I recently discovered the word "datacube" and according to wikipedia's definition:

In computer programming contexts, a data cube (or datacube) is a multi-dimensional ("n-D") array of values. Typically, the term datacube is applied in contexts where these arrays are massively larger than the hosting computer's main memory; examples include multi-terabyte/petabyte data warehouses and time series of image data.

The question is thus simple is Google Earth Engine a datacube ?

2 Answers 2


Maybe this article can help:

Gorelick, Noel, et al. "Google Earth Engine: Planetary-scale geospatial analysis for everyone." Remote sensing of Environment 202 (2017): 18-27.


It says:

Images ingested into Earth Engine are pre-processed to facilitate fast and efficient access. First, images are cut into tiles in the image's original projection and resolution and stored in an efficient and replicated tile database. A tile size of 256 × 256 was chosen as a practical trade-off between loading unneeded data vs. the overhead of issuing additional reads. In contrast to conventional “data cube” systems, this data ingestion process is information-preserving: the data are always maintained in their original projection, resolution and bit depth, avoiding the data degradation that would be inherent in resampling all data to a fixed grid that may or may not be appropriate for any particular application.


I think of a data cube as a 3 dimensional array. This includes 2 spatial dimensions (lat and long for example), one temporal dimension (the time-frame you are interested in), and any number of attributes (tree cover for example)--also a spatial reference system.

  • So yes, GEE is a data cube... Apr 27, 2022 at 11:03
  • As the other answer says, GEE stores data independently. A data cube is a 3-dimensional array, GGE stores data as 2-dimensional arrays inside an image collection. Then you can build a data cube with functions, but GEE's data nature isn't a data cube
    – aldo_tapia
    Apr 27, 2022 at 14:48

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