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Searching for Data

In order to be used data must first be found. This section discusses geographic search strategies and provides links to software that can facilitate more accurate search results throughout the lifecycle of the data.


Spheres: A Java package for doing spherical trigonometry without all the messy (and cpu intensive) trigonometry. The spheres package includes classes for points, spherical polygons, latitude/longitude bounding boxes, orbits, and scenes. Spheres documentation includes a variety of algorithm descriptions for performing areal comparisons on the sphere.

Backtrack: The Backtrack Orbit Search Algorithm is a unique spatial search method for orbital data. Backtrack has a degree of accuracy that rivals predict methods while being faster, less costly to implement, and less costly to maintain than any other method.

Search Methods by Spatial Type: Different kinds of data require different strategies for optimal spatial search. This paper goes through the five most common spatial types (point, grid, tile, scene, and swath) discusses the problems associated with each, and makes some recommendations about the best search method for each.


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