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Chapter 15 GeoCloud Initiative. Doug Nebert and Qunying Huang. Learning Objectives. Geocloud background Geospatial common platform Cloud security Federal application cloud deployment procedure. Learning Modules. Geocloud background Geocloud architecture Geocloud activities

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Chapter 15 GeoCloud Initiative

Doug Nebert and Qunying Huang

Learning objectives
Learning Objectives

  • Geocloud background

  • Geospatial common platform

  • Cloud security

  • Federal application cloud deployment procedure

Learning modules
Learning Modules

  • Geocloud background

  • Geocloud architecture

  • Geocloud activities

  • Operational cost in the cloud

  • Lessons learned

  • Discussions

Background on geocloud sandbox initiative
Background on GeoCloud Sandbox Initiative

  • Initiated as an Architecture and Technology Working Group activity in December 2009 with a call to federal agencies to nominate geospatial applications for testing in the Cloud environment for a one-year prototyping process coordinated by FGDC and GSA

  • Eleven projects have been nominated by federal agencies as existing projects with existing software suites to be deployed in commercial- or government-hosted Cloud environments

  • Two deployment environments (platforms) were drawn from the example projects: Open source service stack on Linux64 and a Commercial service stack on Windows

Deploying federal geospatial services in the cloud geocloud goals and activities
Deploying Federal Geospatial Services in the Cloud GeoCloud Goals and Activities

Activities, Outcomes

Acquire, compose, document, and deploy reference platform cloud thatsupport Geospatial Platform standards

Monitor costs, loads, issues and options in support of OMB IT project document guidance

Certify Geospatial Solution Packages to facilitate re-use

One-year+ project to test and monitor externally-hosted Cloud data and service solutions for the geospatial domain, to support the Geospatial Platform activity

Document Best Practices and guides to agencies on adoption of geospatial Cloud infrastructure

Geocloud community platform value proposition
GeoCloud Community Platform Value Proposition

Platform as a Service Architectural FrameworkDistinguishing Application, Platform and Infrastructure


Cloud community platform service activities preliminary platform architecture
Cloud Community Platform Service Activities Preliminary Platform Architecture

Deployment options within geocloud
Deployment options within GeoCloud

  • Cost evaluation for each of the initial projects was performed using online ‘calculator’ based on data transfer, storage, CPU, and demand requirements

    • Most projects could be feasibly hosted in AWS (~$350-500/month)

    • Some projects were cost-prohibitive in the Cloud due to large data storage or transfer costs

  • Amazon Web Services (EC2) was selected as the primary ‘public’ cloud computing environment for various sizes and numbers of virtual machines (AWS via Apptis is a GSA apps.govIaaS offering on BPA)

  • Dell/VMWarevCloud environment was selected for government-hosted cloud infrastructure – at USGS EROS Data Center

Document and promulgate
Document and Promulgate

  • Best practices and lessons learned

  • Cost models and benchmarks

  • Bundled platforms, updates, and artifacts

Geocloud security

  • AWS EC2 Security

    • garnered approval for hosting 12 public-facing federal systems

  • GeoCloud Security Operation

    • product-level credential for each project to login

      • enables the system administrators to provision and release the VMs, and to configure the network access

    • Several high level operations were not authorized the product-level administrators, but only to selected GeoCloud system coordinators

Operational cost in the cloud
Operational cost in the cloud

Figure 15. 5. Monthly cost for Tiger/Line and GEOSS Clearinghouse project

Lessons learned
Lessons learned

Security approval process

Software deployment


Failover, redundancy

Discussion questions
Discussion questions

  • What is the GeoCloud initiative?

  • What are the benefits to build a common geo-platform?

  • What is the GeoCloud architecture?

  • Enumerate the GeoCloud activities.

  • What are the security considerations? How to achieve security for federal applications?

  • What is operational cost in the cloud for a typical web application? For data intensive applications?

  • What are the lessons learnt?


  • AWS Security. 2010. on March 13, 2013).

  • GEOSS. 2011. GEOSS Clearinghouse Report. (accessed on March 13, 2013).

  • SDW. 2010. EROS Spatial data warehouse report. (accessed on March, 13, 2013).

  • U.S. Census Bureau. 2011. Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER) TIGER/Line, 2010 Final Report, (accessed on March, 13, 2013).

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2012. National Wetlands Inventory database metadata: (accessed on March, 13, 2013).

  • Nebert, D. 2010. Deploying Federal Geospatial Services in the Cloud. (accessed on March, 13, 2013).

  • Huang, Q., C.Yang, D.Nebert, K.Liu and H.Wu. 2010. Cloud Computing for Geosciences: Deployment of GEOSS Clearinghouse on Amazon’s EC2. In proceedings of ACM SIGSPATIAL International Workshop on High Performance and Distributed Geographic Information Systems (HPDGIS), November 2rd, 2010, San Jose, CA.