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EarthServer-2 Info and updates

The EarthServer-2 H2020 e-infrastructure project started in May 2015. PlanetServer developments continues and all future updates will be on and related pages, social media.

Please refer to the above for updates. This blog is for reference purposes and will continue to be available

Thank you

Angelo Pio Rossi (EarthServer Coordinator & PlanetServer Lead.

EarthServer Project end – thanks to all involved

The EarthServer project is coming to an end. With it also its Planetary Service, aka PlanetServer.

With this post I would like to thank all those who worked to make it happen. Primarily – and alphabetically – Peter Baumann, Jelmer Oosthoek, Vikram Unnithan.

A longer list of colleagues, partners, institutions and individuals who actively helped and supported PlanetServer in various roles  is in the Partners page, under Acknowledgements.

PlanetServer will try and stay online and available to its users in forthcoming months. For updates, please refer to Twitter.

In any case, all code developed by and within the Service within the project is going to be available (GPL) on GitHub.

The Service entry page is mirrored (subject to slight updates) on .

That, plus this blog (which is also still subject to updates) and links/references therein will form seeds of documentation.

Thanks again to everyone.

Angelo Pio Rossi


PlanetServer Touch

A touch PlanetServer client

There have been some addition to PlanetServer Web Clients. In addition to the Classic client the Neo client (also  available – for testing/backup purposes on NeoTest) and Marsis, a touch optimised version has been developed (as part of a BSc project of D. Kundel).

PlanetServer Touch has been presented at the FOSS4G Europe Conference in July 2014 (in addition to the BigData Workshop participation of PlanetServer).

The talk describing PlanetServer Touch is available here.


Among various features of the touch prototype, a new band math tool, called Band Ratio Tool (based on PML’s Band Ratio Client - GitHub) is available.

Additions and improvements include:

Load/Save of WCPS queries

It is possible to load and save (with Gist) WCPS queries on the Band Ratio Tool


Filter bands/wavelengths

A slider allows for quick filter based on wavelength (in µm) and retrieval of desired bands


The touch client code is going to be soon (August 2014) released on GitHub


PlanetServer @FOSS4G Europe

PlanetServer & other fellow services of EarthServer will be at the forthcoming FOSS4G Europe conference. More info on:

Pasted from the link above, the program of the workshop:

  • Welcome (5′)
  • Technical presentations (60′)
    • OGC Big Data Standards: WCS, WCPS [Peter Baumann, JUB] (20’)
    • EarthServer architecture for geospatial big data [Peter Baumann, JUB/RAS] (20’)
    • Integrated Data and Metadata Retrieval [Peter Baumann, JUB/RAS and James Passmore, BGS on behalf of ATHENA] (20’)
    • Question and Answers (15’)
  • Break (10’)
  • Service demonstrations (60′)
    • Geology Service demo [James Passmore, BGS]
    • Planetary Service demo [Angelo Pio Rossi, JUB]
    • Atmospheric Service demo [Piero Campalani, JUB on behalf of MEEO]
    • Mobile clients demo [x, COMETA]
  • Open discussion (20’)
  • Wrap-up (10’)

Relevant links:




Note on URLs in old posts

Classic Client URLs in old posts.

URLs in some old posts might still point to old locations of the Classic client, which now sits on

The EGU 2014 post provides updated ones. Earlier ones such as Analysis Walkthrough  or Direct URL have still old ones

Please add “/classic/” inside the URL on those posts, e.g.

should become:


should become:<NAME>


Future wiki and final Service documentation will fix this (and the blog might also get somewhat updated). This is just a warning if some links do not work.


PlanetServer/EarthServer is the main point of access for the Planetary Service of EarthServer (aka PlanetServer).

Planetary Science data collected so far are approaching the order of magnitude of Earth Observation-like volumes (see our XLDB2013 presentation):


PlanetServer tackle the exploitation of this growing datasets largely through WCPS.

Data volume ingested so far is beyond 2 TB.


