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Stac-server is an implementation of the STAC API specification for searching and serving metadata for geospatial data, including but not limited to satellite imagery). The STAC and STAC API versions supported by a given version of stac-server are shown in the table below. Additional information can be found in the CHANGELOG

stac-server Version STAC Version STAC API Version
0.1.x 0.9.x 0.9.x
0.2.x <1.0.0-rc.1 0.9.x
0.3.x 1.0.0 1.0.0-beta.2
0.4.x 1.0.0 1.0.0-beta.5

The following APIs are deployed instances of stac-server:

Name STAC Version STAC API Version Description
Earth Search 1.0.0-beta.2 0.9.0 Catalog of some AWS Public Datasets
Landsat Look 1.0.0 0.9.0


flowchart LR

itemsForIngest[Items for ingest]

subgraph ingest[Ingest]
  ingestSnsTopic[Ingest SNS Topic]
  ingestQueue[Ingest SQS Queue]
  ingestLambda[Ingest Lambda]

  ingestDeadLetterQueue[Ingest Dead Letter Queue]
  failedIngestLambda[Failed Ingest Lambda]


subgraph api[STAC API]
  apiGateway[API Gateway]
  apiLambda[API Lambda]


%% Ingest workflow

itemsForIngest --&gt; ingestSnsTopic
ingestSnsTopic --&gt; ingestQueue
ingestQueue --&gt; ingestLambda
ingestLambda --&gt; elasticsearch

ingestDeadLetterQueue --&gt; failedIngestLambda

%% API workflow

users --&gt; api
apiGateway --&gt; apiLambda
apiLambda --&gt; elasticsearch


0.3 -> 0.4

Create a new deployment, copy the elasticsearch database, rename indexes,

Elasticsearch upgrade from 7.9 to 7.10

The Serverless Framework supports provisioning AWS resources, but it does not support updating existing resources. In 0.4, the default Elasticsearch version has been updated from 7.9 to 7.10. Continuing to use 7.9 should not cause any problems, but it recommended that you manually upgrade to 7.10 by going to AWS Console - Amazon OpenSearch Service, choosing the Elasticsearch domain used by your stac-server deployment (e.g., stac-server-{stage}-es), choose Upgrade from the Actions menu, and then upgrade to Elasticsearch 7.10.

Disable automatic index creation

It is now recommended to disable automatic index creation.

Validate index mappings

Elasticsearch indices each have a mapping applied that determines how the data is indexed and searched over. These mappings do not change the document data, but can change search behavior. One relevant mapping behavior is that by default, string fields are analyzed for full-text search. In most cases with STAC Items, values such as those in the id and collection fields should not be analyzed and should instead be searchable only by exact matches. In Elasticsearch, this is known as a keyword field type. Importantly, sorting may only be done over keyword typed fields. As of 0.4.0, the default sort is now by properties.datetime, then id, then collection, and results will not be returnd if any indicies have the id or collection fields mapped as text instead of keyword.

For each index (other than collections), use GET to retrieve the endpoint GET /{collectionId}/_mapping, and validate that properties.datetime type is date, and id and collection mappings are keyword (not text with a keyword subfield). For an AWS Opensearch Service instance, this can be done with a script similar to the one here.

The results should look simliar to this:

  "my_collection_name": {
    "mappings": {
      "dynamic_templates": [
          "strings": {
            "match_mapping_type": "string",
            "mapping": {
              "type": "keyword"
      "properties": {
        "id": {
          "type": "keyword"
        "collection": {
          "type": "keyword"
        "properties": {
          "properties": {
            "datetime": {
              "type": "date"

If this is not the case, the easiest solution to fix it is to:

  1. Deploy a 0.4.0 instance.
  2. Backup and restore the 0.3.0 instance's Elasticsearch indicies to the 0.4.0 instances's Elasticsearch database.
  3. Create a collection via ingest with a new collection name similar to the existing one (e.g., if index foo exists, create foo_new).
  4. Reindex from the the existing index (foo) to the the new one (foo_new).
  5. Delete the exiting index and rename the new one to the name of the formerly-existing one (e.g. foo_new -> foo).


