The Boulder Earth and Space Science Informatics Group (BESSIG) aims to galvanize and support networking and collaboration among Earth and Space Science data users, data providers, data managers, and middleware providers, especially those in the Boulder, Colorado area. Topical areas include issues of scientific data representation, management, discovery, access, analysis, visualization, citation, transparency, and the infrastructure to support those efforts. The end goal is to improve the usage and thus the value of scientific data, thereby improving our understanding of our Earth and its systems.
We continually seek topics and speakers of interest. If you have an idea for a relevant topic you would like to see presented, please contact bessig dot info at lasp dot colorado dot edu to discuss setting up a presentation.
Our next meeting is Wednesday, June 19, at 4:00 PM.
Wednesday, June 19, 4 – 6 PM
Py in the Sky: IPython and other tools for scientific computing
- Monte Lunacek, Application Specialist, CU Research Computing
- Roland Viger, Research Geographer, USGS
Python offers a rich toolkit that is useful for scientific computing.
In this talk, we will introduce the IPython package and discuss three
useful components: the interactive shell, the web-based notebook, and
the parallel interface. We will also demonstrate a few concepts from
the Pandas data analysis package and, time permitting, offer a few tips
on how to profile and effortlessly speedup your python code. This talk
will describe and illustrate these tools with example code. If Python
is not your favorite programming language, this overview might change that.
Boulder Outlook Hotel
4:00pm – 5:00pm Presentation
5:00pm – 6:00pm Social
PAST BESSIG MEETINGS
Tuesday, May 21, 4 – 6 PM
NOAA Earth Information Services and TerraViz
- Eric Hackathorn, Julien Lynge, and Jeff Smith, TerraViz, NOAA
- Jebb Stewart, Chris MacDermaid, NEIS, NOAA
The NOAA Earth Information Services (NEIS) is a framework of layered services designed to help the discovery, access, understanding, and visualization of data from the past, present, and future. It includes a visualization component named TerraViz that is a multi-platform tool, running on desktops, web browsers, and mobile devices. The goal is to ingest “big data” and convert that information into efficient formats for real-time visualization. Designed for a world where everything is in motion, NEIS and TerraViz allow fluid data integration and interaction across 4D time and space, providing a tool for everything NOAA does and the people NOAA affects.
TerraViz is built using the Unity game engine. While a game engine may seem a strange choice for data visualizations, our philosophy is to take advantage of existing technology whenever possible. Video games are a multibillion-dollar industry, and are quite simply the most powerful tools for pushing millions of points of data to the user in real-time. Our presentation illustrated displaying environmental data in TerraViz at a global scale, visualizing regional data in “scenes” such as the flooding of the Washington DC area or rotating a coastal ecosystem in three axes, and developing environmental simulations/games like exploring the ocean floor in a submarine. The NEIS backend similarly takes lessons from private industry, using Apache Solr and other open source technologies to allow faceted search of NOAA data, much as sites like Amazon and Netflix do.
We believe that to have an impact on society, data should be easy to find, access, visualize, and understand. NEIS simplifies and abstracts searching, connectivity, and different data formats, allowing users to concentrate on the data and science.
Please contact us if you want to explore including your environmental data within NEIS/TerraViz or if you want to talk to us about developing custom visualizations or educational simulations to showcase your important data.
NOAA/Earth System Research Lab/Global Systems Division, Boulder, Colorado
Wednesday, April 17, 4 – 6 PM
- Chris Lynnes, Chief Systems Engineer, Goddard DAAC, NASA,“The Earth Science Collaboratory”
The Earth Science Collaboratory is a proposed framework for supporting
the sharing within the Earth science community of data, tools, analysis
methods, and results, plus all the contextual knowledge that go with
these artifacts. The likely benefits include:
- Access to expert knowledge about how to work with data safely and
- Full reprocability of results
- Efficient collaboration within multi-disciplinary and/or
geographically distributed teams
- A social network to bring together researchers and data users
with common interests
Currently, there are some nascent efforts to construct such a collaboratory. However, by its very (inclusive) nature, this construction is likely to be most successful as an emergent process, evolving from many point-to-point connections to an eventual ecosystem of cooperating components supporting collaboration.
In particular, the project seeks potential users of such a collaboratory. If this tool sounds interesting to you and you would like to be involved in its design, or you know of someone that might be interested, please spread the word. Tools like this may be significant in doing science in the future. Students and early career researchers are especially encouraged to participate.
Wednesday, March 20, 4 – 6 PM
- Doug Lindholm, LASP, “LaTiS: a data model, an API, a web service AND a floor wax”
LaTiS is a data model, a data analysis API, and a REST-ful web service for accessing scientific data via a common interface.
The LaTiS data model provides a scientific domain independent, unifying, mathematical foundation for describing datasets that captures the functional relationships between parameters. The Scala implementation of this model provides an API for reading data directly from their native source, the ability to compute with high level abstractions appropriate for the task at hand, and options for filtering, transforming, and writing data in various formats.
This talk will discuss how these capabilities are used to enable a modular web service framework that can easily be installed and configured by a data provider, and that allows users to dynamically reformat a dataset, including its time representation, storage format, missing values, etc.
This talk will be a preview (i.e. beta release) of the talk I will give at UCAR Software Engineering Assembly Conference in April.
