GEON Newsletter || April/May 2006
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Interactive Search of Fossil and Sedimentary Databases Available on GEON Portal

Fossil and Sedimentary Data, mapped Allister Rees and Javier Espinosa, GEON team members at the University of Arizona, have completed the latest phase of their fossil and sedimentary databases integration project. Users can now search via interactive maps as well as text, and the results viewed on paleomaps or as downloadable tables. These databases can be accessed via the GEON portal, as well as via Allister’s Paleobiology Project site: http://geongrid.geo.arizona.edu:8080/desmapgeon/homepage.jsp

Allister demonstrated this new capabilityt during a half-day workshop that he taught in April on “Web-based Databases and Paleobiogeography” at a 4-day conference in paleogeography and biodivesity at the University of Cambridge. He also discussed potential GEON collaborative projects and exchanges with members of the UK National Institute for Environmental eScience.

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StrataPlot - A Graphic Correlation Tool

StrataPlot The Energy & Geoscience Institute (EGI) at the University of Utah has designed and developed a software application, StrataPlot, for the storage, retrieval, and graphing of biostratigraphic datums. StrataPlot is a stand-alone, Windows-based application that employs the graphic correlation procedure first described by Shaw (1964). The major output of this software consists of a graph that displays the first and last stratigraphic occurrences of fossil species that are in common between an analyzed section and a composite-stratigraphical data base representing composite stratigraphic ranges from hundreds or thousands of individual localities. StrataPlot is a dynamic system that continually refines its composite standards as the user adds more stratigraphic information. StrataPlot provides a large number of user-friendly, "on-screen" operations that greatly improve the efficiency of the interpretation process. Data from 2000 research localities that were studied by Amoco Exploration and later donated to EGI in 1999 by BP were loaded in StrataPlot's database. StrataPlot application is currently being tested by a large number of general geologists and biostratigraphers from either academia or industry. They represent countries such as: Australia, Brazil, Czech Republic, France, Malaysia, Romania, Russia, United Kingdom, and USA.

It is expected that StrataPlot will be added to GEON’s tool stack and thus made available to the community during the fall of the current year.

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Geoinformatics 2006 Meeting a Success

Geoinformatics 2006 The Geoinformatics 2006 meeting, held May 10-12 at the USGS National Center in Reston, VA brought together more than 200 scientists and students from around the world to discuss research and tools being developed to provide a common cyberinfrastructure for data management and accessibility for a broad spectrum of natural science data. This meeting included two full days of speakers, as well as posters and demo sessions, and provided an invaluable arena for the exchange of ideas and advancements in the area of cyberinfrastructure for the geosciences.

The feedback received from attendees has been extremely positive, as exemplified by an email from Emmanuel Olagunju, a graduate student studying GIS at Linkoping University in Sweden. Emmanuel received student travel support made possible via funding from NSF, and said “I really want to say a BIG THANK YOU to you and the other guys for the opportunity given to me to attend the Geoinformatic 2006 conference. I must confess that my mind was blown open with new ideas and information and I have not remained the same again. I must also say I had a great time in the United States and it was a lifetime experience for me.”

The meeting was organized and co-hosted by GEON and the U.S. Geological Survey, and sponsored by the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (CalIT2) at the University of California, San Diego; the San Diego Supercomputer Center; ESRI; AGU; GSA; and NASA.

All oral presentations were webcast live throughout and an archive of these, along with abstracts and posters presented, are available online at http://www.geongrid.org/geoinformatics2006/agenda.html.

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Cyberinfrastucture Summer Institute to be Held in August 2006

CSIG 2006 GEON is pleased to announced that it will again offer the “Cyberinfrastructure Summer Institute for Geoscientists” (CSIG) in August 2006. This week-long Institute will be held at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, University of California, San Diego, from August 14-18th. CSIG is designed to introduce geoscientists to commonly-used as well as emergent information technology (IT) tools. Topics covered include Web Services, Workflows, Knowledge Representations, and Geographic Information Systems.

CSIG 2006 is made possible through funding support from the National Science Foundation. All local expenses (registration and course-related fees, on-campus shared accomodations, and meals) are provided to CSIG 2006 participants at no expense. Transportation to/from this Institute is the responsibility of individual attendees.

The full agenda for this year’s Institute, along with further details and an online Registration form may be found at http://www.geongrid.org/CSIG06/

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GEON on the Teragrid Science Gateway

TeraGrid GEON, via its allocation on the Teragrid, has been designated one of the 10 initial projects established as a “science gateway”. A common trait of science gateways is that they may serve as a "metaportal," a community portal that brings a broad range of new services and applications to the community – as the GEON portal does. Through this science gateway, increased community interaction occurs with the TeraGrid through the various service interfaces that TeraGrid provides. Further information on Science Gateways on the Teragrid may be found at: http://www.teragrid.org/programs/sci_gateways/

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GEON Ground-based Data Acquisition Workshop Held at Synthesis Center, UCSD

GEON Ground-based Data Acquisition Workshop Perhaps the greatest obstacle to building an integrated earth science Cyberinfrastructure is the disconnect between collecting field data and constructing an associated digital database. This was recognized as a major issue by participants of the Integrated Solid Earth Science Cyberinfrastructure workshop held at the University of Kansas in 2003, and led to the Workshop to Identify Ground-Based Digital Acquisition, Analysis, and Visualization Needs of the Geological Science Community held in early April, 2006. The two-day workshop, sponsored jointly by the National Science Foundation and GEON (www.geongrid.org), convened at the Synthesis Center on the campus of the University of California, San Diego. Twenty eight participants with backgrounds in a broad range of disciplines from institutions in the United States were joined by representatives from Canada, the United Kingdom, and the Peoples Republic of China to explore the motivations and issues surrounding digital acquisition, analysis, and visualization through a series of demonstrations, breakout sessions, and plenary discussions.

