What makes Southest Alaska Science Catalog different?

Technology for the next decade built on open source, secure, and efficient services.

Geographic Information Network of Alaska

The Alaska Science Catalog application, developed by GINA, is built using open source platforms and libraries that emphasize secure data access and efficient delivery of services. The core application is developed using Ruby on Rails, Jquery, and the Twitter Bootstrap libraries and conforms to the latest HTML5 specifications. The Catalog source code is managed using the revision control software Git and hosted on the Github website. The catalog and portal system is hosted on infrastructure run by GINA at the UAF campus. It uses a distributed server infrastructure running CentOS 6.4, NGINX (http), Postgres/PostGIS, Mongodb, Redis, and Apache SOLR services. All access to the server infrastructure is handled through a proxy system to increase the availability, security and scaling of the system.


Identity management for the Alaska Science Catalog system is handled using open standards, including OpenID and OAuth, to provide secure, distributed and single-sign-on access to the portals. Authorization is handled on a per portal basis, and provides fine grain control for each users access to the portal. Authorization assignment is delegated to to portal users with administrative privileges.

Secure Data System

We value the integrity and security of your data as much as you, that’s why we developed the Secure Data System (SDS) to manage data access. By default when a new record is created, it is not published and only available to users who are logged in with data manager privileges. After a record has been published it then becomes publicly available for discovery but access to downloading the records can have the following restrictions applied.

  1. A data use agreement/disclaimer can be attached to the record and presented to the user before access to the data is allowed.
  2. The data manager can either request or require the users contact information be entered before the data can be downloaded.
  3. Remotely hosted data can either be directly linked to or can redirect the user to any existing data authorization systems already in place for download access.
All downloads are logged within the system and available to portal administrators.

Geospatial Data Management

Geospatial data and imagery visualization is provided through an OpenLayers map interface, with satellite imagery provided through GINA’s Web Mapping Service (WMS) and tile feeds. Data is managed in the Alaska Science Catalog using revision-controlled repositories to provide a complete history of the data and to allow for citations of the exact version of the data being accessed from the Catalog.

Collaboration with other Arctic and sub-Arctic geospatial data catalogs, such as ARMAP, are done through open web interfaces and REST APIs developed in coordination with Alaska Data Integration Workgroup (ADIwg) and are used to provide automated updates between partnering Catalogs. In addition the OGC Catalogue Service specification is currently being added to provide the ability to import records from Geoportal and other compatible catalog applications.