Introduction to poets, the Python Open Earth Observation Tools

poets is a package with aims to provide a standard library that can be used for collecting, resampling and displaying geospatial image datasets.


  • easy download of geospatial image datasets provided via Supported Data Sources
  • spatial resampling to a regular grid globally or clipped to a specific country or shape, provided as shapefile
  • temporal resampling to daily, weekly, monthly or dekadal intervals
  • saves resampled images as NetCDF4 file
  • web interface for displaying images and time series in a browser

Supported Data

Supported Data Sources

In order to work properly, all datasets must be provided via HTTP, FTP, SFTP or accessible on the local file system.

All files within a repository must be named following a certain structure, this structure MUST NOT vary.

Supported File Types

poets supports following file types:

  • NetCDF version >= 4.0
  • GeoTiff
  • png, jpg, and gif image files

The latter image files must have global coverage with longitudes from -180 to 180 and latitudes from -90 to 90, with the left upper pixel at -180, 90 and the right lower pixel at 180,-90.



In order to use all poets features python version 2.7.5 with the following packages has to be installed

Developers might also install the following packages:

  • pytest>=2.6.4
  • sphinx_rtd_theme>=0.1.6
  • sphinx>=1.2

How to install python packages

If you have no idea of how to install python packages then I’ll try to give a short overview and provide links to resources that can explain the process.

The recommended way of installing python packages is using pip which downloads the package you want from the python package repository Pypi and installs it if possible. For more complex packages that depend upon a C or Fortran library like netCDF4 or pybufr-ecmwf installation instructions are provided on the package website.


If you already have a working python installation with the necessary packages download and unpack the poets source package which is available from

just change the active directory to the unpacked poets-0.1.0 folder and use the following command in the command line:

python install

or if you’d rather use pip then use the command:

pip install poets


You are very welcome to contribute to poets! The source code is abailable at Feel free to contact Thomas Mistelbauer in case of any questions or requests.

Ancillary data

The world country boundary shape file was downloaded from