quantum computing  and parallel programming models with specialized hardware accelerators.

HDCRS disseminates information and knowledge through educational events, special sessions and tutorials at conferences and publication activities. The group welcomes anyone interested from academia and industry to contribute to our mission.



Graph databases, knowledge graph, graph visualization tools/application for managing data and metadata in remote sensing
Native graph databases (GDBs) store and manage data as triples of graph components (i.e., nodes and relationships). GDBs treat the relationships as equal as nodes, advancing the capability of discovery and analysis on the connectivity of data. In this topic, we seek and encourage theoretical and practical advancements in Graph database (GDB) and knowledge graph (KG) for management, discovery and analysis of remotely sensed images and metadata.

Novel solutions for harmonizing remote sensing observations in their native geometries and layouts
Remote sensing observation data are often pre-processed, transformed (usually through interpolation), and composited into a different format or layout to smooth the analysis process. However, scientific investigations usually require remote sensing data in their native forms, or as close as possible. We will thus cultivate and promote database advances that facilitate fusional analysis of diverse remote sensing data at their native observation geometries and layouts.

Datacubes, array databases for Remote Sensing data
Remote sensing data is immigrating to the cloud, paving the new ways of managing and processing remote sensing data. Datacube has emerged as a novel paradigm for massive remote sensing data analysis as its data-representation characteristics allow:

  • Taking full advantages of distributed, concurrent and parallel processing and storage of cloud platforms.
  • Efficiently supporting smart data access that significantly reduces the amount of data access.

This research topic focuses on the innovation technologies and methods that effectively transfer remote sensing data into Datacubes as well as novel array databases that offer Datacubes analysis-ready for any massive remote sensing needs.


Relevant Standards Bodies

Projects, Tools, and Initiatives (alphabetically)

Current membership (as of December 2023)

You can contact the Committee Chairs by email at

Membership in the ESI Technical Committee is open to anyone interested in issues related to earth science informatics. IEEE Geoscience and Remote Society membership is encouraged, but not required to join the ESI Technical Committee. Join the ESI Technical Committee!

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