Google Earth Engine

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Earth Engine is a planetary-scale platform for Earth science data & analysis

Remote Sensing Archives

Distributed computational power

Server-side programming

We are going to use the Code Editor which presents a simple access point to learning the Earth Engine platform. The Code Editor utilizes the Earth Engine JavaScript API to run scripts and functions to interact with Earth Engine-hosted data.

Earth Engine is not just another JavaScript library.

In fact Earth Engine also has a Python API which is better-suited for building applications. Today, we want to help you get started with Earth Engine by exploring some of the basic functionality. If you don’t know JavaScript or any coding for that matter, don’t worry. We’ll walk you through what you need to know.

Why use Earth Engine? Because you can! It is powerful allowing you, the analyst/developer, to bring code to the data, which shortens the process of doing exploratory data analysis.


Satellite Imagery Datasets:

Climate Datasets


JavaScript and Python APIs

A few Earth Engine JavaScript API terms:

variable: stored thing in memory

function: stored operation

asset: geospatial data; e.g. Feature, FeatureCollection / Image, ImageCollection

band: remotely-sensed data stores measured reflectance for different wavelength ranges in separate bands though the spatial resolution and capture time are the same; e.g. Images are composed of bands

reducer: a function which is mapped over all pixels in an Image or ImageCollection: e.g. mean(), median()

By the time we finish this tutorial, you will have the basics to start exploring data with Earth Engine.

Tutorial Time!

What do I need for this tutorial?

  1. If you don’t yet have one, please create a Google account:

  2. Sign up for an Earth Engine account using your gmail account:

  3. Open an Incognito window of Chrome

  4. Join the MaptimeSEA Earth Engine 101 Google Group with your gmail account:

  5. Accept this shared code repository named maptimesea_earthengine101:


What can be done with Earth Engine?

Check out these examples of Earth Engine visualizations and applications: Case Studies

Other Useful Earth Engine tutorials

Google Materials

Google Earth Engine Developer’s Guide:

Earth Engine User Summit 2017 Proceedings

Earth Engine Developers Google Group

Earth Engine + Jupyter Notebooks (UW GeoHackWeek 2016)

External Materials

Remote Sensing of Environment journal: “Google Earth Engine: Planetary-scale geospatial analysis for everyone”

International Research Institute for Climate & Society Health Applications:

Google Earth Engine for Dummies


Hope that was helpful! Please fill out our survey when you are done even if you couldn’t attend the meeting. We want to make sure the MaptimeSEA tutorials are teaching what you want to learn.