Galileo Geospatial Data Downloads

Effortless Geospatial Data Downloads with Galileo

Downloading geospatial data can be cumbersome if you do not have an extensive GIS or programming background. For this reason we have decided to make it super easy for users of Galileo to download feature layers. With a click of a button users can download the datasets, removing the need to use external tools or expensive hardware saving them valuable time and money.

Why Did I Join the Team?

The Problems:

  1. Finding the right geospatial data.
  2. Getting that data onto your computer, server or database.

I believe will finally solve these problems. It will be the one place where you can find, transform, and sync data from any source to any destination.

I’ve tried solving these problems separately while also working full-time. I had some success with, which helps with getting the data onto your computer. It supports most common file formats and works entirely in the browser. But with really large datasets, it struggles.

I also tried solving the “finding the data” part back in college. I built a crowdsourced solution that collected data from 2,265 unique servers and 726,581 layers. This project got me a runner-up prize at ACM SIGSPATIAL 2018. But working full-time meant I could not give it the attention it needed, and it eventually shut down.

I realized I could not solve these problems on my own. I needed a team of smart, passionate people who share a vision and determination to tackle these long-standing problems. For almost two years, I’ve had a message on GeodataDownloader saying, “I want to make this my full-time job”. By joining the team, I believe this dream will come true now. I can finally focus all my energy on creating an awesome geospatial search engine and data transformation tool with a supportive team that compliments my strengths.

How Are We Solving These Problems?

At, we've designed solutions to tackle the two main challenges in geospatial data handling: finding the data and getting it onto your computer or server. Our Geospatial Data Search Engine Galileo makes it really simple to find data from thousands of sources in one place. Now we would like to introduce our solutions to downloading data so that you can begin using it. 

Browser-Based Data Downloading with GeodataDownloader

The tool I created years ago is GeodataDownloader, which operates directly in your browser using GDAL compiled to WebAssembly. This approach offers several advantages:

  • Accessibility: By offloading the CPU cost to the user’s machine, ensuring that there’s nothing to install and no account required. The browser can run WebAssembly code directly on the user's device, making the service highly accessible.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: This method enables this service to be free since the heavy lifting is done on the user’s machine rather than our servers.

Robust Server-Side Downloads with Galileo

The next iteration of this, designed for more demanding tasks, Galileo, our powerful server-side downloading tool built alongside the geospatial data search platform. Here’s why Galileo stands out:

  • Reliability and Performance: By using cloud infrastructure, Galileo eliminates the common issues associated with browser-based downloads. If a user accidentally closes their browser tab, they won’t lose hours of downloading progress. Additionally, server-side downloads bypass the RAM and CPU limitations of user devices, ensuring consistent performance even for large datasets.
  • User-Friendly for All: For users with slower or older computers, server-side downloads with Galileo provide a seamless experience without taxing their local resources. This is particularly beneficial for those dealing with extensive geospatial data that would otherwise be cumbersome to handle on personal machines.

Galileo Downloads Feature Overview

With the Galileo search engine, downloading geospatial data has never been easier. Each search result now features a convenient download button, making data acquisition quick and straightforward. Here's how it works:

  1. Select Your Data: Click the download button next to your desired search result.
  2. Choose File Type: A prompt will appear for you to select your preferred file format.
  3. Initiate Download: Submit the download request to schedule the data retrieval.
  4. Track Progress: You’ll be redirected to the Downloads tab in the Galileo application, where you can monitor the progress in real-time.
  5. Access Your Data: Once the download is complete, you can access and manage your datasets from the Downloads tab. Here, you can also view all your previous downloads.

This user-friendly process is a significant improvement over previous solutions, which often required multiple steps and lacked seamless integration. By centralizing everything within the Galileo application, we've made it easier and more efficient for users to obtain the geospatial data they need. Currently, the Data Download feature supports feature layers, catering specifically to those data requirements.

What's Next for Galileo?

The server-side implementation of downloads opens up a world of possibilities for the future of Galileo. Here are some exciting features and capabilities we plan to introduce:

Custom Pre-Download Queries

Before initiating a download, Galileo will soon allow you to perform custom queries to refine your data selection. This means you can extract only the necessary data, reducing download times and storage requirements.

Scheduled Downloads

Imagine having your data ready when you need it, without having to initiate the process manually every time. Scheduled downloads will allow you to set specific times for your data to be downloaded automatically. This is perfect for regularly updated datasets or for users who want their data ready for analysis at the start of their workday.

Bring Your Own Database

Galileo will soon support the integration of your own databases. This means you can link Galileo directly to your existing database infrastructure, allowing you to directly sync the data you find into your own database. We initially plan to support PostgreSQL with PostGIS databases.


The introduction of the Data Downloads feature marks a significant milestone for Galileo. By simplifying the process of accessing geospatial data, we are empowering our users to focus on what truly matters: leveraging data for impactful decision-making and innovative projects. This feature is just the beginning. As we continue to enhance and expand our capabilities, we look forward to providing even more powerful tools that cater to your geospatial data needs.

We are committed to making geospatial data accessible and usable for everyone, regardless of technical background. With server-side processing, the potential for larger datasets, and the ability to bypass hardware limitations, Galileo is poised to become the go-to platform for all your geospatial data requirements. Future updates will bring even more exciting features such as scheduled downloads, database syncing, and custom pre-download queries.

We encourage you to explore the new Galileo Data Downloads feature and experience the ease and efficiency it brings to your workflow. We need your feedback too! What do you think about the company? What do you think about our vision? How can we make our product better? What features would you pay for? What features should be free? 

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