GeoTorrent file-sharing technology delivers massive geospatial datasets

GeoTorrent file-sharing technology delivers massive geospatial datasets

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GeoTorrent.org is a peer-to-peer initiative facilitating the distribution of large geospatial datasets. Geospatial datasets, particularly imagery datasets, can be very large. It is common for a single compressed image to be many gigabytes (20+) in size. GeoTorrent.org uses bittorrent technology to alleviate the traditional bottlenecks and cost dissuaders in large dataset distribution on the Internet. Using traditional means, electronic distribution of datasets this size is economically expensive and practically inefficient. If a single file is 5 GB in size, and 1000 people want to download it, 5,000 gigabytes of information needs to be served. If there were 100 high demand files, this would equate to 500,000 gigabytes! If borne by one entity the cost of serving this data would be astronomical. As well as this, the resultant performance (download speeds) would most likely be dire, taking the average user weeks or more probably months to fully download the file.

The answer to these problems lies in Bittorrent technology. Bittorrent requires those users who download, to utilize their untapped upload capabilities to send data to other peers. Therefore, each new participant brings not only demand (download), but also supply (upload). GeoTorrent.org began life as a research project for an employee of ER Mapper, Richard Orchard. ER Mapper provides Enterprise Geospatial Imagery Solutions. GeoTorrent.org already provides access to several terabytes of geospatial information, including continental and worldwide Landsat mosaics and complete vector datasets for the United States. New datasets are continually being added.