An interim workshop report can be found at: http://www.geongrid.org/workshops/dataacq2006/Workshop_GEON-summary.doc

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GEON Usability Workshop

GEON Portal Usability Workshop On April 4 and 5 a group of invited participants attended the first GEON Usability workshop held at the San Diego Supercomputer Center on the UCSD campus. A total of 10 scientists representing a variety of groups in the geoscience community plus several members of the GEON IT development team participated in the discussions and evaluated available GEON tools from a user point of view. The workshop was aimed at testing the usability of many of the already developed GEON resources including its web site, portal account request mechanisms and login, GEONSearch, resource contribution, GEON mapping interface, GEON integration cart, and GEON tools like SYNSEIS, PGAP, and GLW. The full workshop report is now available (in PDF format) at http://www.geongrid.org/workshops/usability2006/.

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"Information Exchange from Distributed Data Systems" Workshop Report Online

Geon Data Workshop The full/final workshop report from the “Information Exchange from Distributed Data Systems”, that was facilitated by GEON PI Chuck Meertens (UNAVCO) to address recent developments in the area of data and metadata interoperability, and to explore areas of common ground and potential collaboration, is now available online at http://www.unavco.org/staff/chuckm/geondata.html.

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GEON Beta Portal Released

GEON Portal In an ongoing effort to continuously improve the usability of the GEON portal, the GEON software team will release beta versions of the GEON Grid Portal every 4 months. A Beta version will be available for testing by project Principal Investigators and a few selected members of the community. The new production release will then be made available for public use after 1-2 months of testing and bug fixes. The current beta release includes several new features, such as a new "basic" GEONsearch, registration of Excel files, registration of NetCDF files, and a new look for the Portal Home Page.

Many thanks to community members who participated in the GEON Portal Usability workshop. The valuable feedback that we received led to many of the features in the current release, and under development. The new features of the Portal were demonstrated at the GEON booth at Geoinformatics 2006, and will be broadly announced as they become available in the future.

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GEON LiDAR Workflow (GLW) Project

LiDAR Workflow Presented at "100th Anniversary Earthquake Conference"

Point Return Density GEON Team members Ramon Arrowsmith (PI), and Chris Crosby, from Arizona State University, attended and gave presentations at the “100th Anniversary Earthquake Conference Commemorating the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake” (http://www.1906eqconf.org/). These presentations featured the GEON LiDAR workflow and emphasized those tools that have been developed for investigating the topographic signature of active faulting along the San Andreas Fault in California. These presentations were titled “Utilization of LiDAR/ALSM Point Cloud Data for Earquake Geology and Tectonic Geomorphic Mapping, Analysis, and Visualization” and “New Looks at Active Faults: Tectonic Geomorphology using Airborne Laser Swatch Mapping (ALSM)”.

GEON-Based LiDAR Paper Published

LiDAR Paper Published The GEON-based LiDAR paper entitled "A Three Tier Architecture for LiDAR Interpolation and Analysis" was published in "Lecture Notes in Computer Science" (http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/11758532_123).

This paper was written by GEON team members collaborating between Arizona State University and the San Diego Supercomputer Center at UCSD, and is being presented at the First International Workshop on Workflow Systems in e-Science in the UK (http://www.iccs-meeting.org/iccs2006/papers/schedule.php?track=W21).

This paper discusses how emerging grid technologies enable solving scientific problems that involve large datasets and complex analyses.

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Randy Keller Receives Lifetime Achievement Award from UTEP

Randy Keller Randy Keller, GEON PI (formerly from UTEP, currently relocating to the University of Oklahoma), was recognized for his lifetime achievement in securing extramural funding on behalf of the University of Texas at El Paso during his 30 years of service in the department of Geological Sciences. The award was presented by Dr. Roberto Osegueda, Vice Provost for Research, and endorsed by Dr. Diana Natalicio, President of UTEP.

Since the time electronic records began being kept by the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects at UTEP, in 1990, Dr. Keller has participated in 158 proposals as a principal or co-principal investigator, having been successful in securing 82 awards for more than $14 million in funding.

He also has an enviable 50 percent lifetime success rate in getting proposals funded. Dr. Osequeda indated that “What is most impressive about Dr. Keller is that even after announcing his retirement, he has continued writing proposals and securing funding to maintain his scholarly collaboration with his friends at UTEP”. Randy has been instrumental in building a national reputation for Geological Sciences at during his 30 years at UTEP, and is currently relocating to Norman Oklahoma to lead a build-up in the geophysics program at the University of Oklahoma

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NSF This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0225673 (GEON). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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