Data Rods Explorer app

The Data Rods Explorer (DRE) is a web client app that enables users to browse several NASA-hosted data sets. The interface enables visualization of NASA observation retrievals and land surface model (LSM) outputs by variable, space and time. The key variables are precipitation, wind, temperature, surface downward radiation flux, heat flux, humidity, soil moisture, groundwater, runoff, and evapotranspiration. These variables describe the main components of the water cycle over land masses.

What can I do with this App?

This app enables users to access several available NASA data web services. Hydrological observations and land surface model outputs are retrieved, visualized with maps and plots of time series (data rods), and the data and graphic images can be exported in various common data formats. Researchers in hydrology, meteorology, ecosystems, and climate science use these data and graphs to study effects of weather and climate on components of the water cycle, and to compare these components across different geographic regions and time periods. 

App Outputs

The user can obtain a map of a variable at any valid date-time stamp; plot a time series of values at a point location; compare two model variables’ time series over a mutually-available time period; and plot year-on-year changes in time series for a given model or retrieval variable. Tabular text format, csv, xls, netCDF, and plots of time series can be downloaded, as well as graphic images of the plots. Data query results (tabular text or netCDF) may be uploaded to a user’s account in HydroShare.

Example Uses of the App

This app is great for researching behaviors and interactions of hydrologic variables over space and time. For example, Katie Born compared temporal patterns of several hydrologic variables at a selection of watersheds representing five distinct climates across Texas. DRE helped her decide on the locations and time periods to examine in detail, as well as providing the data for her analysis. (Note: she used a much earlier version without many of the current features)

Suggestions to learn more

See the Data Rods Explorer User Guide for this additional material:

Credits, Authors, Contributors, Contacts

DRE was developed in 2015-2016 by Dr. Gonzalo Espinoza as part of his PhD work at the University of Texas at Austin, and by Shawn Crawley at Brigham Young University, Provo UT. The development was directed by Dr. David Arctur, and supported by NASA ROSES NNH11ZDA001N-ACCESS and NNH13ZDA001N-ACCESS, William Teng, PI. Questions on software development should be sent to Gonzalo Espinoza. All general questions related to data rods should go to