GEON Newsletter || June 2006
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New version of GEON Portal to be released in July

Geon Portal nodes A new version of the GEON Portal is currently under beta testing and is planned for release in July, 2006. The beta version is accessible at It incorporates significant new functionality, including a “simple GEON search” feature—the current GEONSearch will be re-labelled as “advanced search”. The portal front page will highlight portal usage statistics and new datasets. Other new features include:

  • Simple registration of NetCDF files along with metadata
  • Support for multiple versions of registered resources
  • A new portlet in the GEON Tools section that provides access to a Paleobiogeography database, which is part of the GEON Paleo Integration Project (see next article)
  • A moderated discussion forum for commenting on registered Ontologies.
  • Availability of a “guest” account for first time users, who may not wish to obtain an account for themselves

A number of the changes made in the portal, as well as the website, are in response to the feedback received from the Usability workshop organized by PI Dogan Seber (SDSC) in May 2006 (see related newsletter article). For example, based on this feedback, we have paid particular attention to providing a “community and content orientation” to the presentation of information at the website and portal, as opposed to the current “project orientation”.


GEON Paleo Integration Project launched

GEON team members have formed a collaboration group called the Paleo Integration Project, or PIP. The goal of this effort is to utilize the GEON cyberinfrastructure tools and capabilities to integrate heterogeneous data and tools, from community resources as well as from individual PIs, to serve the broad community of scientists interested in access to paleo data. The initial set of resources include five sedimentary and fossil databases hosted on the GEON node at the University of Arizona, the chronostratigraphic database hosted on the GEON node at the University of Utah, and the Paleobiology Database (PBDB) hosted independently at UC Santa Barbara. The PIP effort is being coordinated by GEON PI Dr. Allister Rees (University of Arizona) and Ashraf Memon from SDSC. PIP team members include Dr. Emil Platon (University of Utah) and Dr. Drew Mirante (Bryn Mawr College).

The PIP group met recently (June 11-15) at the San Diego Supercomputer Center to establish and begin work on the project goals. The group made progress on: (1) registering these databases within the GEON portal, (2) deploying a copy of the Arizona databases at SDSC (for reliability and resilience), and (3) discussing design and implementation steps specifically for paleontological database integration as part of the broader Paleo Integration effort. Kai Lin and Vishu Nandigam at SDSC participated in discussions and helped implement some of these items.

In addition to discussions on paleo integration scenarios and the components needed for implementing them, the meeting accomplishments included training of GEON geoscience researchers in Java technology for hosting database query interfaces via the web and progress with implementation of the components required for querying and retrieving data from some of the databases.


GEON Elected as ESIP Partner

The GEON project has recently been elected into the membership of The Federation of Earth Science information Partners (ESIP). The ESIP Federation is a consortium of Earth science data centers, researchers, scientists, technologists, educators and applications developers. Current membership includes 97 partners, representing a broad section of Earth science data interests. The Federation promotes increased accessibility, interoperability and usability for Earth science data and derivative products. Initiated by NASA in 1997, the Federation is sponsored by NASA and NOAA. GEON’s participation in ESIP is seen as mutually beneficial to both efforts.


CSIG 2006 Registration Deadline July 7th

The deadline to register for this year's Cyberinfrastructure Summer Institute for Geoscientists (CSIG 2006) is quickly approaching, on July 7th. This Institute will be held from August 14-18, 2006 at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, University of California, San Diego, and is designed to introduce geoscientists to commonly-used as well as emergent information technology (IT) tools. Current program information is available at Local and program expenses are paid via funding from the National Science Foundation, participants pay their travel expense only. Full details and online registration can be found at


Date Fixed for Geoinformatics 2007

The Organizing Committee of the Geoinformatics 2007 meeting has determined that this meeting will be held on May 17-18, 2007 in San Diego, CA. The meeting venue will be at the California Institute of Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) at the University of California, San Diego campus. Please save the dates, now, and plan to attend what will surely prove to be (another) dynamic meeting. Further details will be released as they become available.


GEON Research Receives Honorable Mention in ACM SIGMOD 2006

A publication based on GEON-funded research enttiled, "Interactive Query Formulation on Web Service-Accessed Sources" by Mihalis Petropoulos, Alin Deutsch and Yannis Papakonstantinou (GEON Co-PI) received honorable mention as one of the Top-3 works published in ACM SIGMOD 2006, the premier international conference for database research. Dr. Petropoulos performed this research as part of his PhD, while he was funded as a GEON graduate student. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at SUNY Buffalo, NY.


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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