1. What is Google Earth Engine ?

Google Earth Engine is a computing platform that allows users to run geospatial analysis on Google’s infrastructure. There are several ways to interact with the platform:

  • Explorer
  • Code Editor
  • Javascript client library
  • Python client library
  • R client library

This website is focused on the last one, you can use the R client library to send/receive messages to/from the Earth Engine server and develop web applications.

2. The purpose of Earth Engine is to:

  • Perform highly interactive algorithm development at global scale

  • Push the envelope for big data in remote sensing

  • Enable high-impact, data-driven science

  • Make substantive progress on global challenges that involve large geospatial datasets

3. Components:

The main components of Earth Engine are:

Datasets: A petabyte-scale archive of publicly available remotely sensed imagery and other data. Explore the data catalog.

Compute power: Google’s computational infrastructure optimized for parallel processing of geospatial data.

WEB REST API/Client libraries: For making requests to the Earth Engine servers.

4. Meet Earth Engine

The Earth Engine API and advanced Earth Engine functionality are experimental and subject to change. Access is limited and requires requesting access via the form. See Earth Engine official website to obtain more information.


5. Why rgee instead of code editor (Javascript)?

A short comparison based on Tyler Erickson presentation.

Code Editor R
Easy to get started Easy to share code between scripts.
Trivial to share scripts Easier transition to a web application (Shiny).
Built in authentication An I/O API more friendly with R users.
Limited input/output functionality Many, many plotting options