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:
- Yolanda Gil, University of Southern California: EarthCube building blocks: Software stewardship for the geosciences
- Kerstin Lehnert, Columbia University, Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory: EarthCube RCN: CP4: Collaboration and cyberinfrastructure for paleogeosciences
- Matty Mookerjee, Sonoma State University: EC3: Earth-centered communication for cyberinfrastructure: Challenges of field data collection, management, and integration
- Wonsuck Kim, University of Texas at Austin: RCN: Building a Sediment Experimentalist Network (SEN)
- Tim Ahern, Integrated Research Institutions for Seismology: EarthCube building blocks: Deploying web services across multiple geoscience domains
- Christopher Re, Stanford University: EarthCube building blocks: A cognitive computer infrastructure for geoscience
- David Maidment, University of Texas at Austin: EarthCube building blocks: Integrating discrete and continuous data
- Siri-Johda Khalsa, University of Colorado: EarthCube building blocks: A broker framework for next generation geoscience (BCube)
- Scott Peckham, University of Colorado: EarthCube building blocks: Earth system bridge: Spanning scientific communities with interoperable modeling frameworks
- Ilya Zaslasky, University of California, San Diego: EarthCube building blocks: Community inventory of EarthCube Resources for Geoscience Interoperability (CINERGI)
- David Fulkner, Open Source Project for Network Data Access Protocols: EarthCube building blocks: Specifying and implementing ODSIP, A data-service invocation protocol
- Thomas Narock, University of Maryland, Baltimore County: EAGER: Collaborative research: EarthCube building blocks, leveraging semantics and linked data for geoscience data sharing and discovery
- Lee Allison, University of Arizona: EarthCube test enterprise Governance: An agile approach