A testing and reporting framework has been deployed in GEON to monitor various system resources, including LiDAR application resources. The Inca test harness and reporting framework is a generic system for the automated testing, data collection, verification and monitoring of service agreements, which was originally developed for use in the TeraGrid. Inca includes mechanisms to schedule the execution of information gathering scripts and to collect, archive, publish, and display data. Inca is used in the TeraGrid to verify software installations, monitor service availability, and collect performance data.
The Inca framework runs periodically to check the “liveness” of the various software components and reports failures, if any. A display of the real time status of the software components of the LiDAR application will shortly be available from the LiDAR portlet within the GEON portal. Inca is also being used in GEON to perform software stack validation and verification on all Point of Presence (PoP) nodes in the GEON grid (for details please see http://inca-geon.sdsc.edu). We plan to extend the use of Inca for monitoring many of the other software components and resources deployed in GEON.
For more information on Inca, please visit: http://inca.sdsc.edu.
Faculty from the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and the Library departments at Purdue University partnered to offer a Geoinformatics course in Spring 2008 to teach the next generation of scientists about the stores of data available for interdisciplinary geoscience; the power and limitations of networked tools and data structures; and the relevance of these tools to their current and future work. Course instructors intended the course to fit somewhere within that hotspot between cyberinfrastructure, the semantic web and data futures, and rapidly-developing, increasingly geospatially-savvy technologies. The idea was to push the “workforce” component of the NSF plan (“Cyberinfrastructure Vision for 21st Century Discovery”, http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2007/nsf0728/index.jsp) into the front lines and begin instilling in students an awareness and interest in developing geoscience data and information practices.
An emphasis was placed throughout the course on the importance of good “data hygiene”. Students were encouraged to realize through hands-on activities why good data habits are critical to the agility and usability of scientific data and, by extension, their professional success in the sciences. As such, students followed a research project from the data gathering stage, through geospatial visualization and incorporation of external data sets, analysis of the combined data, comparison of results with data models, and, finally, curation of their data. The work culminated in its deposition into the GEON Portal where project data could be shared with and peer reviewed by classmates. The GEON Portal was posited several times throughout the course as a model for data sharing, integration, distributed services, and ultimately for research dissemination.
Libraries faculty were first introduced to the GEON Portal as attendees of the 2007 Cyberinfrastructure Summer Institute for Geoscientists held at the San Diego Supercomputer Center.
The EarthScope Data Portal team—consisting of members from the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), Incorporated Research Institution for Seismology (IRIS), University NAVSTAR Consortium (UNAVCO) and International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP)—successfully released the beta version of the EarthScope Data Portal (ESDP) on June 4th. This release fixes some of the problems encountered in the Alpha version as well as provides additional functionality for data access and download.
The goal of the EarthScope Data Portal is to provide a single point of access to discover and download EarthScope data from the United States Seismic Array (USArray), Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO) and San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth (SAFOD) experiments. These data are stored in archives at IRIS, UNAVCO, and ICDP, respectively. The beta portal is hosted at the San Diego Supercomputer Center and can be accessed at http://es-portal.geongrid.org. The next major milestone for the project is a production release by October 2008.
The past several years have seen a dramatic increase in the calls for universities and the education community to re-think undergraduate education and create opportunities that prepare students to become effective global professionals. The key motivator for these calls is the recognized need to have a research and industrial workforce that can work collaboratively across cultures and disciplines to address major challenges and to compete in a global marketplace.
In parallel, the capacity of computing, information, and communication technology “has crossed thresholds that now make possible a comprehensive ‘cyberinfrastructure’ on which to build new types of scientific and engineering knowledge environments and organization. The Pacific Rim Experiences for Undergraduates (PRIME, prime.ucsd.edu) program addresses the need for students to have both a substantive international and cultural experience and the opportunity to actively use or develop the future cyberinfrastructure. The overarching goals of PRIME are to: develop an integrated and sustainable undergraduate international research program that can serve as a model for undergraduate education in the 21st Century at a world-class research university; prepare students to become effective global professionals and citizens; and give students a head-start on careers in science and technology research.
