Earth Engine API
Google Earth Engine Application Programming Interface (API) is a cloud-based geospatial processing platform that brings large-scale cloud computing functionality to the public. This advanced geospatial processing platform allows users to process various remotely-sensed images as well as vector datasets. This capability allows users to research societally-important issues such as drought, deforestation, natural disasters, disease, food security, water resources, climate monitoring, environmental monitoring, and many others.
An open access publication by Noel Gorelick et al. (2017) discusses the Earth Engine Platform in detail, as well as the datasets and resources that are available to users.
An Earth Engine Explorer is available to the public for opening and viewing datasets that are available for free, however, it has no processing capability. The Engine Code Editor on the other hand, gives the user capability to run existing programs for processing geospatial data, customize these programs, or to write their own scripts.
To access Earth Engine code editor, one must have a google account and fill a form to get approval for use. This form is straight forward and includes institutional affiliation, purpose for using Earth Engine, etc. Earth Engine is free to non-commercial educational, research, and nonprofit use.
Various remote sensing datasets are available in Earth Engine, including imagery, elevation data, classifications, atmospheric data, and even demographic data. Vector datasets are also accessible.
Examples of Applications Developed with the Earth Engine API
Various case studies are available on the Earth Engine website, such as mapping habitat for endangered species, mapping risk of malaria, monitoring deforestation, and mapping surface water.
Earth Engine, together with Google Earth and Bing Maps, is also used in a user-friendly data collection tools - Collect Earth to monitor agricultural areas, map land cover change, collect socio-economic data, and quantify deforestation.
Addtional Information from Google
References for coding are available from the Earth Engine developers page. A log of changes to the application as well as known issues are also documented.
Additional questions are addressed on a FAQ page.
Resources for educators are available from Earth Engine, as well as training workshops.
Other Sources of Information
- Several blogs about Earth Engine can be consulted for tips and tricks, as well as seeing current applications.
- Open Geo Blog is a platform for sharing tutorials, code examples, and tips for handling spatial data. A section on Google Earth Engine is also included.
- The Indiana Geographic Information Council provides tutorials for Google Earth Engine.
- Google Earth – "Our most detailed view of Earth across space and time" shows timelapses that were created by sifting through millions of satellite images in Earth Engine.
- Webkid is a platform co-founded by Moritz Klack that shares web-based applications built using various platforms, including Earth Engine.
- Medium.com also shares various applications of Earth Engine.