Stac-server is a web API that returns JSON, see the documentation, or the /api endpoint which is a self-documenting OpenAPI document. Here are some additional tools that might prove useful:

  • pystac-client: A Python client library and CLI for searching a STAC compliant API


This repository contains Node libraries for running the API, along with a serverless configuration file for deployment to AWS.

To create your own deployment of stac-server, first clone the repository:

git clone
cd stac-server

Copy the example serverless config file to a file named serverless.yml:

cp serverless.yml.example serverless.yml

There are some settings that should be reviewed and updated as needeed in the serverless config file, under provider->environment:

Name Description Default Value
STAC_VERSION STAC Version of this STAC API 1.0.0
STAC_ID ID of this catalog stac-server
STAC_TITLE Title of this catalog STAC API
STAC_DESCRIPTION Description of this catalog A STAC API
STAC_DOCS_URL URL to documentation
ES_BATCH_SIZE Number of records to ingest in single batch 500
STAC_API_URL The root endpoint of this API Inferred from request
ENABLE_TRANSACTIONS_EXTENSION Boolean specifying if the Transaction Extension should be activated false

After reviewing the settings, build and deploy:

npm install
npm run build
npm run deploy

This will create a CloudFormation stack in the us-west-2 region called stac-server-dev. To change the region or the stage name (from dev) provide arguments to the deploy command (note the additional -- in the command, required by npm to provide arguments):

npm run deploy -- --stage mystage --region eu-central-1

Once deployed, there are a few steps to configure Elasticsearch.

Elasticsearch Configuration

Disable automatic index creation

It is recommended to disable the automatic index creation. This prevents the situation where a group of Items are bulk indexed before the Collection in which they are contained has been created, and an Elasticsearch index is created without the appropriate mappings.

This requires installing the requests, requests_aws4auth, and boto3 python libraries, for example, with:

pip install requests requests_aws4auth boto3

Then putting this code into a python file an running it:

from requests_aws4auth import AWS4Auth
import boto3
import requests

host = ''
path = '/_cluster/settings'
region = 'us-west-2'

credentials = boto3.Session().get_credentials()
awsauth = AWS4Auth(credentials.access_key, credentials.secret_key, region, 'es', session_token=credentials.token)

r = requests.put(
    "persistent": {
      "action.auto_create_index": "false"


Create collection index

The collection index must be created, which stores the metadata about each Collection. Invoke the stac-server-<stage>-ingest Lambda function with a payload of:

  "create_indices": true

This can be done with the AWS CLI Version 2. (The final - parameter pipes the output to stdout).

aws lambda invoke \
  --function-name stac-server-dev-ingest \
  --cli-binary-format raw-in-base64-out \
  --payload '{ "create_indices": true }' \

Stac-server is now ready to ingest data!

Proxying Stac-server through CloudFront

The API Gateway URL associated with the deployed stac-server instance may not be the URL that you ultimately wish to expose to your API users. AWS CloudFront can be used to proxy to a more human readable URL. In order to accomplish this:

  1. Create a new CloudFront distribution (or use an existing distribution).

  2. Set the origin to the Gateway API URL (obtain in the stage view of the deployed stac-server). The URL is in the form <##abcde>

  3. Set the origin path to the deployed stage name prepended with a /, (e.g., /dev or /prod).

  4. Under behaviors, add a new behavior for the desired URL endpoint or subdomain (e.g., /api or /v0.4.0).

  5. Set the 'Origin and origin groups to the URL defined above ('<##abcde>').

  6. Set Viewer to HTTPS only and Allowed HTTP Methods to 'GET, HEAD, OPTIONS, PUT, POST, PATCH, DELETE'.

  7. Set the Cache Policy to a custom policy that forwards query strings. If one simply disables caching, CloudFront strips the query strings.

