Introduction to Discrete Global Grid Systems

Discrete Global Grid Systems (DGGS) are spatial reference systems that use hierarchical tessellation of equal-area cells to partition and address the entire globe.   A DGGS differs from conventional geographic coordinate reference systems; it is designed to be an information grid, not a navigation grid.   A DGGS is fundamentally a data integration platform with the specific analytical ability to perform "what is here?" and "where is it?" queries over distributed variable geospatial data. It serves as an optimized digital framework for combining and using geospatial information.

A DGGS is characterized by the properties of its:
In a DGGS, cells are the fundamental unit of geographic location.   Each cell is addressed with a unique indexA DGGS is data agnostic. Mechanisms are provided to sample and quantize data values from conventionally referenced geospatial information sources into the discrete cell structure of the DGGS. Data values, assigned to cells, are aligned to the DGGS tiling structure, integrated and fused; they are independent of spatial reference system, spatial scale, or data type.  Operations built on the DGGS index allow Earth data to be efficiently accessed, related, aggregated, and transformed.