The goal of the SVS Image Server is to make NASA Earth Science data and research results directly available to students, educators, and the general public through broadly useful applications.
The highly successful World Wide Web consists of three parts: servers containing formatted information, applications to interactively access and display that information, and protocols that allow the servers ... and applications to communicate. In a similar manner, the SVS Image Server consists of a server with a catalog of formatted Earth Science information products (http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov), using open, geographically-based protocols to serve that information to applications targeted at the classroom, the general public, or any other interested community.
The information products that the SVS Image Server provides are a sampling of the many visualizations and animations developed by the Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio. These products are based on the specific data, missions, and research results deemed important by NASA and are designed to visually explain those results to the public. The focus of the SVS Image Server is to populate a specific server with a large amount of exciting, scientifically diverse products and then, by example and direct technical assistance, to help other NASA entities create their own such servers. In this way, a critical mass of information will be served that will promote use of that information through exciting end-user applications such as World Wind and Celestia.
The audience for SVS Image Server products is primarily students and teachers in grades 5-12, the grades in which the National Science Education Content Standards have significant Earth Science content elements. By the end of this project, it is expected that the SVS Image Server will offer teachers and educational media providers numerous specific examples of NASA data that support the teaching of Earth Science in these grades. The audience for the SVS Image Server and server protocols is the educational content community, the creators of educational software for the classroom, and the designers of interactive scientific exhibits such as the ones in museums and science centers.
The core protocols by which the SVS Image Server distributes material are being developed by the NASA Geospatial Interoperability Office, which consults directly with the Image Server development team. Because these protocols are specifically developed with the commercial GIS community to meet their requirements for automated access to data held by the government and private sector, their long-term viability is very high. Also, the distributed and open nature of the protocols allows any content provider to join the process by establishing a server and any applications developer to develop software based on these open standards.
The distributed, open model by which the SVS Image Server functions is designed to be a framework for distributing Earth-related material from a provider (NASA in this case) to users (students in this case). Just as the World Wide Web is not restricted in either content or end-user, neither is this functionality. The important point is that the capability be robust and extensible for many uses. If a student can use the SVS Image Server in the classroom in middle and high school, and applications to use this functionality are available in college (access data for a geology class), other disciplines (look at maps of historical events), and public life (check the weather), then the student will have a greater capability for satisfying an interest in Earth Science material at any educational stage.
[Summary provided by NASA.]