Thursday, July 13, 2017

Finding Geospatial Data Easier and Faster with Open Data Network Platform

voyager open data network
The previous post had discussed about some sources to get free open geospatial data such as satellite imagery, climate data, land cover, soil, etc. The post contains some links to a source of free open data. So it will be more and more links connecting to open geodata as the list is growing. But now, searching geospatial data even easier and faster. A company, Voyager Search has released a platform called Voyager Open Data Network  (ODN), which  makes geospatial data searching easier and faster for everyone. 

What is Voyager Open Data Network?

VoyagerODN (Open Data Network) is a public open data portal which offer a single, searchable geospatial catalog of global content. VoyagerODN provides an online search to help individuals and organizations to find, share, use and collaborate on a variety of content such as climate change, Parcel/Property Data, Transportation, Endangered Species, and so on. It allows users to do searching based a  keyword-related and wildcard searches, easily and quickly discover data. Moreover it also has capability to  download, transform and share the data.

VoyagerODN was developed dynamically to evolve as interactive community search portal. Everyone can participate and contributing to enrich its catalog. Currently there are some organizations has contributed, namely:
  • USDA (US Department of Agriculture)
  • BLM (Bureau of Land Management)
  • USACE (US Army Corps of Engineers)
  • NGA (National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency)
  • USNG (US National Grid)
  • NPS (National Park Service)
  • FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) 

How to Find Geospatial Data Using Voyager ODN

It looks great, now we can find any data around the world just using a single web page without scrambling over many links that could be found from a search engine. To give it a try, I look for forest data in Brazil. After wait a few second, there were 234 results were found as in figure 1.
Voyager ODN Search Result
Figure 1. Voyager ODN Search Result
Scrolling down the page through the results, there was an interesting result with name Brazilian Amazon Base Layers. I clicked the layer, and bring me to the detail page of this result as in figure 2. In the detail page can be seen the description of the data, author, spatial reference, supported formats, path and so on.
Detail page of  A Voyager ODN Result
Figure 2. Detail page of  A Voyager ODN Result

Using Open Geodata

We can find information about the data through its description. So we know what is the data about and if it is relevant with our needs. Next question. How to use the data? It must be remember that the data is provided as Map Service. The permission of a data as map service is controlling by administrator or the owner of the data whether it could be downloaded or just viewed. But overall we have to make sure that the path link is active, otherwise we can not view the data. To know the link is active, just click the path link. If the link is active you will get a page like figure 3. Otherwise if a link of a map service is not active, it will return a page with error message like in figure 4. A map service inactive link could be caused by several reasons mainly: the server is down or not running or application service is not working.

Active link of a map service
Figure 3. An active link of a map service
Figure 4. An inactive link of map service
After confirming the link is active, then we can use GIS software like QGIS , ArcGIS or using ArcGIS REST API service to view the data and combine it with other layers, so it becomes more meaningful.  As in figure 5, the Amazon base layer is overlay with satellite imagery. We can see Amazon rain forest deforestration, thus we can more understand about the data and connection among them.

Amazon base layer overlay with satellite imagery
Figure 5. Amazon base layer overlay with satellite imagery
Wanna try the Voyager ODN by yourself? Just visit Voyager Search website, it is available for free. Finally, find borderless geodata which relevant with your interest and combine it to get a more understanding about your problem. It can be done now easier and faster with Geospatial data searching platform, Voyager Open Data Network.


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