Java and NEO Analysis

If you are a user of the analysis tool in NEO (also known as the Image Composite Explorer, or ICE), you may have noticed that after you installed the latest Java update (Java 7 Update 51) the analysis tool no longer works. Most likely you will see a pop-up error that looks like this:

Java security message

The reason you are seeing this message now is that Oracle has been implementing stricter security measures within Java (which is a good thing) and that means applications that used to work may no longer function. The preferred solution to this is for the application owner (that’s me) to purchase a digital certificate that authenticates the site and that will allow the analysis tool to run in your browser without requiring you to do anything else. However, we do not have that certificate implemented yet (I am working on that). So, in the short term, here is a way to work around this problem.

First, you must be able to access and adjust your Java security settings on your computer. For users who are using computers in a school or an organization that has centralized computer administration, this may be impossible. If that is the case, then there may be no way to get the analysis tool to work until we have the authentication certificate in place.

Locate your Java control panel.

Once the control panel opens, you will see five tabs across the top. When you click on the ‘Security’ tab you will see the following:

Java control panel

From here, click on “Edit Site List” in the lower right and another window will open:

Java add site exception

In this window, click on ‘Add’ and then you can enter the url for the NEO website — http://neo.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/ — this will give the necessary permissions to the NEO analysis tool so that it can run. Once you have entered the url you will also see a warning about running using HTTP. In this case, NEO is only available via HTTP so you can accept this warning.

After you have added the NEO URL, you may click ‘OK’ to complete the process.

Once you have completed all of these steps, the NEO analysis tool will work for you. You have only granted permissions to the NEO website itself, you have not reduced your security level for any other sites.

I will continue to work to resolve this issue with the certification process so that the above is no longer necessary. Until that time, however, you will need to enable the exception as documented above.

8 responses to “Java and NEO Analysis”

  1. Dana Haine says:

    Just wondering when the authentication certificate will be in place. The work around does not work for me as I don’t have ability to edit site list. Please post an update.
    Thanks,

    Dana

  2. Kevin Ward says:

    I do not have a definite timeline yet, unfortunately. But I will let you know when I have a target.

  3. Michael Federoff says:

    Hello Kevin, I am relatively new/beginner on these sites. I can see from the dates of interaction that this could be some time before authentication is put into place… I can imagine the amount of information must seem over the top. Are there any other sites that can have user authentication certification in the venue of similar analysis? I am interested in the aerosol analysis.
    Aloha, Michael

  4. Drew Lapinski says:

    Any idea of when the certificate will be in place? It’s a great app but I can no longer use in in my classes in the college environment.

  5. Kevin Ward says:

    Hello Michael,

    Another NASA source that you might consult for data analysis, particularly atmospheric data, is Giovanni http://disc.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/giovanni. It is a different kind of analysis tool from that in NEO, definitely targeting the scientific community, but is not too difficult to understand. Probably the most difficult aspect is determining which “portal” you want to access in Giovanni. I would suggest the “Terra and Aqua MODIS Monthly” portal as a good starting point.

  6. Kevin Ward says:

    Hello Drew,

    Unfortunately, I am not certain that this is ever going to be a reality. I have reached the point where it may not be worth the effort to maintain the analysis tool given the ever-increasing security constraints that are being implemented within Java. The application is a dozen years old and clearly past its prime and with no funding prospects to develop a replacement, it may be time to let it go. I haven’t completely resigned the tool to that fate but it may be soon.

  7. Bryce says:

    Still no certificate. Is is still
    going to be fixed?

  8. Kevin Ward says:

    Hello Bryce. The Java certificate will not be implemented and I have just posted an update on the development of a replacement tool.

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