Classic & Neo Web Clients

Classic and Neo clients are focused on surface science data, particularly hyperspectral (NASA MRO CRISM).

Classic accessible on (Chrome preferred)

Neo (main server now being upgraded) on (Chrome preferred)

Data Search



one can identify and select the desired scenes, e.g.




Main analytical interface

after selecting the desired CRISM scene, the WCPS-based (Table of contents, graph window, console, toolbars) is available:



Direct URL

The CRISM observation FRT00003E12 would then be reachable through the URL: 

Direct access to a certain CRISM observation is possible on Classic, e.g.:

VNIR for Nili Fossae:

VNIR, IR channels are accessible from the Table of Contents.


For example, a classical false colour composite can be created using R =band 234 (2.54 µm) - G = 82 (1,51 µm) – B= 14 (1,09 µm):

R – 2.54 µm –> Band234
G – 1.51 µm –> Band82
B – 1.09 µm–> Band14

paying attention to the fact that the channel tab in the Table of Contents should be on “IR” and not “VNIR”.



Spectra can be collected on desired points with the Spectrum button:


and multiple collections are possible.


e.g. in the example above:

Purple: a rather featureless dusty spectrum (that can be used as reference for ratios, see

Blue: Fe-Mg rich phyllosilicates (clays) ((1.9 and 2.3 μm bands)

Green: Olivine (wide 1 μm absorption)

Red: Carbonates (2.3 and 2.5 μm bands)

the process can be visualised on:

MARSIS Web Client

The MARSIS web client is reachable at (Firefox preferred). It provides access to radar sounding subsurface data from Mars, acquired by the ESA Mars Express MARSIS experiment.


Text-based GUI


results are provided on a new tab




Data and simulation can be observed together and compared:



A web map interface (inherited and simplified from Classic/Neo web clients) allows selection of single footprints


MARSIS Sounding Radar on PlanetServer

The ASI (Agenzia Spaziale Italiana) MARSIS (Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding) on board ESA Mars Express spacecraft is a low frequency, nadir-looking radar sounder and altimeter with ground penetration capabilities, which uses synthetic aperture techniques. It does explore both the ionosphere and subsurface of Mars.

Its subsurface capabilities are particularly relevant for understanding Mars geologic and climatic history.

The correct understanding of subsurface planetary radar sounder data (MRO SHARAD is a companion experiment on board NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter , also co-developed by ASI) depends, among other factors, on the knowledge of surface clutter effects on a certain observation, which could mimic subsurface reflectors.


Simulating data with known topography (i.e. creating a synthetic so-called radargram) and comparing with real data acquired by the spacecraft allows the detection of genuine subsurface reflectors.

The early client using EarthServer technology and PlanetServer developments and heritage is going to be available on a specific PlanetServer client:

A screencast of the (very!) early version of the MARSIS client is available here:

The MARSIS PlanetServer activity is carried out in cooperation with INAF (Istituto Nazionale di AstroFisica) in Bologna and Rome.


New entry web page for PlanetServer

PlanetServer has a new entry page, providing easy access to all components and features
of the Planetary Service of EarthServer.

It can be reached at


The  default client is directly reachable at

The new entry page should be visible on most devices and browsers, from desktop computers to tablet, even on a terminal (here depicted on elinks).




Enhanced spectral ratio on classic client

We slightly changed the functionality of the spectrum and spectral ratio buttons on The following explanation is just for visualization and does not have scientific significance.

The spectral ratio button (1/2) now acquires the y spectrum of the x/y ratio. This is reflected on the map as a blue point:
The user can only draw one point at the time, when clicking a new location the old point is removed. This will load the spectrum into memory for later use to calculate the x/y spectral ratio.

If you now click on the spectrum button and start clicking spectra on the map the blue point remains visible but the divisor ‘y’ spectrum has been removed from the diagram. Instead you see the red and green spectra in the diagram. These are both spectral ratios: red/blue and green/blue:

You can now also load a library spectrum together with spectral ratios:

If you now would go back to the spectral ratio button you can change the blue point. When you then return to the Spectrum button the next spectral ratios you click use the new blue point spectrum for the ratio:

In summary: this enhancement allows 1) the drawing of more than one spectral ratio and 2) combining spectral ratio’s and library spectra in the diagram.

