The Benefits and Complexities of Operating Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in a High-Performance Computing (HPC) Environment

Jim Shute


The NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS) at Goddard Space Flight Center is building and maintaining an Enterprise GIS capability for its stakeholders, including NASA scientists, industry partners, and the public. This platform is powered by three GIS subsystems operating in a highly available, virtualized environment: 1) the Spatial Analytics Platform is the primary NCCS GIS and allows users to discover the vast DigitalGlobe/NGA raster assets within the NCCS environment; 2) the Disaster Mapping Platform provides mapping and analytics services to NASA’s Disaster Response Group; and 3) the internal (Advanced Data Analytics Platform/ADAPT) enterprise GIS provides users with the full suite of Esri and open source GIS software applications and services. All systems benefit from NCCS’s cutting-edge infrastructure, which includes an InfiniBand network for high-speed data transfers; a mixed/heterogeneous environment featuring seamless sharing of information between Linux and Windows subsystems; and in-depth system monitoring and warning systems.