GEON Newsletter : March 2007
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Geoinformatics 2007 Abstract Submission Deadline is April 9th

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The abstract submission and hotel registration deadline for the upcoming Geoinformatics 2007 Conference, to be held at CalIT2 at the University of California, San Diego campus May 17 & 18, is April 9th. This meeting will provide an opportunity for Geoscience and IT educators, professionals, and students to come together to discuss activities, developments, and collaborative efforts in the geoinformatics arena, as well as have abstracts published in the U.S.Geological Survey Scientific Investigation Report.

The Geoinformatics 2007 Conference is being hosted by the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, University of California, San Diego. Sponsors include the Geological Society of America (Geoinformatics Division), American Geophysical Union (ESSI) ,United States Geological Survey, National Science Foundation, California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, San Diego Supercomputer Center, and the British Geological Survey. Full meeting details, as well as abstract submissions and registration can be accessed online at:


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GEON LIDAR Workflow (GLW) Use Expanding

Use of the GEON LiDAR Workflow (GLW) tool by the earth science community continues to expand. As of March 27th, the 92 registered GLW users have processed 9.5 billion LiDAR returns in 884 unique jobs. Statistics for the four datasets in the GLW system are as follows:

512 B4 jobs submitted = 5.4 billion points.
285 NSAF jobs submitted = 2.2 billion points.
67 RAINIER jobs submitted = 1.3 points.
20 ECSZ jobs submitted = 623 million points.

The GEON LiDar Workflow development team continues to work to improve system reliability and functionality. The team is hard at work on many new features that will be available in the next GEON Portal release.


GEON Hosts MorphoBank

Morphobank is a project funded by the NSF/EAR Geoinformatics program to provide Web-Based Systematics Software and Archive for Transforming the Study of Fossils (PI: Maureen O’Leary, SUNY Stony Brook). In collaboration with GEON, the MorphoBank database and website ( is now hosted by the GEON project at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC). is an open source, platform-independent web application and online database that provides a collaborative workspace and archive to manage comparative anatomical data of fossil and living organisms for scientific research and education. The database catalogues multimedia submissions (2D and 3D images, e.g., drawings, photos, and CT scans), and allows contributors to place annotations on the media. Along with images, MorphoBank records a variety of metadata such as author of submission, related publications, critical commentary, names of species and higher taxa, and descriptions of characters. For phylogenetic research, MorphoBank displays dynamic phylogenetic matrices of morphological characters with labeled character information (homology statements). MorphoBank supports distributed collaborative research in a password-protected environment over the web - in real time - by autonomous teams of researchers building phylogenetic matrices with affiliated image data, or simply sharing images with annotations. Once a paleontologist or team is ready to make their work available for open storage (e.g., coinciding with the appearance of a published paper), the images and annotations are permanently archived and searchable by the public on The database is particularly helpful for comparing hypotheses of homology, which are central to the phylogenetics of fossil or living taxa.

Ashraf Memon (SDSC) and Seth Kaufman (SUNY Stony Brook) worked jointly to deploy the MorphoBank website and database to its new location. The collaboration between MorphoBank and GEON has brought another valuable database resource into the GEON framework. MorphoBank is able to utilize the production web hosting and database services at SDSC to host the MorphBank website and archive. MorphoBank data is stored in a mySQL database. The site provides image viewing capabilities and sophisticated phylogenetic tools. As a GEON resource, MorphoBank also provides a valuable link between data in the Geosphere and the Biosphere. Future collaborative efforts between GEON and MorphoBank include the linking of metadata in to other geoscience data in GEON, via ontologies, and the enhancement of web services for tools associated with


GEOGrid Workshop and PRAGMA 12 MEETING Held in Bangkok, Thailand

GeoGrid team Ashraf Memon (SDSC) represented GEON at the recent PRAGMA meeting and the accompanying Global Earth Observation Grid (GEO Grid) Workshop in Bangkok Thailand on March 20th 2007. His presentation on the current status of GEON technologies was well received, with many attendees commending the project on a robust and mature implementation of state of the art portal technologies. There was a great amount of interest in customizing and reusing the GEON portal for other science projects in Korea, Thailand and Japan. The meeting has opened up several new avenues for international collaborations.

