Access the GeoDataCubes

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OGC Testbed-19 GeoDataCubes


With its OGC Testbed-19 the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) in 2023 has conducted an initiative exploring several tasks, including Analysis Ready Data and Geodatacubes. Based on its leading datacube expertise and long-standing datacube standards shaping, rasdaman GmbH has been invited and subsequently contributed substantially. Concretely, a series of EO relevant datacubes has been provided ready for analysis and processing, gathered around the 3 use cases established by OGC Testbed-19:

  • Use Cases A: Access to and exploitation of GeoDataCubes
  • Use Cases B: Multi-datacube fusion as anticipated by Destination Earth
  • Use Cases C: Meteorological Data Cubes

Datacube management, analytics, and fusion in rasdaman is straightforward. Datacube dimensions can be defined freely, with no problem to go beyond 4D (including having multiple time axes), therefore non-spatiotemporal axes can be added without any problem - some German research centers routinely operate 6D atmospheric datacubes. The map projection can be chosen freely, and automatic transformation from the meteorological grids into common GIS grids is available.

Tiling is configurable in rasdaman, therefore the final storage structure can be agreed during the T19 detail planning. All relevant conventions and standards will be respected, such as space and time coordinates and WMO naming practices.

All processing established by Testbed-19 can be readily expressed through OGC WCPS (including 4D corridor cutouts), as has been demonstrated; see this tutorial on WCPS. This way we motivate that there is no need for yet another - divergent - geodatacube standard, beyond proven WCPS. Notably, WCPS is also adopted by EU INSPIRE.

Within Testbed-19, rasdaman implements support for the GeoDataCubes (GDC) API on the server side, including OGC API - Coverages and openEO processes. Internally these API endpoints translate requests to WCPS queries for execution in rasdaman.

  Use Case A: Access to and exploitation of GeoDataCubes

Task was to enable access to and exploitation of data and processors within distributed geo datacubes of different types. It has been shown how OGC WCPS fulfills all requirements by establishing a federation of the Testbed-19 VM with (i) the EarthServer federation member Copernicus Mundi datacube service offering Sentinel-1, Sentinel-2, Sentinel-3, Sentinel-5p 3D EO timeseries and (ii) the Cube4EnvSec 4D weather forecast timeseries.

  Use Case B: Multi-datacube fusion as anticipated by Destination Earth

In this Destination Earth-Inspired GeoDataCube Use Case we have demonstrated that OGC WCPS already fulfills all existing requirements on versatile datacube services. Data used include the LISFLOOD model, DEMs, soil property maps, land use, land cover, administrative maps, etc. All datacubes can freely be combined, aggregated, etc.

  Use Case C: Meteorological Data Cubes

Atmospheric datacubes based on the ECMWF offerings service have been established, using ERA5 and further sources. ECMWF currently offers only a very special, completely non-standard API and the data are not gridded on the public server; to overcome the related accessibility constraints, these data are offered as homogenized, analysis-ready datacubes queryable via WMS, WMTS, WCS, and WCPS.


  Demo: openEO

Caveat: The specification still has some known shortcomings, is under discussion, and not yet an adopted standard. Hence,the request syntax shown here may be subject to unannounced changes.


With the Web editor of openEO such a JSON specification can be visualized similar to the one below:

openEO Web editor

   Huh? Datacubes?

Not sure about datacube standards? See the EarthServer training for an easy-to-digest introduction to the datacube standards, from zero to hero. More practical tips can be found in the rasdaman cheatsheets and tutorial on OGC WCS/WCPS/WMS.


Array Databases allow storing and querying massive multi-dimensional arrays, such as sensor, image, simulation, and statistics data appearing in domains like earth, space, and life science.

rasdaman ("raster data manager") has pioneered the field of array databases [VLDB 1994, VLDB 1997, SIGMOD 1998, VLDB 2003] and today is sets itself apart by its flexibility, performance, and scalability [SSDBM 2014, SIGMOD DanaC 2014, IJDE 2015]. Rasdaman embeds itself smoothly into relational databases, but can also run standalone on the file system. In fact, rasdaman was first, and still is the only fully implemented, operationally used system with a high-level array query language and optimized, multi-parallel processing engine with unprecedented scalability. Deployments exceed tens of Petabytes; with EarthServer, intercontinental fusion is operational on continuously growing multi- Petabyte datacubes.


This OGC Testbed-19 activity is partially supported by OGC.

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Image Credits

Copernicus imagery © ESA/EU; ERA5 imagery © ECMWF; OGC Testbed-19 image © OGC; rasdaman collage © rasdaman GmbH.