NEO News

Questions asked frequently at NEO

After many years of serving the public with global visualizations of Earth’s system processes, we gathered the most frequent questions visitors of our site ask and answered them for you. The FAQs page can be found on the home page and lives here: Please look these questions over and see if they answer questions you may have had already or discoveries that will help understand our site better.

If you read through the page and still have your own unanswered questions we did not cover, please send us an email using the contact form below and we will make sure you are heard.

NEO FTP Service No Longer Available

Effective June 13, 2019, the NEO File Transfer Protocol (FTP) service is no longer available. It has been replaced with access via HTTPS.

NEO FTP Service is Retiring

NASA is in the process of deprecating the use of FTP protocol for file access across the agency. As a result, downloading files from NEO via FTP may no longer be available after April 15, 2019. NEO will support bulk downloading options via HTTPS, but FTP client software applications will no longer be able to access NEO holdings. Similarly, if users are using FTP command line utilities or scripts to download from the archive, those will need to be converted to using HTTPS-access methods.

The directories containing the bulk files can be found at Additionally, you may also use our Web Mapping Service (WMS).

For users who have scripts or command line experience, we recommend using either wget or curl to facilitate downloading from the bulk archive. There is quite a bit of documentation and examples that can be found simply by searching, or even just looking at the wget man page, but here are a couple wget examples:

If you want to maintain an up-to-date mirror of a specific directory, retrieving only the PNG files:

wget --no-directories --no-host-directories --no-parent --recursive --mirror --accept "*.PNG" -l1

Same as above, but get only the images from 2007 (for example):

wget --no-directories --no-host-directories --no-parent --recursive --mirror --accept "*2007*.PNG" -l1

If you are not comfortable using command line utilities to download NEO imagery, there is a growing number of graphical interfaces to facilitate downloading over HTTPS. Some are stand-alone applications, some are browser plugins. You can find these applications by searching on “download multiple files from website.”

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.

NEO Web Mapping Service (WMS)

The NEO Web Map Service implementation strives to open up the NEO collection to users who wish to access its contents via machine-to-machine interaction. WMS gives users the ability to access maps from any implementing service using a standardized programming interface.

Read more about NEO WMS.

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