What Do I Need to Know About Earthdata Login?
What is Earthdata Login?
URS is now known as the Earthdata Login
Earthdata Login is the authentication system for most EOSDIS tools, applications, and websites. So almost every time you're entering in your username and password to get access to a website like Earthdata Search Client (EDSC) or an application like Metadata Management Tool (MMT), you're using Earthdata Login.
How does this affect me?
You'll need to use Earthdata Login anytime you want access to protected content on EOSDIS sites or to order or view data from most of our partners. It's easy to get going with Earthdata Login, though.
First, you're going to want a Earthdata Login profile. You can sign up easily and quickly by visiting the Earthdata Login site. You'll have to supply a valid email address and a few other bits of information, but it's not invasive, your information is never shared outside of EOSDIS, and you get access with that one login to a ton of EOSDIS content.
Is Earthdata Login safe and secure?
Earthdata Login is secure, at a number of levels. First, you may notice the "https" in the URL: https://urs.earthdata.nasa.gov. That tells you that when you're talking to Earthdata Login, you're talking over HTTPS, the secure version of the protocol that allows your web browser to talk to Earthdata Login. Second, your password is encrypted in Earthdata Login. That means that even Earthdata Login administrators can't simply open up your record and check out your password–even from the back-end! And third, because when you log into EOSDIS tools and services, you use a form provided by Earthdata Login itself, you're never giving your password to another application... even one you trust!
- Now you can use your new Earthdata Login login. For example, jump over to EDSC (https://search.earthdata.nasa.gov) and click the "Sign In" button at the top right:
- You'll be redirected to the Earthdata Login login page:
Once you enter in your username and password, you may see another Earthdata Login screen. It looks something like this:
What in the world is this? Well, it's part of the Earthdata Login workflow, which implements something called OAuth 2. This ensures that your password is kept private, and that you always know which applications have access to your personal information. You will need to click on the 'Authorize' button in order to proceed.
Why does URS use OAuth 2?
OAuth 2 is an approach to authentication that protects your personal information. In a nutshell, OAuth 2 (and Earthdata Login) assume that you don't want any sites or applications–even EOSDIS ones–to be able to access your information unless you tell Earthdata Login specifically that it's OK for those sites and applications to do so! In this case, you have to explicitly tell Earthdata Login, "Yes, it's OK for the Earthdata website to access my information... but not my password! Keep that safe and secret, please." You do that by clicking the green "Yes" button.
Finally, you're redirected back to the original application you visited–in this case, the EDSC website:
But notice that something has changed: the "Sign In" button is gone, and in its place is a "Sign Out" button. That lets you know that you're logged in.
Every time? Really?
It's easy to think that this process is a bit of a pain, especially if you log into and out of EOSDIS applications frequently. However, you only have to approve an application or website access to your Earthdata Login profile once. After that, the application or website can always access your information, and you'll avoid having to approve it. As you approve the applications you use often, you'll find that Earthdata Login stays behind the scenes much more, and allows you to focus on getting the information you need–without lots of interruption. For more on how Earthdata Login handles your application approvals–including how to remove an approval–you can check out the Earthdata Login .
So then what about...
There's lots more to learn about Earthdata Login and how it interacts with the EOSDIS systems you use. If you have general questions, you might want to check out our helpful URS Frequently Asked Questions. You can also always email the EOSDIS support team at firstname.lastname@example.org. And there's quite a bit more documentation available through the Earthdata Login site itself: https://urs.earthdata.nasa.gov.
Sites Using Earthdata Login
The following are a few of the websites, tools, and applications that are currently using Earthdata Login:
- Earthdata Website
- Earthdata Wiki
- Earthdata Code Collaborative and associated tools
- Alaska Satellite Facility
- LANCE Near Real-Time Data
The Earthdata Login Team
You can always contact the Earthdata Login team if you have further questions about Earthdata Login.