SETI Institute Sagan scientist and his team honored at the NASA 'Software of the Year' competition

Ross Beyer, research scientist at the Carl Sagan Center of the SETI Institute leads a small squad of software engineers that develops the Neo-Geography Toolkit (, a collection of software tools for the automated processing of maps, images, and other geospatial data.  They entered the NASA-wide 'Software of the Year' competition in 2013 and received an 'Honorable Mention'. 

The prestigious Software of the Year Award is designed to give recognition to developers of exceptional software created for or by NASA and owned by NASA. The competition allows the agency to recognize and appreciate the NASA team members who set high standards for significant software that is creative, usable, transferable, and possesses inherent quality.

Software toolkit teamThe Neo-Geography Toolkit team, led by SETI Institute research scientist Ross Beyer, received their award at NASA Ames on January 22 2014 image credit: NASA

The Neo-Geography Toolkit is a collection of software tools for the automated processing of maps, images, and other geospatial data. It is capable of processing raw data from remote sensing instruments and transforming it into useful cartographic products, such as visible image base maps or topographical models. The Neo-Geography Toolkit has the capacity to process geospatial data sets up to several tens of terabytes large, and can transform raw data, vector data, and geo-tagged data sets into standard geospatial data formats suitable for Google Earth, Microsoft World Wide Telescope, geographical information systems (GIS), and others. Remote sensing of celestial bodies like Mars, the Moon, and our own Earth is resulting in an increased amount of data (both in number and spatial resolution), and it is becoming less practical and cost effective to employ manual, human-intensive processing methods. Automated tools that can achieve comparable accuracy to human-guided techniques will greatly increase both productivity and scientific return. The Neo-Geography Toolkit is designed to produce cartographic products in formats that are immediately useful to scientists, mission planners, and the general public.

NASA Software of the Year Page -

Neo-Geography Toolkit -