Multidimensional arrays for analysing geoscientific data

M. Lu, M. Appel, E. Pebesma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


© 2018 by the authors. Geographic data is growing in size and variety, which calls for big data management tools and analysis methods. To efficiently integrate information from high dimensional data, this paper explicitly proposes array-based modeling. A large portion of Earth observations and model simulations are naturally arrays once digitalized. This paper discusses the challenges in using arrays such as the discretization of continuous spatiotemporal phenomena, irregular dimensions, regridding, high-dimensional data analysis, and large-scale data management. We define categories and applications of typical array operations, compare their implementation in open-source software, and demonstrate dimension reduction and array regridding in study cases using Landsat and MODIS imagery. It turns out that arrays are a convenient data structure for representing and analysing many spatiotemporal phenomena. Although the array model simplifies data organization, array properties like the meaning of grid cell values are rarely being made explicit in practice.
Original languageEnglish
JournalISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Data analysis
  • Geoscientific data
  • Multidimensional arrays
  • Spatiotemporal modeling


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