Data-like File Formats: CSV and floating point GeoTIFFs

In addition to the standard file formats that we support in NEO—JPEG, PNG, GeoTIFF, and GoogleEarth—many (not all) datasets support two additional “data-like” formats: CSV (comma-separated values) and floating point GeoTIFF. When you choose one of these formats for download, there are a few details that should be taken into consideration.

  • The values that these files contain have been scaled and resampled for visualization purposes in NEO and should not be considered for rigorous scientific examination. At best they are useful for basic analysis and trend detection but if you are interested in conducting research-level science we recommend that you use the original source data (which are not hosted by NEO, but we can assist you in identifying the source).
  • CSV files can get quite large at full resolution. For example, a 3600×1800 CSV file can get to around 61MB. If your software has difficulty opening a file of that size then please select a smaller resolution (e.g., 1440×720).
  • There are two flavors of CSV available in NEO:
    1. “Regular” CSV which includes the text-only values at the resolution the user specifies. This format is suitable for Excel (2007 and later) and many other applications.
    2. “CSV for Excel” In Excel versions prior to 2007, worksheets could not support more than 256 columns. To remedy this, this format option is resized to 250×125. The first row contains the longitude values for the center of the cell and the first column contains the latitudes.
  • Floating point GeoTIFFs contain 32-bit numerical data along with the geolocation information that is standard for the Geo format. These files can also get large as they are not internally compressed—e.g., a 3600×1800 GeoTIFF can be around 25MB.

These formats are not available by default on our ftp site but if you are interested in obtaining a long time series of a dataset in one of these formats, please contact us and we can perform a customized export to the ftp site in the format you need.

25 Responses to “Data-like File Formats: CSV and floating point GeoTIFFs”

  1. Kevin Ward says:

    Hello Douglas,

    The only source that includes data going back that far is the DMSP-OLS nighttime lights product from NOAA:

  2. Michael Cheeseman says:

    I am trying to conduct research on 0.5 Degree MODIS LAI data. Is there anywhere else I can get preprocessed 0.5D data that can be used for rigorous science?

    Thank you!

  3. Kevin Ward says:

    Hello Michael,

    The production data (HDF) can be found at

    You might also try using the AppEEARS online analysis tool which gives you the ability to work with the source data without needing to download the data. AppEEARS does focus more on regional/subset analysis but it is probably worth a perusal:

  4. Patricio Fernandez says:


    Is there a possible way to get the chlorophyll concentration data by day, instead of having it grouped by week/month. Can you refer me to the source?

    Many thanks,


  5. Kevin Ward says:

    Hello Patricio,

    The daily chlorophyll data can be found through the NASA OceanColor website (where you can also find the source weekly and monthly data we use for NEO).


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