  8. Optionally, define a LambdaEdge to perform a URL rewrite. This is necessary if your API URL is appended to the root URL (e.g., The lambda must rewrite the URL to remove the /api. For example:

    from re import sub
    def lambda_handler(event, context):
        request = event['Records'][0]['cf']['request']
        uri = request["uri"]
        if uri in ["/", "/index.html"]:
            response = {
                "status": 302,
                "statusDescription": "Found",
                "headers": {
                    "location": [{
                        "key": "Location",
                        "value": "/api/"
            return response
        request["uri"] = sub("^/api", "/", uri)
        return request

Locking down transaction endpoints

If you wanted to deploy STAC Server in a way which ensures certain endpoints have restricted access but others don't, you can deploy it into a VPC and add conditions that allow only certain IP addresses to access certain endpoints. Once you deploy STAC Server into a VPC, you can modify the Resource Policy of the API Gateway endpoint that gets deployed to restrict access to certain endpoints. Here is a hypothetical example. Assume that the account into which STAC Server is deployed is numbered 1234-5678-9123, the API ID is ab1c23def, and the region in which it is deployed is us-west-2. You might want to give the general public access to use any GET or POST endpoints with the API such as the "/search" endpoint, but lock down access to the transaction endpoints (see to only allow certain IP addresses to access them. These IP addresses can be, for example:,, and In order to do this, you can impose a condition on the API Gateway that only allows API transactions such as adding, updating, and deleting STAC items from the whitelisted endpoints. For example, here is a Resource Policy containing two statements that allow this to happen:

    "Version": "2012-10-17",
    "Statement": [
            "Effect": "Allow",
            "Principal": "*",
            "Action": "execute-api:Invoke",
            "Resource": [
            "Effect": "Allow",
            "Principal": "*",
            "Action": "execute-api:Invoke",
            "Resource": [
            "Condition": {
                "IpAddress": {
                    "aws:sourceIp": [

The first statement in the Resource Policy above grants access to STAC API endpoints for use in general operations like searching, and the second statement restricts access to the Transaction endpoints to a set of source IP addresses. According to this policy, POST, PUT, PATCH, and DELETE operations on items within collections are only allowed if the request originates from the IP addresses,, or The second statement can also be written in another manner, denying access to the Transaction endpoints for all addresses that don’t match a set of source IP addresses. This is shown below.

        "Effect": "Deny",
        "Principal": "*",
        "Action": "execute-api:Invoke",
        "Resource": [
        "Condition": {
            "NotIpAddress": {
                "aws:sourceIp": [

Ingesting Data

STAC Collections and Items are ingested by the ingest Lambda function, however this Lambda is not invoked directly by a user, it consumes records from the stac-server-<stage>-queue SQS. To add STAC Items or Collections to the queue, publish them to the SNS Topic stac-server-<stage>-ingest.

STAC Collections must be ingested before Items that belong to that Collection. Items should have the collection field populated with the ID of an existing Collection. If an Item is ingested before ingestion of the Collection it contains, ingestion will either fail (in the case of a single Item ingest) or if auto-creation of indexes is enabled (default) and multiple Items are ingested in bulk, the auto-created index will have incorrect mappings.

If a collection or item is ingested, and an item with that id already exists in STAC, the new item will completely replace the old item.

Ingesting large items

There is a 256 KB limit on the size of SQS messages. Larger items can by publishing a message to the stac-server-<stage>-ingest SNS topic in with the format:

  "href": "s3://source-bucket/source-key"

The s3://, http://, and https:// protocols are supported for remote ingest.

Subscribing to SNS Topics

Stac-server can also be subscribed to SNS Topics that publish complete STAC Items as their message. This provides a way to keep stac-server up to date with new data. Use the AWS Lambda console for the function stac-server-<stage>-subscibe-to-sns to subscribe to an SNS Topic for which you have the full ARN and permission to subscribe to. This could be an SNS Topic you created yourself to publish STAC records to, or a publicly available one, such as for Sentinel.

Note, that adding the subscription via the topic page does not seem to work. Instead, add a trigger on Lambda edit page.

Ingest Errors

Errors that occur during ingest will end up in the dead letter processing queue, where they are processed by the stac-server-<stage>-failed-ingest Lambda function. Currently all the failed-ingest Lambda does is log the error, see the CloudWatch log /aws/lambda/stac-server-<stage>-failed-ingest for errors.

Pre- and Post-Hooks

Stac-server supports two hooks into the request process: a pre-hook and a post-hook. These are each lambda functions which, if configured, will be invoked by stac-server. It is assumed that the stac-server lambda has been granted permission to invoke these lambda functions, if configured.


If the stac-server is deployed with the PRE_HOOK environment variable set to the name of a lambda function, then that function will be called as the pre-hook.

The event passed into the pre-hook lambda will be an instance of an API Gateway Proxy Event.

