Saturday, August 17, 2013

Our role in digitizing the Earth

The cover for the September issue of EARTH magazine proclaims "Geoscience Embraces BIG DATA" with a feature article inside on "Digitizing Earth" [right].

AZGS is showcased for our roles in the DOE-funded National Geothermal Data System ("One of the most successful programs to date...") and the NSF EarthCube initiative.

We are managing the largest of the four NGDS projects on behalf of the Association of American State Geologists, where we have set up distributed data nodes in most of the Geological Surveys across the country with data coming into this federated system from all 50 states.   We have over 5 million records online currently and expect that number to increase dramatically by year end.

The EarthCube program is envisioned as transforming the way geosciences are practiced,  using computer and information sciences to create a cyber-infrastructure.   AZGS is managing the EarthCube Governance Framework, the website, and leading the community engagement effort.

We just held a two-day workshop here in Tucson at the wonderful Hacienda del Sol resort, where about 30 leaders in the geosciences (Earth, atmosphere, oceans, and polar) and computer sciences gathered to share results of workshops they have organized over the past  9 months in their disciplines to consider their needs and requirements in cyberinfrastructure.

My conclusion is that there is broad consensus on what the different scientific communities want, and a lot of commonalities about the design concepts and functionalities.  This augurs well for the plans we are formulating to organize the communities and seek consensus on governance and system architecture.

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