Data Distribution and Archiving Technology


Assist NASA projects and data systems in exploiting new storage technologies for archiving and data distribution.  Evaluate emerging tools for distributing scientific and educational products via CD, DVD and the web.  In past years this task has led the exploitation of CD-ROM technology by NASA missions and data systems, supported development of nearly all of JPL's multimedia CD-ROMs, supported development of the NASAVIEW and DataSlate viewing tools and participated in developing innovative web-based information systems like WebCat.


This task will work with NASA missions, data systems and scientists to evaluate and deploy DVD technology for space science archiving and distribution.  It will also work with the Optical Storage Technology Association toward the development of cross-platform DVD file system standards and with the National Media Lab and other industry partners to evaluate DVD media compatibility and longevity.  It will work with space science users customers to develop prototype products testing the utility of cutting-edge technologies for information distribution.


  • Successfully deployed DVD hardware to Planetary Data System (PDS) nodes.  Produced dozens of DVD-R test discs for evaluation by space science data systems and users and supported premastering production of the 2MASS Spring99 DVD-ROM.  Procured and evaluated two DVD jukeboxes as well as jukebox control software.
  • Produced the SkyMorph and Planetary Data System proof-of-concept DVD-R archives totaling a terabyte of digital data.  The Skymorph archive of images from the Near-earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT) project cost about $8K for labor and media to produce 110 DVD volumes.  The SkyMorph collection is accessible via the SkyView web retrieval system (  Star CD.jpgThe PDS archive (115 DVDs) includes the entire collection of 800 CD-ROM volumes.  The complete PDS archive collection had not been accessible on-line until this conversion was completed (  This task included developing a Java utility to automatically partition input data into 4 gigabyte "chunks" for recording on DVD-R volumes and developing a virtual volume architecture which allows web-based access to the logical volumes (observing days for SkyMorph, CD-ROM volumes for PDS).
  • Prepared a 15 minute DVD-Video presentation entitled "Scientific Data Archiving on DVD" which was delivered at the SIGCAT 99 conference.  Presented a paper on DVD recordable at the Optical Data Storage 99 conference.  Presented briefings on DVD technology at several science data systems meetings throughout the year.  Worked with outside vendors to produce a DVD-Video production of Mars Pathfinder videos for SESPD evaluation and produced sample DVD-Videos of JPL internal presentations.
  • Supported the development of DataSlate (NASA Space Act Award winner) and the production of the DataSlate Plus Educational CD-ROM.  DataSlate is a pioneering application of Java for cross-platform software development.  It features an engaging user interface, a channel window to compare two co-registered data types, and plug-in tools for data measurement and interpretation.  The DDL will continue to support the use of DataSlate for accessing large scientific archives.
  • Began development of a new data storage architecture for global remote sensing data sets to be used to develop a Mars Global Surveyor DVD-ROM.  Evaluated different data storage formats and tiling schemes for data storage.


This task is "paving the way" for the exploitation of DVD technology by NASA missions and data systems. The use of DVD technology will eventually provide enhanced and novel multimedia applications for display and analysis of NASA's science data, with nearly 30 times the capacity of existing CD-ROM-based archival products. This will allow the ever-growing space science archive collection to be kept on-line for immediate access, browsing and use by the science community and the general public, especially the educational community. It is also facilitating the development of elegant yet intuitive access/examination capabilities, such as JPL's currently available DataSlate product, which provides fused multiple views of related gigantic, complex scientific data collections.


This task will work with the Mars Global Surveyor Project to develop a new type of comprehensive data product to support cross-disciplinary analysis and be a model for archiving data from future missions with integrated payloads.  It will develop new data structures to store multi-resolution data sets and to be able to compare both raster and vector data types using the DataSlate tool.  It will also evaluate media asset management software and develop an on-line resource of multimedia products from JPL educational CD-ROMs.  It will explore DVD-Video for on-demand access to video collections (press conferences, briefings, presentations, scientist interviews) and prepare a JPL multimedia DVD-video title.


Mike Martin

Jet Propulsion Laboratory

(818) 354-9342