The paper presents the application design, system architecture, and operational procedures of the TerraServer web site. This server manages satellite images of the earth and their relationships to maps and other geographical information in a SQL database and makes them Internet-accessible through a middle-tier web application server. Practical experiences illustrate advantages and disadvantages of the design decisions.
I find the comprehensive discussion of the TerraServer application extremely insightful in terms of how to build and operate a very large, data-intensive, Internet-accessible application with non-standard forms of data. Most notably, the section on the data cleansing and loading process contains important lessons that everybody in our community should be made aware of.
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