7.15. Data Security

GeoMesa supports the concept of visibility labels on each piece of data, which can be used to govern which users can see which records. Visibilities were originally part of Apache Accumulo, and were later adopted by Apache HBase. GeoMesa supports visibilities across all provided data stores, using native methods where possible or implicit filtering where not natively supported.

See the Apache Accumulo documentation for an overview of the concepts involved.

7.15.1. Writing Visibility Labels

Visibility labels are simple Boolean expressions based on a set of arbitrary tags. For example, you may define two tags, admin and user. An expression could be admin, user, admin&user, or admin|user, depending on how you want to grant access to your data. For more complex expressions, parentheses can be used for operation order.


See Configuring Required Visibilities to enforce visibility labels on all writes.

Visibility labels can be written in two different ways, either at the level of each feature, or at the level of each attribute in a feature. Feature Level Visibilities

Visibilities can be set on individual features using the simple feature user data:

import org.locationtech.geomesa.security.SecurityUtils;

SecurityUtils.setFeatureVisibility(feature, "admin&user")
// or, equivalently:
feature.getUserData().put("geomesa.feature.visibility", "admin&user"); Attribute-Level Visibilities


Attribute-level visibilities are currently only implemented for the Accumulo data store.

For more advanced use cases, visibilities can be set at the attribute level. Attribute-level visibilities must be enabled when creating your simple feature type by setting the appropriate user data value:

sft.getUserData().put("geomesa.visibility.level", "attribute");

When writing each feature, the per-attribute visibilities must be set in a comma-delimited string in the user data. Each attribute must have a corresponding value in the delimited string, otherwise an error will be thrown.

For example, if your feature type has four attributes:

import org.locationtech.geomesa.security.SecurityUtils;

SecurityUtils.setFeatureVisibility(feature, "admin,user,admin,user")
// or, equivalently:
feature.getUserData().put("geomesa.feature.visibility", "admin,user,admin,user");

7.15.2. Reading Visibility Labels

When reading back data, GeoMesa supports the concept of authorizations to determine who can see what. Authorizations are a list of tags, corresponding to the visibility label tags being used. For example, a regular user might have an authorization of user, while an admin user might have an authorization of admin,user. Authorizations are simple string matches. They can be thought of as roles, although there is no hierarchy.

When running a query, GeoMesa supports a pluggable service provider interface for determining which authorizations to use. Since different environments have different security architectures, there is no default implementation available; users must provide their own service provider.

Providers must implement the following interface:

package org.locationtech.geomesa.security;

public interface AuthorizationsProvider {

     * Gets the authorizations for the current context. This may change over time
     * (e.g. in a multi-user environment), so the result should not be cached.
     * @return authorizations
    List<String> getAuthorizations();

     * Configures this instance with parameters passed into the DataStoreFinder
     * @param params parameters
    void configure(Map<String, ?> params);

When a GeoMesa data store is instantiated, it will scan for available service providers via Java SPI. Third-party implementations can be enabled by placing them on the classpath and including a special service descriptor file. See the Oracle Javadoc for details on implementing a service provider.

The GeoMesa data store will call configure() on the AuthorizationsProvider implementation, passing in the parameter map from the call to DataStoreFinder.getDataStore(Map params). This allows the AuthorizationsProvider to configure itself based on the environment.

To ensure that the correct AuthorizationsProvider is used, GeoMesa will throw an exception if multiple third-party service providers are found on the classpath. In this scenario, the particular service provider class to use can be specified by the following system property:

// equivalent to "geomesa.auth.provider.impl"

For simple scenarios, the set of authorizations to apply to all queries can be specified when creating the GeoMesa data store by using the geomesa.security.auths configuration parameter. This will use a default AuthorizationsProvider implementation provided by GeoMesa.

// create a map containing initialization data for the GeoMesa data store
Map<String, String> configuration = ...
configuration.put("geomesa.security.auths", "user,admin");
DataStore dataStore = DataStoreFinder.getDataStore(configuration);


For HBase and Accumulo, which support native visibilities, the authorizations of the underlying connection will be used if nothing else is configured. This is convenient for testing, but is not a recommended approach for a production system.

In addition, please note that the authorizations used in any scenario cannot exceed the authorizations of the underlying Accumulo or HBase connection.

For examples on implementing an AuthorizationsProvider see the Security tutorials.