If the return value from the pre-hook lambda is an instance of an API Gateway Proxy Result, then that response will immediately be returned to the client.

If the return value of the pre-hook lambda is an instance of an API Gateway Proxy Event, then that event will be passed along to stac-server.

If the pre-hook lambda throws an exception, an internal server error will be returned to the client.


If the stac-server is deployed with the POST_HOOK environment variable set to the name of a lambda function, then that function will be called as the post-hook.

The event passed into the post-hook labmda will be the response from the stac-server, and will be an instance of an API Gateway Proxy Result.

The return value of the post-hook lambda must be an instance of an API Gateway Proxy Result.

If the post-hook lambda throws an exception, an internal server error will be returned to the client.

Request Flow

  client -- APIGatewayProxyEvent --&gt; pre-hook
  pre-hook[pre-hook lambda]
  pre-hook -- APIGatewayProxyResult --&gt; client
  pre-hook -- APIGatewayProxyEvent --&gt; stac-server
  post-hook[post-hook lambda]
  stac-server -- APIGatewayProxyResult --&gt; post-hook
  post-hook -- APIGatewayProxyResult --&gt; client


Lambda payloads and responses must be less than 6 MB. A larger payload will result in an internal server error being returned to the client.

The outputs of the pre- and post-hooks are validated and, if they don't comply with the defined schemas, an internal server error will be returned to the client. Information about the invalid event, as well as details about the parsing errors, will be logged to CloudWatch.


Install NVM to manage your Node.js environment.

# uses version in .nvmrc
nvm install
nvm use

The package-lock.json was built with npm 8.5.0, so use at least this version.

There are several useful npm commands available to use locally:

# Install dependencies in package.json
npm install

# Run the build command in each of the packages (runs webpack)
npm run build

# Run ESLint
npm run lint

# To run tests for all packages
npm run test

# To build API docs from the api spec
npm run build-api-docs # TODO: this fails

Running Locally

Before the API can be run, Elasticsearch and Localstack need to be running. There is a docker-compose.yml file to simplify running Elasticsearch locally:

docker-compose up -d

The API can then be run with:

npm run serve

Connect to the server on http://localhost:3000/

Other configurations can be passed as shell environment variables, e.g.,

export ES_HOST=''
npm run serve

Running Unit Tests

stac-server uses ava to execute tests.

# alias to run unit tests
npm test

# run unit tests in tests directory
npm run test:unit

# run unit tests with coverage
npm run test:coverage

# run tests from a single test file whose titles match 'foobar*'
npx ava tests/test-es.js --match='foobar*'

Running System and Integration Tests

The System and Integration tests use an Elasticsearch server running in Docker and a local instance of the API.

When the system tests run, they:

  1. Wait for Elasticsearch to be available
  2. Delete all indices from Elasticsearch
  3. Start an instance of the API. That API will be available at http://localhost:3000/dev/
  4. Wait for the API to be available
  5. Run the system tests in ./tests/system/test-*.js
  6. Stop the API

Before running the system tests, make sure to start Elasticsearch using:

docker-compose up -d

Running these tests requires the timeout utility is installed. On Linux, this is probably already installed, and on macOS it can be installed with brew install coreutils.

Once Elasticsearch has been started, run the system tests:

npm run test:system

A subset of system tests may be run by providing a glob matching the test files to run:

npm run test:system test-api-item-*

Run the integration tests (Note: currently none exist):

npm run test:integration

Updating the OpenAPI specification

The OpenAPI specification is served by the endpoint /api.

This file is location in src/lambdas/api/openapi.yaml.

When the API is updated to a new STAC API release, this file must be updated. To update it, first install yq, then run:


This script combines all of the STAC API OpenAPI definitions for each conformance class into one file.

Next, edit that file to make it specific to this server. For example:

  • edit to change the title from STAC API - Item Search to just STAC API
  • remove all of the Filter Extension references
  • Fix each endpoint, especially the Landing Page defintion, which gets duplicated
  • Add definitions for each tag

To validate the resulting OpenAPI file, run

npm run check-openapi

and fix any errors or warnings.


stac-server was forked from sat-api. Stac-server is for STAC versions 0.9.0+, while sat-api exists for versions of STAC prior to 0.9.0.