PDS4 Training

Welcome to the PDS4 Training page.

This page is intended for both data preparers, requiring training in the process of archiving, and end users, requiring an understanding of the data standard in order to search and access data to their specifications, who wish to familiarize themselves with PDS4.

Here we offer overview information, detailed documentation, and step-by-step guidance on the various aspects of the PDS4 standard and defining data products within this standard. If you are unable to find a resource or still have questions, contact the PDS Operator at pds_operator@jpl.nasa.gov for more assistance.

Visit the PDS YouTube channel to see all of our training videos.

What is PDS4?

PDS4 is the current PDS archive standard. This new standard is a model driven system that simplifies data formats and stores more extensive metadata in XML labels. The resulting archive has improved connections between data products, supports more complex, faster data searches, and delivers an improved user experience.

How to Archive in the PDS

Where to Start

Organization of an Archive

The PDS4 archive structure is built on files containing data, documents, or other study related files. It provides a hierarchical organization for data archiving: related products, such as all raw images from a single instrument or all documents from a mission, are grouped into collections. A bundle contains all related collections.

Every PDS4 bundle, collection, and product has an associated XML label file. Each label file stores metadata (data about the data) such as key search terms, related files, and details about the product it is describing. This metadata improves the searchability of your archive and its products.

Every PDS4 product (bundle, collection, or basic product) is registered in the PDS Central Registry. Every XML label contains that product’s Logical Identifier (LID). LIDs provide a single and unique identifier for each product in the whole PDS4 archive.

For more information on Labels, see the Product Labels, Step by Step section below.


This section provides links to key information sources you may need when archiving your data. The Information Model provides specific information on the core rules of PDS4 architecture. Here is where you would look for precise guidelines on Classes, Attributes, and Data Types. The remaining links describe what types/formats of data are archivable in PDS.

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Product Labels, Step by Step

This section provides step-by-step information for filling out a label. PDS uses the XML format for its label files. There are several distinct types of labels that you will encounter, each with different structural details, and there is some overlap. In each case, the label is divided into several major sections, which you'll find listed below in the order in which they appear in the label.

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Local Data Dictionaries

Discipline Dictionaries

A local dictionary is any dictionary other than the PDS4 master schema. These include both discipline dictionaries, like the Display Dictionary or the Spectral Dictionary, and mission dictionaries produced by data preparers as part of their archiving process.

This section provides step-by-step information on filling out the Discipline_Area at the bottom of the Observation_Area in observational product labels (and in the Context_Area, if appropriate, in non-observational products).

Mission Dictionaries

Coming Soon

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There is software available for working with PDS3/4 data in the form of tools for generating local data dictionaries (LDDTool), generating PDS4 labels (MILabel), ensuring labels obey syntactic and semantic constraints (Validate), transforming PDS data into common formats (Transform), and parsing PDS4 data objects (PDS4 JParser). To search all PDS tools, use the Tool Registry.


The Java-based tool that converts an input XML document and into the various types of structured files used to define, document, and use a local data dictionary in labels.

Validate Tool

The Validate Tool is the canonical validator for PDS4 products. It can be used to validate single product labels, collections, and bundles. Capabilities are still being developed and added, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Being able to run Validate Tool locally can reduce the turn-around time for submitting data to PDS for review and archiving by allowing data preparers to spot-check their labels throughout development, and to run the same canonical tool used by PDS to vet their submissions for standards compliance.

MI Label and Velocity Templates

Metadata Injector for PDS labels (MI Label) is a Java based command line tool that generates a PDS4 label from a template and a metadata file. The tutorial and video below use Apache Velocity templates and a simple text based metadata file to generate a PDS4 label.

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Training Workshops

PDS has provided training at several conferences. Each training listed below covers different aspects of PDS4.

OPVC Trainings Playlist

The PDS participated in the 2020 Open Planetary Virtual Conference. There were several talks given that provided some historical information on the evolution of the PDS, an introduction to creating a PDS4 archive, OPUS tutorials, as well as some Node updates.

Europa Clipper PDS4 Training - June 15, 2018

A special training session was held for the Europa Clipper instrument team members following their PSG meeting at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The objectives of this training were to provide an introduction of PDS4 and to introduce the team members to available tools to aide them in their PDS4 development. Training was conducted by experienced PDS staff members from a number of discipline nodes.

AGU PDS4 Training - December 12-15, 2017

Small group PDS4 training was offered at the PDS booth in the Exhibition Hall of the AGU Fall 2017 meeting, held in New Orleans, LA, December 12-15, 2017. The objective of this training was to enable trainees to produce PDS4 archive products during as part of the training session. Trainees were encouraged to bring their own data to work with, though sample data products were provided as well. Training was conducted by experienced PDS staff members from a number of discipline nodes.

AAS/DPS Fall Meeting - October 15-20, 2017

Two training courses were offered at the 2017 AAS/DPS Fall meeting in Provo, Utah. The objective was to introduce key terms for working with PDS4 standards and to offer a guided exercise in working with building labels. While working on the exercise, node personnel were available to answer questions and help guide the participants in the exercise with direct one-on-one help.

3rd Planetary Data Workshop - June 14, 2017

In association with the 3rd Planetary Data Workshop, a PDS4 training session occurred on June 14, 2017. Topics included an introduction to PDS4 concepts, vocabulary and hands-on training on how to design a bundle and collections along with development of basic product labels for simple table and image files. Experienced PDS staff members were on hand to answer questions and offer help as needed.

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SPICE Training

The Navigation and Ancillary Information Facility (NAIF) website offers training regarding SPICE software and data. Any questions regarding SPICE should be directed to NAIF.

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Credit and sincere thanks to the Small Bodies Node, most notably:

  • Anne Raugh, for the meticulous documentation
  • Benjamin Hirsch, for the tireless collaboration

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