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How To Access Data With Python

The following Python code example demonstrates how to configure a connection to download data from an Earthdata Login enabled server. Note that you will need to a secure way to configure the Earthdata Login username and password.

from cookielib import CookieJar
from urllib import urlencode

import urllib2

# The user credentials that will be used to authenticate access to the data

username = "<Your Earthdata login username>"
password = "<Your Earthdata login password>"

# The url of the file we wish to retrieve

url = ""

# Create a password manager to deal with the 401 reponse that is returned from
# Earthdata Login

password_manager = urllib2.HTTPPasswordMgrWithDefaultRealm()
password_manager.add_password(None, "", username, password)

# Create a cookie jar for storing cookies. This is used to store and return
# the session cookie given to use by the data server (otherwise it will just
# keep sending us back to Earthdata Login to authenticate).  Ideally, we
# should use a file based cookie jar to preserve cookies between runs. This
# will make it much more efficient.

cookie_jar = CookieJar()

# Install all the handlers.

opener = urllib2.build_opener(
    #urllib2.HTTPHandler(debuglevel=1),    # Uncomment these two lines to see
    #urllib2.HTTPSHandler(debuglevel=1),   # details of the requests/responses

# Create and submit the request. There are a wide range of exceptions that
# can be thrown here, including HTTPError and URLError. These should be
# caught and handled.

request = urllib2.Request(url)
response = urllib2.urlopen(request)

# Print out the result (not a good idea with binary data!)

body =
print body

Here is another example that will only work with later versions of python:


import requests # get the requsts library from

# overriding requests.Session.rebuild_auth to mantain headers when redirected

class SessionWithHeaderRedirection(requests.Session):

    AUTH_HOST = ''

    def __init__(self, username, password):


        self.auth = (username, password)

   # Overrides from the library to keep headers when redirected to or from

   # the NASA auth host.

    def rebuild_auth(self, prepared_request, response):

        headers = prepared_request.headers

        url = prepared_request.url

        if 'Authorization' in headers:

            original_parsed = requests.utils.urlparse(response.request.url)

            redirect_parsed = requests.utils.urlparse(url)

            if (original_parsed.hostname != redirect_parsed.hostname) and \

                    redirect_parsed.hostname != self.AUTH_HOST and \

                    original_parsed.hostname != self.AUTH_HOST:

                del headers['Authorization']


# create session with the user credentials that will be used to authenticate access to the data

username = "USERNAME"

password= "PASSWORD"

session = SessionWithHeaderRedirection(username, password)

# the url of the file we wish to retrieve

url = ""

# extract the filename from the url to be used when saving the file

filename = url[url.rfind('/')+1:]  


    # submit the request using the session

    response = session.get(url, stream=True)


    # raise an exception in case of http errors


    # save the file

    with open(filename, 'wb') as fd:

        for chunk in response.iter_content(chunk_size=1024*1024):


except requests.exceptions.HTTPError as e:

    # handle any errors here


Here is another simple example:

# assuming variables `username`, `password` and `url` are set...

    # Example URL

    url = ""

    # url = ""

    import requests

    with requests.Session() as session:

            s.auth = (username, password)

            r1 = session.request('get', url)

            r = session.get(r1.url, auth=(username, password))

            if r.ok:

                print r.content # Say

Accessing Data from NSIDC:

NSIDC has provided sample scripts to access their data with Python: