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.   

  • Organization
  • News
  • Activities
  • Focus Areas
  • Working Group
  • Resources
  • Members
  • Contact


The ESI Technical Committee encourages participation from all its members. The committee organization includes the Chair, two Co-Chairs, and 1 working group.

ESI Technical Committee Chair

Prof. Peter Baumann
Jacobs University

ESI Technical Committee Co-Chair

Dr. Manil Maskey
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

Working Group on High-performance and Disruptive Computing in Remote Sensing’’ (HDCRS)


Dr. Gabriele Cavallaro
Forschungszentrum Jülich


Prof. Dora Blanco Heras
University of Santiago de Compostela


Dr. Zebin Wu
Nanjing University of Science and Technology

Working Group on Databases Lead

Dr. Dai-Hai Ton That
University of Alabama at Huntsville, USA


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

IGARSS 2021 invited sessions:

  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Methods for Big Earth Data
  • OGC/ISO Coverages: Concepts, Tools, Experiences


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: Schema for Coverage Geometry and Functions (under work)
    • ISO 19123-2: Coverage Implementation Schema
  • 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.

Specialized Hardware Computing

Supercomputing and Distributed Computing

Supercomputing is the processing of complex or data-intensive problems with a vast number of highly interconnected compute nodes that work in parallel (i.e., HPC). Distributed computing uses multiple compute resources not necessarily located in close proximity to one another but connected via Internet or other networks (e.g., cloud computing).


Relevant Standards Bodies


Projects, Tools, and Initiatives (alphabetically)

Current membership (as of February 2021)

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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