The GEOGrid workshop was followed by the PRAGMA12 meeting, where Ashraf Co-Chaired the geosciences breakout session with Dr. Ryosuke Nakamura of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Japan, and Dr. Guey-Shin Chang of the National Applied Research Laboratories (NARL), Taiwan. The session discussed a number of requirements of geosciences application. The outcome was identification of the following list of tasks which will be undertaken as a collaboration between the PRAGMA and GEON projects:

1. Design and Specification of common grid services infrastructure for PRAGMA, with most of the services and related technologies developed by GEON being in the Application Services Layer and many Core grid Services developed by AIST’s GEOGrid project being in the Infrastructure Services Layer. 2. Interoperability between GEON and GEOGrid portal 3. Aster DEM calibrations and correction using GEON LIDAR DEMs.

It was decided to have follow up meetings to discuss the detailed design of these tasks.


1st European Geoinformatics Meeting held in Edinburgh, UK

ESI logoThe e-Science Institute of UK Edinburgh hosted the first European Geoinformatics workshop on March 7-9. The meeting was jointly organized by the e-Science Institute in Edinburgh, the British Geological Survey (BGS), the National Institute for Environmental eScience (NIEeS) and sponsored by the Geological Society of America (GSA) and represents an effort by European and U.S. geoscientists to plan more effective ways to share information and science resources. The goals of the meeting were to understand the ontological and semantic aspects of representation in geosciences, discuss advancements in GRID technologies and web services, and encourage collaboration in the development of geoinformatics tools and cyberinfrastructure.

GEON PIs Dogan Seber (SDSC), Krishna Sinha (VaTech), and Mark Gahegan (Penn State) were invited speakers, and gave talks on GEON cyberinfrastructure and semantic data integration efforts. The meeting was successful in bringing together leading geoscientists, managers, information scientists, cyberinfrastructure engineers and ontology researchers, and resulted in many useful discussions from these wide-ranging perspectives. Further details about this workshop and links to presentations can be found at


NSF Holds GEO Centers and Facilities Education & Outreach Managers' Workshop

NSF logoThe GEON Project was invited to attend a 2-day workshop held at the NSF headquarters on March 13 and 14 which brought together a number of Education and Outreach managers from the various NSF Geosciences Centers and Facilities. Participants shared information about their respective education and outreach efforts and discussed issues of common interest, potential future collaborations and the importance/relevance of joint E&O programs. Dogan Seber (SDSC) attended this meeting, representing GEON. A white-paper summarizing the discussions and recommendations will be developed to provide various NSF GEO programs with input for future priorities.


National Geoinformatics System Workshop Held in Denver

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An NSF-funded community workshop was held in Denver, CO at the USGS facilities. The workshop was organized to develop a community vision for a national Geoinformatics system. The workshop attracted more than 50 participants representing academia, government, and state organizations as well as private industry. Participants discussed the needs of the geoscience community in the cyberinfrastructure era and shared their vision for a national Geoinformatics system. Workshop participants expressed interest in establishing a formal/semi-formal organizational structure, such as a Geoinformatics consortium or coalition to effectively communicate the community’s vision to wider audiences. Randy Keller (GEON PI, U.Oklahoma) was one of the organizing committee members, along with David Maidment (U.Texas), PI of CUAHSI HIS, and Douglas Walker (U.Kansas), PI of EarthChem. Chaitan Baru (GEON PI, SDSC) gave an invited talk on, “Forming Communities Through Cyberinfrastructure: Technical Issues and Challenges” and several GEON PI’s were in attendance (Dogan Seber, Charles Meertens, Allister Rees). A variety of initial working groups have been formed to conduct and expand the community activities. The workshop report will be developed and posted at for community input.


GEON/NEON Represented at Cybersecurity Summit 2007

startaplot image GEON project member Sandeep Chandra (SDSC) participated in the NSF Cybersecurity Summit 2007, held in Arlington, Virginia February 22 & 23rd, representing GEON as well as the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) project.

The National Science Foundation and its partner agencies hosted this forum to bring together large research facilities to establish and maintain collaborative efforts to advance cybersecurity among the university and government research community. Led by experts in cybersecurity, the attendees participated in identifying major threats, strategies, and solutions for a class of very difficult problems of technology, policy, and practice that increasingly threaten the successful operations of large facilities in support of distributed scientific research.

The forum covered a broad array of Cybersecurity related topics but the primary focus included Cybersecurity Policies, Standards, and Guidelines; Identification and Classification; Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting and Incident Handling/Response and System Administration Practices/Policies/Education. Further info on this forum is online at http://


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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