Google Earth Engine: A Global-Scale Geospatial Analysis Platform
Erickson, Tyler

Google Earth Engine is a platform designed to enable petabyte-scale, scientific analysis and visualization of geospatial datasets. Earth Engine provides a consolidated environment that co-locates a massive data catalog with thousands of computers for analysis.

The Earth Engine data catalog contains a wide variety of popular, curated public datasets, including the world's largest online collection of Landsat scenes (> 2.5M), numerous MODIS collections, and many other raster and vector data sets. In order to facilitate multi-source analysis, the platform provides a uniform access mechanism to a variety of raster data types, independent of their bands, projection, bit-depth, and resolution.

Using a just-in-time, distributed computation model, Earth Engine can rapidly process enormous quantities of geo-spatial data. All computation is performed lazily; nothing is computed until it's required either for output or as input to another step. This model allows real-time feedback and preview during algorithm development, which supports rapid development, testing, and improvement cycle.

Earth Engine was designed to be a general purpose platform for large-scale raster and vector analysis. National to global scale applications of Earth Engine will be discussed, in the areas of forest monitoring and landcover characterization.