Alaska Satellite Facility
Delivering Remote Sensing Data Since 1991

Search, Visualize, Download

The API can be used to search, visualize, or download SAR data from the ASF data pool depending on the choice of 'output' keyword value. The default output is METALINK, which is useful for downloading data.

Search and Visualize

  Searches can be done with CSV or JSON output. Note that CSV returns many more fields than JSON. Users may visualize data with KML files and Google Earth. The API will return a maximum of 10,000 results for a given search.

     Search and Visualize via browser
A non-command-line option is to visualize your results by pasting the URL and keywords into a browser. You'll need to have Google Earth or another program installed. You can also do CSV, JSON, or METALINK searches via the browser and get a file returned. If you do this, use '&' instead of '\&'. This is a great option if you are not scripting, or for smaller searches.

API Uses and Output Keywords
UsesOutput Values
Helpful Software
JSONCustom script, JSON viewer
CountCOUNTCommand line
VisualizeKMLBrowser, Google Earth
DownloadMETALINK (default)aria2 required
DOWNLOADPython required

Download Setup Steps

Do these one-time setup steps prior to using the API Download Tool to download data from the ASF data pool.

1) Get an Earthdata Login account

A NASA EOSDIS Earthdata Login account is required for downloading data from ASF. Earthdata Login accounts are easy to register for on the Earthdata Login — Create Profile page.

After creating your account, you must log into Vertex, accept the Terms of Service, and set your Study Area before downloading data.

2) Install a Command-Line Download Tool

aria2 is ASF's recommended tool for bulk downloads.  Additional information is available on downloads and aria2 at ASF and metalinks.

Wget comes installed on most Linux distributions and is also available for Windows, Mac, and other platforms.

Bulk Download with Aria2

The API Download Tool supports downloading API search results with aria2 in one easy command!

  1. Include your Earthdata username and password
  2. Include your API search URL and keywords
  3. Make sure output=metalink
  4. Run it!
Linux/Mac Example — Log in, search, and download results in one command

aria2c --http-auth-challenge=true --http-user=CHANGE_ME --http-passwd='CHANGE_ME' ""
Windows Example — Log in, search, and download results in one command

aria2c --check-certificate=false --http-auth-challenge=true --http-user=CHANGE_ME --http-passwd="CHANGE_ME" ""

Having trouble?  See the Troubleshooting page for resolutions to common issues.

Additional aria2 options at

Download Without Installing Aria2

Users without access to aria2 can still download files, but it takes a few more steps:

  1. Run your API search with output=CSV
  2. Review your search results for the download URL(s) of the file(s) you want
  3. Download those files one at a time using Wget
Linux/Mac Example — Download a datapool file using Wget

wget -c --http-user=CHANGE_ME --http-password='CHANGE_ME' ""
Windows Example — Download a datapool file using Wget

wget --check-certificate=off -c --http-user=CHANGE_ME --http-password="CHANGE_ME" ""

Having trouble?  See the Troubleshooting page for resolutions to common issues.

Additional wget options at the GNU Wget Manual

A Note About Passwords

You can store your Earthdata username and password in a configuration file instead of including them in every download command.  This can make downloads more convenient, and hides your credentials from other users that have access to see commands being run on your system.  If you save your password in a file, make sure to set the file's permissions so other users can't read it!

Linux/Mac Example — Create and use a configuration file with aria2

echo 'http-user=CHANGE_ME' >> aria2.conf
echo 'http-passwd=CHANGE_ME' >> aria2.conf
chmod 600 aria2.conf

aria2c --conf-path=aria2.conf --http-auth-challenge=true ""
Linux/Mac Example — Create and use a configuration file with Wget

echo 'http_user=CHANGE_ME' >> wget.conf
echo 'http_password=CHANGE_ME' >> wget.conf
chmod 600 wget.conf

export WGETRC="wget.conf"
wget -c ""

You can store other default options in your configuration file as well.  Refer to the complete documentation on configuration files for aria2 and Wget.

Get SAR Data

Get SAR Data

Select and download SAR data online using Vertex.

Use the ASF API for downloading SAR data via a command line.