Related console additions:

  • resetspectra() =>  reset the spectrum diagram to the initial state after loading the CRISM data. This will become a reset button in the GUI.
  • chooseratio(lon,lat) => choose y of the x/y spectral ratio (console version of the spectral ratio button)
    chooseratio() and before pressing enter move the mouse to the location you would like to use as the to-be-ratio’ed spectrum.
  • addspectrum(lon,lat) => select a spectrum and show in the diagram (console version of the spectrum button). When you have selected the to-be-ratio’ed spectrum before then the x/y ratio is shown in the diagram.
    addspectrum() and before pressing enter move the mouse to the location you would like to have a ratio.
  • noratio() => a console implementation for turning ratio off. It removes the blue point drawn with the spectral ratio button. When you then add new spectra they are not ratio’ed anymore. But the previous ratio’ed spectra are still shown.


Analysis walkthrough

A sample PlanetServer search and analysis walkthrough  is presented. It uses available clients. It is useful to read and try out the basics of the classical client and to familiarize with the new “neo” client.  In case of problems, questions, please get in touch or join the planetserver-users google group.

We are grateful for the kind support of Jessica Flahaut (VU Amsterdam).

1. Data search

Data search has been improved progressively on PlanetServer. Pan & Zoom is aided by Regions of Interest (ROIs) or direct access to a certain CRISM observation.

1.1 Using the classical client

The classical client has, in addition to direct URL access, the possibility of searching a certain area, among those ingested so far (growing). E.g. see post on ROIs and their expansion.


1.2 Using the neo client

The “neo” additional client of PlanetServer has a built-in search function based on available ROIs  and latitude/longitude range


1.2.1 Nili Fossae

After selecting Nili fossae from the search window or bar (respectively on neo and classic client), the current CRISM hyperspectral coverage is visible:


zooming in to a certain region


and selecting the interest scene


e.g. FRT00003E12

brings up the interface on neo client (the image below shows that the client works also on a small laptop screen, although a larger widescreen monitor is to be preferred):


 while the classical client would show


1.2.2 Mawrth Vallis

Mawrth Vallis, another area with clear spectral signatures of certain minerals, could be explored in a similar way.



the CRISM observation and analysis page (neo client) would be:


Similarly, on the classical one:


1.3 Using Direct URL

A certain CRISM product/scene can be directly accessed, from its PRODUCT ID, with a direct URL,in addition to a variety of ways using Desktop GIS or Google Earth, e.g. using shapefiles or .kml files pointing directly to a certain CRISM observation (classic client).

The CRISM observation FRT00003E12 would then be reachable through the URL:

VNIR for Nili Fossae:


having the same effect of browsing + searching a certain product.

The very same for Mawrth Vallis would respectively be:

The naming conventions of CRISM data products is also explained on documentation inked from the Direct Access post.

2. Data inspection, analysis

The basic functionalities of PlanetServer are similar among clients (Basics on 101 post). Also, the PlanetServer console, although not strictly necessary for this walkthrough, can be used for enhanced or faster analysis (on both cients).

2.1 Grayscale

A single band can be visualised, e.g. Band 234 (2.54 µm), selecting from the Table of Contents for a single band (highlighted), for the case of Nili Fossae.


the same could be done for Mawrth Vallis:


2.2. RGB with bands

2.2.1 Nili Fossae

Red-Green-Blue color combinations can be perfomed and visualized using the Table of Contents for each CRISM observation (both clients).

For example, a classical false colour composite can be created using R =band 234 (2.54 µm) - G = 82 (1,51 µm) – B= 14 (1,09 µm):

R – 2.54 µm –> Band234
G – 1.51 µm –> Band82
B – 1.09 µm–> Band14

paying attention to the fact that the channel tab in the Table of Contents should be on “IR” and not “VNIR”.