PRIME addresses the need and is a roadmap describing the know-how for providing all students at the undergraduate level with the opportunity to participate in an international research and cultural experience. Features of the PRIME student experiences include the conduct, presentation, and dissemination of research; immersion in an international host site as an apprentice researcher; training for cultural awareness; learning to become an effective member of an international research team. Several students have published papers, and their research experiences helped them decide on their professional path. All students self-report tremendous gains in personal development due to having lived abroad, in an unfamiliar environment.
PRIME is a three year project, funded primarily by National Science Foundation (Award OISE 0710726) to the University of California San Diego, with additional support from California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, and involves collaborations with the Computer Network Information Center, Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing, China; Monash University, Melbourne, Australia; National Center for High-performance Computing, National Applied Research Laboratory, Hsinchu, Taiwan; Osaka University, Osaka Japan; and new in 2008 University of Auckland, Auckland New Zealand; University Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia; and University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand.
Beginning next year, the PRIME program will be extended to the University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, India, in collaboration with GEON. The emphasis for students going to India will be in the areas of geoscience and computer science
GEON team members Chris Crosby (SDSC) and Ramon Arrowsmith (ASU), with assistance from David Phillips (UNAVCO), ran a short course at Arizona State University entitled: “Processing and Analysis of GeoEarthScope and Other Community LiDAR Topography Datasets”. This course was held April 30-May 1st, as part of the 2008 UNAVCO Short Course Series (http://unavco.org/edu_outreach/shortcourses.html). The course was taught by GEON team members due to the project’s role as the distribution pathway for recently acquired and forthcoming LiDAR topography, acquired as part of the UNAVCO-managed GeoEarthScope Project. The course was attended by 27 earth scientists including researchers, graduate students, geotechnical and environmental consultants, and government agency representatives. Through a combination of lectures and hands-on tutorials, topics covered during the course included: an introduction to LiDAR technology, data acquisition, error sources, and common data formats; LiDAR data access; software and hardware considerations for working with LiDAR data; LiDAR data processing (point cloud and gridded products); and examples of how to apply these data to tectonics and surface processes research. More information on the short course, as well as lectures, tutorials and handouts can be found at http://unavco.org/edu_outreach/uscs/2008/LiDAR_Course_2008.html.
GEON project member Sandeep Chandra (SDSC) participated in the NSF sponsored Cyberinfrastructure for Environmental Observations, Analysis, and Forecasting Workshop, held in Boulder, Colorado May 5 - 7, representing GEONA as well as the Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring Network (TEAM) project. The workshop was hosted by the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
The goal of the workshop was to assist the NSF in considering how it might effectively craft programs to support the creation and use of new cyberinfrastructure capabilities to support environmental research and education over the next decade. This workshop was intended as an initial step in identifying key issues and means of addressing them and identifying opportunities through stimulating a constructive dialogue among scientists and educators from different environmental communities, and between environmental scientists and information scientists and technologists.
The product of the workshop will be a white paper that examines opportunities for applying cyberinfrastructure in environmental research and education, identifies significant issues, and provides a roadmap for addressing key questions. The workshop included breakout sessions to discuss many cyberinfrastructure and organizational challenges including Technology Challenges, Instruments and Measurements, Data Processing, Assimilation, and Archiving Information, Distribution and Accessibility, Organizational Challenges and Standards Challenges. Further information on this workshop is available at http://www.cyberobservatories.net/events/workshops/20080505/
Chris Crosby (SDSC) attended two USGS workshops during May, to discuss GEON’s activities related to LiDAR topography. At the annual USGS GIS User’s Workshop, at the USGS in Golden Colorado, Crosby was invited to present in a session entitled “LiDAR Solutions” devoted to LiDAR software and processing resources. During the 1-hour presentation, Crosby demonstrated the GEON LiDAR System and discussed GEON’s ongoing work to provide access to community LiDAR topography. The following week at the USGS in Reston, VA, Crosby presented a talk entitled “Enabling Access to Community LiDAR Topography” at the 2nd National LiDAR Initiative Meeting. The National LiDAR Initiative is a proposal being led by the USGS to acquire high-resolution topography across the entire United States using LiDAR. Crosby’s talk focused on how Cyberinfrastructure, such as that being developed by GEON, could be used to enable access to a national LiDAR dataset.