1. Frequently Asked Questions
  2. Worldview and GIBS FAQs

Worldview and GIBS FAQs


Global Imagery Browse Services (GIBS)


How do I share a view I have created?

To share a view, keeping the dates and layers selected, click on the white "link" icon in the upper right corner. This will generate a link you can copy and paste.

Why is there no imagery of the U.S. on Worldview for the current day?

Depending on the time you access Worldview, imagery is probably not shown for the U.S because the satellite has not yet passed over the country. You can look at previous days' imagery by using the date slider at the bottom of the screen.

What are the large data gaps or missing areas near the equator?

The regularly spaced gaps near the equator are due to lack of coverage between orbits. Terra, Aqua and Aura are polar orbiting satellites, traveling from pole to pole. The Terra satellite travels north to south, passing over the equator at 10:30am local time (and 10:30pm local time). Aqua and Aura move in the opposite direction, south to north, passing over the equator at 1:30pm local time (and 1:30am local time). At high latitudes, adjacent imaging swaths overlap significantly but at the equator gaps occur between adjacent swaths. As a result, complete global coverage is achieved every one to two days. Geostationary satellites, such as weather satellites, do not move and remain pointed at one area of the Earth. As these satellites do not orbit the orbit the earth, they do not experience gaps, but they are also unable to provide global coverage.

How do I know what time of day the image was taken?

To find out what time of day an image was taken for the Terra, Aqua, Aura, and Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) satellites, you must activate the corresponding Orbital Track layer.

  • In the Layer Picker, display the desired imagery by clicking on the eye icon, e.g. Corrected Reflectance (True Color)Terra / MODIS
  • In the Layer Picker, click on the + tab.
  • Type “Orbital Tracks” in the search box.
  • Add the corresponding Orbital Track overlay, e.g. Orbital Track (Descending/Day) Space-Track.org / Terra. Example

The orbital tracks represent when the satellite will be passing over a particular location on Earth on that day. The orbital tracks show a series of dots, each dot representing 1 minute, along the satellite orbit path with time stamps shown every 5 minutes. The time is shown in Coordinated Universal Time, or UTC.

Orbital Track layers include ascending and descending satellite orbits for day and night-time orbits. Terra’s descending/day time orbit (North-South) will cross the equator at 10:30 a.m. local time during each orbit and ascending/night time orbit will pass over the equator at 10:30pm local time.  Aqua’s ascending/day time orbit crosses the equator at 1:30 p.m. local time and descending/night time orbit passes over the equator at 1:30am local time. Aura and GPM are on the same orbit track as Aqua and the satellites follow each other closely, passing over the equator within minutes of each other at 1:30pm local time and 1:30am local time. These satellites, as well as a few others, form the Afternoon Constellation or the “A-Train” for short. The A-Train flies in the following order: Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 (OCO-2), Global Change Observation Mission-Water 1 (GCOM-W1), Aqua, Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO), CloudSat and Aura.

Not all products are available for the night time orbit. For MODIS surface/corrected reflectance imagery, you must pick a day time orbit as it is not possible to create a surface reflectance image without sunlight.

Why are there so many clouds?

Approximately 70% of the earth's surface is covered by clouds at any given time. That means there is a good chance that the region you want to see will have some cloud cover. Use the time slider at the bottom of Worldview to view other dates.

Is there a list of products displayed in Worldview and GIBS?

Most imagery served by the Global Imagery Browse Services (GIBS) is in Worldview. See the GIBS Available Imagery Products page for a complete listing.

Does it work on mobile devices?

Yes, we do our best to keep it usable on both desktop and mobile devices.

Which browsers does it work in?

Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer 9+.

Can I get the source code to Worldview?

Worldview is available on GitHub and along with simple web mapping examples which use the same imagery.

Are there any restrictions on using imagery downloaded from Worldview?

NASA supports an open data policy and we encourage publication of imagery from Worldview; when doing so, please cite it as "NASA Worldview" and also consider including a permalink (such as this one) to allow others to explore the imagery.

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Global Imagery Browse Services (GIBS)

What is GIBS?

The Global Imagery Browse Services (GIBS) are a set of standard services to deliver global, full-resolution satellite imagery in a highly responsive manner. GIBS currently serves LANCE near real-time imagery and will be extended in 2015 to include MODIS science imagery from the beginning of the Terra and Aqua missions to present. Its goal is to enable interactive exploration of NASA's Earth imagery for a broad range of users. Technical Information / Wiki. Stay up-to-date with GIBS with the GIBS Blog.

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Page Last Updated: Sep 1, 2015 at 1:22 PM EDT