One can also type in the RGB fields by hand, e.g. “Band234″ or any other band number, for easy and quick use.


the process above is also repeated in this video:

To reproduce, e.g. Figure S1a from Ehlmann et al. 2009 (DOI: 10.1126/science.1164759) one could use this band combination:

“false color composite with R: 2.38, G: 1.80, B: 1.15 um”:

R – 2.38 –> Band211
G – 1.80 –> Band123
B – 1.15 –> Band24


as visible on:

2.2.2 Mawrth Vallis

The same R =band 234 (2.54 µm) - G = 82 (1,51 µm) – B= 14 (1,09 µm) colour composite for the CRISM observation over Mawrth Vallis would look like:


2.3 Summary products

2.3.1 Nili Fossae

Visualization of Summary Products (SP) is a powerful tool to obtain indication of surface compositions.

e.g. for the very same CRISM observation, the SP “olindex” or “olindex2″ indicate the presence of Olivines (see Pelkey et al., 2007. DOI: 10.1029/2006JE002831). Summary Products can be accessed from the TOC, in the rightmost tab:


For example, the following triplet is of particular use for this scene in Nili Fossae:

Red = OLINDEX2 indicates the presence of olivines

Green = BD2500 indicative of carbonates

Blue = D2300 - indicates Fe/Mg phyllosilicate

OLINDEX2 when selected and the “greyscale” options from the TOC chosen, would look like:


A high value of the OLINDEX2 Summary Product would be indicative of the occurrence of Olivines within the bright area, to be then further investigated.

2.3.2 Mawrth Vallis

Analogously, for Mawrth Vallis, the following Summary Products are of use to start with:

Red = D2300 indicates Fe/Mg phyllosilicate

Green = BD2200 (or 2210) – indicates Al phyllosilicate or hydrated glass

Blue = BD1900 (or BD1900R) - indicates hydrated sulfates, clays, glass, or water ice.

The D2300  SP, indicative of Fe/Mg phyllosilicates, would be:


compared with a grayscale view of one of the IR channels cube:


In a colour combination of D2300,  BD2200, BD1900,  Fe-rich phyllo should appears in red, Al-rich in green.

For comparison, one could look at the static summary page for the observation, e.g. ir_phy - Hydroxylated silicates.

2.4 Spectral analyses

2.4.1 Nili Fossae

Theme: Olivines, Carbonates, Clays

Sample of reference publications:

Mustard et al. (2008) Hydrated silicate minerals on Mars observed by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter CRISM instrument. DOI: 10.1038/nature07097

Ehlmann et al. (2009) Orbital identification of carbonate-bearing rocks on Mars. DOI: 10.1126/science.1164759

Spectral libraries: Phyllosilicates, Carbonates

RGB visualisation and summary products are highlighting the differences in composition across the CRISM scene, e.g. bands 234,82,14 as RGB.

Sampling relevant points across the hundreds of bands in CRISM IR (with an underlying WCPS query) provides access to additional information. Spectra can be collected on desired points with the Spectrum button:


The three spectra show already different shapes, indicative of variability of the surface’s nature. Multiple spectra can be collected and each appears with a different colors, reflected both in the collection point (map) and in the spectrum plot (diagram widget).


In this case, the 4 spectra (and their relevant sampling point) reflect different surface units, roughly:

Purple: a rather featureless dusty spectrum (to be used as reference for ratios, see next section)

Blue: Fe-Mg rich phyllosilicates (clays) ((1.9 and 2.3 μm bands)

Green: Olivine (wide 1 μm absorpJon)

Red: Carbonates (2.3 and 2.5 μm bands)

the process can be visualised on:

Performing a ratio of 2 different spectra (e.g. a feature-rich  one as 1st click  divided by one flatter / featureless in the same scene, as 2nd click) can help highlighting differences and the presence/magnitude of existing features, band depths, etc. The Spectral Ratio button is to be used:


and the resulting spectral ratio, using as reference the flat spectrum (indicated as purple in the previous map) can enhance adsorption bands. In this case, the unit indicative of carbonates (2.3 and 2.5 μm bands).

