SGVLUG - A Cloud-based Architecture for Processing 3D Mars Terrain

San Gabriel Valley Tech
San Gabriel Valley Tech
Public group

Every 2nd Thursday of the month

Location image of event venue


The wonderful folks at OpenX are hosting this meeting, and they are also providing pizza. We need to provide a list of names to building security. We require RSVPs by 5pm on Tuesday, Mar 8th. Please keep RSVPs up-to-date, particularly if we have a waitlist. RSVPs will be capped at 50.


OnSight is a tool that allows scientists to work on Mars through the power of virtual reality. The Mars terrain displayed in OnSight is produced from real images sent back by the Curiosity rover, and rendered at 1:1 scale, as if the user were actually standing on Mars. Behind this exciting user experience is a powerful backend infrastructure that continually produces 3D terrain reconstructions as new images are sent back by the Curiosity rover.

The terrain build system automatically detects when new images are available, dynamically starts and stops computing instances to handle the workload, and presents dashboards to view the progress of terrain builds. The system runs on Amazon’s cloud services platform, using a mix of Linux and Windows virtual computing instances. The system leverages a variety of open source projects including NodeJS, LoopBack, Ansible, Jenkins, AngularJS, and BootStrap. In this talk will focus on the cloud computing aspects of the terrain system, rather than on image processing. I will present a detailed look at the parts of this system, and discuss the team’s experience adapting a desktop data processing workflow to a cloud architecture. Please join me for an applied look at how data processing challenges can be addressed in a cloud computing environment.


Parker Abercrombie is a software engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he builds software to support Mars science missions. He has a special interest in geographic information systems, and has worked with teams at NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy on systems for geographic visualization and data management. Parker holds an M.A. in Geography from Boston University, and a B.S. in Creative Studies with emphasis in Computer Science (which he swears is more technical than it sounds) from the University of California, Santa Barbara. In his spare time, Parker enjoys baking bread and playing the Irish wooden flute.


At about 7:30pm, we'll start the meeting with LUG business and Linux in the News. The talk will start shortly afterwards.

Since we didn't get to raffle off much stuff at our booth at SCALE, we'll be doing some raffles during the next few meetings. We will do the raffle drawing at the end of the talk. You can acquire raffle tickets throughout the evening. You will get a raffle ticket just for showing up. You may earn extra raffle tickets for audience participation. Or you can donate $1 per ticket. The money goes towards the Meetup expenses and allows us to do cool things.


OpenX is located in the One West Bank building @ 888 E Walnut St. Pasadena CA, 91101. Entrances to the building are eastbound on Walnut, right hand side before the Lake St. intersection or southbound on Lake St. right hand side after the Walnut St. intersection. Once through the driveway, please park in the 888 Lot that has the OpenX logo displayed out front. Pull a ticket and bring it with you to the Meetup, we will validate your parking.


SGVLUG is one of the oldest and most active Linux User Groups in the Greater Los Angeles area. In addition to Linux, the group also shares interests in other free and open source software, all forms of technology, and the discussion of issues that arise with the these new tools, such as privacy rights. SGVLUG attracts members from throughout LA County including Pasadena, Glendale, Burbank, and eastward throughout the San Gabriel Valley. Our members include software developers, system administrators, hardware engineers, and software users of all levels of experience. Many work in the technology field as employees, contractors or consultants, and enjoy the learning and networking opportunities available from the group. We also have many members that serve as volunteers of their time and skills at various local events, including the annual Southern California Linux Expo (SCaLE).