The long-term vision for pysat is to make the package suitable for working with any combination of data. As pysat is intended to support the development of highly robust and verifiable scientific analysis and processing packages, pysat must produce each of its features with high quality unit tests and documentation.

This document provides a broad and long term vision of pysat. Specific tasks associated with this roadmap may be found within the posted Issues and Projects.

An item being on the roadmap does not necessarily mean that it will happen. During the implementation or testing periods we may discover issues that limit the feature.


Data support with pysat is currently focused on space-science data sets. However, the features within the module also work well on other types of data. Where appropriate, space-science specific features will be generalized for a wider audience.

Data Support

The Instrument class currently supports both pandas.DataFrame and xarray.Dataset formats, covering 1D time-series and multi-dimensional data that can be loaded into memory. Even larger data sets would require that pysat integrate a data format such as Dask. To cover the needs of any potential user, an ideal solution would be for pysat to implement a clear public mechanism for users to add their own data formats. Commonalities observed after integrating dask, pandas, and xarray should provide a viable path forward for this generalization.

Multiple Data Sources

The Instrument class is designed to work on a single data source at a time. For multiple data sources pysat is developing a Constellation class that operates on multiple Instrument objects and will include methods designed to assist in merging multiple data sets together. The Constellation class will feature compatibility with the simpler Instrument object when possible. However, given the additional complexity when working with multiple sources this may not always be possible. Long term, we intend on providing functionality that can merge a Constellation into a ‘live’ Instrument object for greatest compatibility.


The minimal barriers to entry in open source software allows for a large variety of packages, each with its own approach to a problem. A disadvantage of this setup is that many of these packages have been developed without interoperability in mind, presenting challenges when attempting to combine these disparate packages towards a common goal. pysat provides a versatility when coupling to data sources, which may be used to connect these isolated packages together. Once a package is connected to pysat then that functionality becomes available to all packages that incorporate pysat as a source. The value and functionality of this large scale pysat metapackage increases exponentially with every new connection.

File Support

pysat currently supports tracking both data and metadata, as well as the ability to create netCDF4 files, and is capable of maintaining compliance with NASA’s Space Physics Data Facility (SPDF) formatting requirements for NASA satellite missions. Support for creating different types of files, as well as a variety of file standards, needs to be enhanced to support a broader array of research areas.

Data Iteration

pysat currently features orbit iteration, a feature that transparently provides complete orbits (across day/file breaks) calculated in real time. A variety of orbit types are supported, each of which maps to a method looking for a particular signal in the data to trigger upon. However, the current variety of orbit types is insufficient to address community needs. The underlying class is capable of iterating over a wider variety of conditions though this type of functionality is not currently available to users. Improving access to this area enables generalized real-time data pagination based upon custom user supplied conditions. Ensuring good performance under a variety of conditions requires upgrading and generalizing the data cacheing in pysat as well as the orbit iteration interface.


While it is critical for scientific outputs to be correct, results that are equally correct but calculated quicker make it easier for scientists to fully explore a data set. A benchmarking solution will be implemented and used to identify areas with slow performance that could potentially be improved upon.


Unit tests confirming pysat behaves as expected is fundamental to the scientific goals of the project. While unit test coverage is high, a general review of all the unit tests needs to be performed. In particular, unit tests written early in the project need to be brought up to project standards. The test suite needs additional organization as many files are too long. Further, tests need to be expanded to ensure that more combinations of features are engaged at once to ensure interoperability.

User Experience

Providing a consistent, versatile, and easy to use interface is a core feature for pysat.


Robust, accurate, consistent, comprehensive, and easy to understand documentation is essential for any project presented to the community to build upon. While great strides were made with the release of pysat v3.0, additional review and expansion of examples and discussion would be helpful to users.

pysatPenumbra Modules

The development of analysis packages built on pysat has historically revealed areas for improvement. Active engagement with these publicly developed packages helps ensure that solutions are practical and responsive to community requirements.