Spectra can be compared qualitatively with spectral libraries, which are included in PlanetServer (see info on CRISM web site and PDS CRISM spectral library pages).

Laboratory spectra can be loaded from within the diagram window, e.g.:


The resulting spectral overlay allows for visual band identification.



An example of the process is provided on:

2.4.2 Mawrth Vallis



Sample of reference publications:

Loizeau et al. (2010) Stratigraphy in the Mawrth Vallis region through OMEGA, HRSC color imagery and DTM DOI: 10.1016/j.icarus.2009.04.018

McKeown et al. (2009) Characterization of phyllosilicates observed in the central Mawrth Vallis region, Mars, their potential formational processes and implications for past climate. DOI: 10.1029/2008JE003301

Wray et al. (2008) Compositional stratigraphy of clay-bearing layered deposits at Mawrth Vallis, Mars. DOI: 10.1029/2008GL034385

Spectral libraries: phyllosilicates

Analogously, spectra can be collected across a sample CRISM observation in the region of Mawrth Vallis. In this case, the RGB composite is (R, 2.53 mm = Band234; G, 1.51 mm = Band82; B, 1.01 mm = Band14).


Blue: Neutral, feature-poor spectrum to be used for ratios

Green: Fe-Mg-rich phyllosilicates (clays) ((1.9 and 2.3 μm bands)

Red: Al-rich phyllosilicates (clays) (1.9 and 2.2 μm bands)


Performing a ratio, e.g. using the Al-rich phyllosilicates unit and the feature-poor reference point, will enhance, for example, the bands at 1.9 and 2.2 µm. Comparing with spectral library items can be performed as well:


3.  PostGis

A new editing capability is present in the neo client. The following requires the use of

3.1 Login

A user should log on the client, from its toolbar, on the upper right:


and fill in his/her credentials [for the time being, the registration is not open automatically, due to hardware constraints]


one could reach the same CRISM observation, e.g.


3.2 Editing

Feature (point, line, polygon) editing can be performed using the detached small toolbar just below the main PlanetServer toolbar:


In order to enable the editor, one should press on the “editor” button on the toolbar


a feature, such a polygon (3rd drawing icon from the left) could be created on the map:


for example highlighting a certain area:


the polygon, when editing is finished, changes colour:


and it can be saved on a PostGis database with the button “save”.


The features are then saved with each user. A dialog confirm the save operation.


Features can be deleted individually or cleared totally:


When visiting again and logging in, saved features are loaded automatically.

Future developments might include automatic location of edited features (currently the user should navigate to the mapped area/CRISM observation, if logging in in a completely new browser session),  etc.

Also, search functions for mapped polygon or multi-user collaborative features might be added as well.

4. 3D view (X3D)

X3D, developed for all Services of Earthserver, is integrated in the web client and it offers a 3-dimensional rendering of the CRISM observation of choice draped on digital topography.

The default topographic base  is MOLA gridded laser altrimetry (Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter, on board NASA MGS), e.g. for the case of Nili Fossae, the toolbar DTM option is MOLA only:


When higher resolution topography is available, such as in the case of MSL landing site Gale Crater, the user could choose it as a base for draping imagery, starting from a CRISM observation, such as:


The X3D button on the toolbar loads the 3d viewer:


producing an empty 3D viewer


which should be populated by pressing the “create scene” button (lower right):


When multiple topographic sources  are available, such as for Gale crater, they can be chosen beforehand from the toolbar. E.g. after choosing Gale in the search window, the HRSC DEM can be used as height source. This can then be used for the 3d visualiser.


Once the base DTM is chosen, one could just select the desired CRISM observation and follow th e same procedure, launching the X3D client. The CRISM dataset is then draped over HRSC DTM rather than lower resolution MOLA.


More high-resolution (HRSC stereo-derived) topographic models are going to be added to PlanetServer in the near future.