EOxServer Basics


What is EOxServer?

EOxServer is an open source software for registering, processing, and publishing Earth Observation (EO) data via different Web Services. EOxServer is written in Python and relies on widely-used libraries for geospatial data manipulation.

The core concept of the EOxServer data model is the one of a coverage. In this context, a coverage is a mapping from a domain set (a geographic region of the Earth described by its coordinates) to a range set. For original EO data, the range set usually consists of measurements of some physical quantity (e.g. radiation for optical instruments).

The EOxServer service model is designed to deliver (representations of) EO data using open standard web service interfaces as specified by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC).

What are the main features of EOxServer?

  • Repository for Earth Observation data
  • OGC Web Services
  • Administration Tools
  • Web Client
  • Identity Management System

Where can I get it?

You can get the EOxServer source from

Additionally the following binary packages are provided:

The recommended way to install EOxServer on your system is to use the Python installer utility pip.

Please refer to the install document for further information on installing the software.

Where can I get support?

If you have questions or problems, you can get support at the official EOxServer Users’ mailing list users@eoxserver.org. See mailing_lists for instructions how to subscribe.

Documentation is available on this site and as a part of the EOxServer source.

EOxServer Documentation

The EOxServer documentation consists of the

  • Users’ Guide (which this document is part of)
  • Developers’ Guide (where you can find implementation details)
  • /rfc/index (where you can find high-level design documentation)

Furthermore, you can consult the inline documentation in the source code e.g. in the Source Browser.

Data Model

The EOxServer data model describes which data can be handled by the software and how this is done. This section gives you a short overview about the basic components of the data model.

The term coverage is introduced by the OGC Abstract Specification. There, coverages are defined as a mapping between a domain set that can be referenced to some region of the Earth to a range set which describes the possible values of the coverage. This is, of course, a very abstract definition. It comprises everything that has historically been called “raster data” (and then some, but that is out of scope of EOxServer at the moment).

The data EOxServer originally was designed for is satellite imagery. So the domain set is the extent of the area that was scanned by the respective sensor, and the range set contains its measurements, e.g. the radiation of a spectrum of wavelengths (optical data).

In the language of the OGC Abstract Specification ortho-rectified data corresponds to “rectified grid coverages”, whereas data in the original geometry corresponds to “referenceable grid coverages”.

The EOxServer coverage model relies heavily on the data model of the Web Coverage Service 2.0 Earth Observation Application Profile which is about to be approved by OGC. This profile introduces different categories of Earth Observation data:

  • Rectified or Referenceable Datasets roughly correspond to satellite scenes, either ortho-rectified or in the original geometry
  • Rectified Stitched Mosaics are collections of Rectified Datasets that can be combined to form a single coverage
  • Dataset Series are more general collections of Datasets; they are just containers for coverages, but not coverages themselves

Datasets, Stitched Mosaics and Dataset Series are accompanyed by Earth Observation metadata. At the moment, EOxServer supports a limited subset of metadata items, such as the identifier of the Earth Observation product, the acquisition time and the acquisistion footprint.

The data model is described in more detail in the Coverages section.

Service Model

Earth Observation data are published by EOxServer using different OGC Web Services. The OGC specifies open standard interfaces for the exchange of geospatial data that shall ensure interoperability and universal access to geodata.

The following sectino gives an overview of the provided services, the full description can be found in the Services chapter.

Web Coverage Service

The OGC Web Coverage Service (WCS) is designed to deliver original coverage data. EOxServer implements three versions of the WCS specification:

  • version 1.0.0
  • version 1.1.0
  • version 2.0.1 including the Earth Observation Application Profile (EO-WCS)

Each of these versions supports three operations:

  • GetCapabilities - returns an XML document describing the available coverages (and Dataset Series)
  • DescribeCoverage - returns an XML document describing a specific coverage and its metadata
  • GetCoverage - returns (a subset of) the coverage data

The WCS 2.0 EO-AP (EO-WCS) adds an additional operation:

  • DescribeEOCoverageSet - returns an XML document describing (a subset of) the datasets contained in a Rectified Stitched Mosaic or Dataset Series

For detailed lists of supported parameters for each of the operations see EO-WCS Request Parameters .

In addition, EOxServer supports the WCS 1.1 Transaction operation which provides an interface to ingest coverages and metadata into an existing server.

Web Map Service

The OGC Web Map Service (WMS) is intended to provide portrayals of geospatial data (maps). In EOxServer, WMS is used for viewing purposes. The service provides RGB or grayscale representations of Earth Observation data. In some cases, the Earth Observation data will be RGB imagery itself, but in most cases the bands of the images correspond to other parts of the wavelength spectrum or other measurements altogether.

EOxServer implements WMS versions 1.0, 1.1 and 1.3 as well as parts of the Earth Observation Application Profile for WMS 1.3. The basic operations are:

  • GetCapabilities - returns an XML document describing the available layers
  • GetMap - returns a map

For certain WMS 1.3 layers, there is also a third operation available

  • GetFeatureInfo - returns information about geospatial features (in our case: datasets) at a certain position on the map

Every coverage (Rectified Dataset, Referenceable Dataset or Rectified Stitched Mosaic) is mapped to a WMS layer. Furthermore, Dataset Series are mapped to WMS layers as well. In WMS 1.3 a “bands” layer is appended for each coverage that allows to select and view a subset of the coverage bands only. Furthermore, queryable “outlines” layers are added for Rectified Stitched Mosaics and Dataset Series which show the footprints of the Datasets they contain.

Web Processing Service

The OGC Web Processing Service (WPS) is intended to make processing resources for geospatial data available online. EOxServer features an implementation of this standard as well.

The WPS server provides three operations:

  • GetCapabilities - returns an XML document describing the available processes
  • DescribeProcess - returns an XML document describing a specific process
  • Execute - allows to invoke a process