The Datacasting software, which consists of a server and a client, has been developed as part of the Earth Science (ES) Datacasting project. The goal of ES Datacasting is to provide scientists the ability to automatically and continuously download Earth science data that meets a precise, predefined need, and then to instantaneously visualize it on a local computer. This is achieved by applying the concept of podcasting to deliver science data over the Internet using RSS (Really Simple Syndication) XML feeds. By extending the RSS specification, scientists can filter a feed and only download the files that are required for a particular application (for example, only files that contain information about a particular event, such as a hurricane or flood). The extension also provides the ability for the client to understand the format of the data and visualize the information locally.
The server part enables a data provider to create and serve basic Datacasting (RSS-based) feeds. The user can subscribe to any number of feeds, view the information related to each item contained within a feed (including browse pre-made images), manually download files associated with items, and place these files in a local store.
The client-server architecture enables users to:
- Subscribe and interpret multiple Datacasting feeds (same look and feel as a typical mail client),
- Maintain a list of all items within each feed,
- Enable filtering on the lists based on different metadata attributes contained within the feed (list will reference only data files of interest),
- Visualize the reference data and associated metadata,
- Download files referenced within the list, and
- Automatically download files as new items become available.