About us The Open Data Cube

The Open Data Cube is the platform that makes our satellite imagery and data accessible. It’s also an open source project that’s gone global

Last updated:18 June 2024

When the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat archive was made freely available to all users in 2008, the world was given access to hundreds of thousands of satellite images of the Earth’s surface and vast archives of data.

To make the most of this unprecedented resource, Geoscience Australia launched its ‘Unlocking the Landsat Archive’ project and set about designing a platform to make the data accessible and manageable for Australian purposes.

The resulting innovation was the Australian Geoscience Data Cube, a partnership between Geoscience Australia, the CSIRO, and Australia’s National Computational Infrastructure (NCI). The Cube’s combination of high-performance computing and high-performance data infrastructure unlocked the value in the Landsat data and won it the 2016 Content Platform of the Year at the Geospatial World Leadership Awards.

“We were seeing what the Australians were doing with this new technology and thought it was amazing,” says Brian Killough from the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) Systems Engineering Office, NASA Langley Research Center. “A group of us in CEOS thought: we should globalise this and take it to other parts of the world.”

In the years since the Australian Geoscience Data Cube was launched, we’ve collaborated with many international and Australian partners to see the platform grow and evolve into the Open Data Cube (ODC), a not-for-profit open source project and community.

The ODC remains at the heart of Digital Earth Australia and our provision of satellite imagery and data to the public and is finding application across the world; in Columbia, Switzerland, and through the Digital Earth Africaproject.

The Open Data Cube initiative is supported by six institutional partners: Geoscience Australia, the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites(CEOS), the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the CSIRO, Catapult Satellite Applications, and Analytical Mechanics Associates (AMA).

With Digital Earth Africa and FrontierSI, Geoscience Australia hosts the free annual Open Data Cube Conference — an opportunity for budding and seasoned geospatial analysts and developers to learn about, and experiment with, the Open Data Cube. We also work with organisations such as EY Global and Deloitte to support regular data challenges and hackathons that provide insight into the ODC. Contact us to receive updates on our conferences and events.

Try it in the DEA Sandbox

As an introduction to Digital Earth Australia and the Open Data Cube, we’ve created the DEA Sandbox — a learning and analysis environment. It includes sample data and Jupyter notebooks that demonstrate the capability of the Open Data Cube.