Imagine a world with unlimited access to scientific data in any field, where researchers can plot data from any source and visualize it any way they'd like, and where they can model results and explore ideas from a desktop, a lab or the field.
EarthCube aims to make that vision a reality.
EarthCube is a National Science Foundation (NSF) effort to create a data and knowledge management system for geosciences in the 21st century.
Its objective is to develop new ways of understanding and predicting the Earth system, from the sun to the center of the Earth.
To foster a dialog among geo-, bio- and cyberscientists to create an EarthCube framework, NSF has made 13 new awards totalling $14.5 million.
The effort is sponsored by NSF's Directorate for Geosciences along with its Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering.
"Pushing the frontiers of the geosciences requires innovative ways to connect and share data and information," says Roger Wakimoto, NSF assistant director for Geosciences.
"As the internet revolutionized the way we lead our daily lives, scientists are searching for technologies that will advance the ability to discover, collaborate and conduct research at all levels.
"Through EarthCube, NSF has made investments in these technologies and the infrastructure that will be the foundation of addressing challenges in studying the Earth system."
Scientists who specialize in governance; data discovery, mining and access; workflows and other fields are participating.
We're in an era when access to information and data is often less a problem than the ability to efficiently process and use it, geoscientists say.
In some cases, the problem is caused by huge datasets that are difficult to store, transfer or analyze.
In other cases, the challenge is discovering and aggregating relevant data widely disseminated in many locations and formats, such as in the tables, text and figures of published papers, government agency reports, spreadsheets and websites.
A central EarthCube goal is establishing a computing system that can aid in finding, extracting and aggregating data, as well as in processing, summarizing and synthesizing those data in ways that help geoscientists better understand and model Earth systems.
2013 NSF EarthCube Awards:
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