As part of the Geoinformatics initiative and the GEON project researchers at Arizona State University (ASU) and the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) have constructed an integrated data system focusing on the Transition Zone between the Colorado Plateau and the Basin and Range Province, located primarily in Arizona and New Mexico, a region of great interest to the Earth Science community. The region is of fundamental significance if we are to understand the geologic evolution of Southwestern North America and to address practical problems such as the effects of urbanization and dwindling water resources. Thus, this region is an excellent place to construct a prototype data system for Earth Science investigations. The system, termed the SWGEONET, consists of a data repository and specific software tools to exploit and model the contained data.
An important and core capability of the SWGEONET system is the ability to perform “on-the-fly” processing of ASTER imagery from the internet-based interface. The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) is a NASA satellite imaging system that provides synoptic remotely sensed coverage of the earth’s surface. Standard ASTER data products from NASA are difficult to process for potential users who are not well versed in image processing or do not have access to the appropriate software. SWGEONET provides a web-based system that allows a user to identify ASTER scenes of interest and then process them to produce images of broad potential use. These output files are useful at a number of levels of sophistication varying from low level presentation (.jpg) to incorporation into higher level Geographic Information Systems (full resolution and rectified GEOTIFF).