Wednesday, February 13, 4 – 6 PM
- Beth Huffer, Lingua Logica, “ODISEES: An Ontology-Driven Interactive Search Environment for Earth Sciences”
As part of an on-going effort at NASA Langley’s Atmospheric Science Data Center, and in cooperation with the Computational & Information Sciences & Technology Office at the Goddard Space Flight Center, we have developed a semi-automated method for finding and comparing equivalent data and climate model output variables across disparate datasets. We will demonstrate an ontology-driven variable matching service that provides an automated mapping among comparable variables from multiple data products and climate model output products. The interactive user interface is driven by a queriable ontological model of the essential characteristics of data and climate model output variables, the products they occur in, the atmospheric parameters represented in the data, and the instruments and techniques used to measure or model the parameters. Queries of the ontology and triple store are used to match comparable variables by enabling users to search for those that share a user-specified set of essential characteristics.
The application addresses an emerging need among Earth scientists to compare climate model outputs to other models and to satellite observations, and addresses some of the barriers that currently make such comparisons difficult. In particular, the application
- Eliminates the need for users to be familiar with the multiple data vocabularies and standards that exist within the Earth sciences community; and
- With a few mouse clicks, provides ready access to the information needed by scientists to understand the similarities and differences between two or more data or climate model products, enabling them to quickly determine which products best suit their requirements.
Wednesday, January 16, 4 – 6 PM
- Stephen Williams, Office of Faculty Affairs, CU Boulder, “VIVO, VITRO, DataStar, and Beyond – The VIVO Project“
The VIVO project was started at Cornell University in 2003 as a faculty profiling system for Mann Library. The profiling system that is VIVO was designed in two parts, VITRO the semantic engine that is ontology agnostic and VIVO the ontology specific pages and data for presenting faculty profiles. This concept of a two tied system was taken into the third tier with location specific changes (Cornell and CU-Boulder) and ontologies that build upon VIVO (data star). This talk will focus on the VIVO project as a whole, its history, its ancillary projects, and its future. We’ll also try to cover difficulties and lessons in semantic programming and the experiences of building ETL tools for semantic data.
Wednesday, October 10, 4 – 6 PM
This month we are delighted to have representatives from law, government and science come together to discuss various aspects of science policy. We’ve asked them to consider questions like these:
- What does “science policy” mean to you? To your organization? What impact does it have?
- What are the roles in science policy and what impacts do they have? Who are the main players?
- How have you or your organization tried to impact science policy? What worked and what did not work? What did you learn?
- How does one prepare for a science policy discussion? Any do’s and don’ts?
- Scientists and engineers are trained to think and communicate in certain ways. Should those same skills be applied to policy discussions?
- If someone wanted to move more heavily into science policy, how would you advise them? What career moves would be good? Any bad career moves?
- Peter Backlund,
Director, NCAR External Relations and the Integrated Science Program
Director, Research Relations, NCAR
- Dan Baker,
Professor of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences
Director, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics
- Alice Madden,
Wirth Chair in Sustainable Development, UC Denver
Colorado House Representative (2001 – 2010), Majority Leader (2004 – 2008)
Climate Change Adviser, Deputy Chief of Staff for Gov. Ritter
Senior Fellow on Climate Change, Center for American Progress
- Andy Schultheiss,
District Director at Office of Congressman Jared Polis
Campaigns Director at League of Conservation Voters
Boulder City Council (2003 – 2007)
The discussion will be available via Web Ex, info to follow.
Wednesday, September 19, 4 – 6 PM
- Anna Milan, NOAA/NESDIS/NGDC “Metadata for the Archive: Transition to ISO, Approaches, Challenges, and Opportunities“
- Dave Fulker, President, OPeNDAP, Inc., “A (Very) Rough Idea: Raster Binning and Masking Services“
Dave will sketch his idea for a new type of data query/response service built (perhaps for EarthCube) around a standardized space-time raster that has a dual function. Tentatively dubbed “Raster Binning & Masking Services” or RBinMasks, users would gain a (potentially standard) way to specify (irregular) space-time regions of interest and a (potentially standard) way to gain information about the space-time distributions of pertinent data, without—or before—retrieving actual values.
Wednesday, August 15, 4 – 6 PM
- Brian Wee, NEON, Inc., “NEON: A continental-scale research and operations platform for the environmental sciences“
As NEON, Inc.’s Chief of External Affairs, Brian is the organization’s liaison to Congress, US Federal agencies, and other scientific organizations. He also represents the informatics needs of the large-scale environmental sciences before the computer science and Federal data community. Brian joined the NEON Project Office at the American Institute of Biological Sciences in 2004 as a post-doctoral associate, then became a staff scientist before transitioning to the role of Administrative Director. Previously he worked for Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) designing and implementing IT solutions and then served as Senior Instructional Designer leading instructional design, knowledge management, business-process redesign, and web development projects.
Brian holds a Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior from the University of Texas at Austin, a M.Sc. degree in Computer Science – Artificial Intelligence at Northwestern University, Evanston, IL and a B.Sc. in Information Systems and Computer Science from the National University of Singapore. His M.Sc. studies focused on designing and implementing computer augmented learning solutions for high-school classrooms and corporate training at the Institute for the Learning Sciences. His Ph.D. focused on investigating the relative effects of behavioral, physiological and landscape barriers on the genetic structure of insect populations by integrating genetic, behavioral, and GIS analyses.
Tuesday, July 24, 4 – 6 PM
- Jeff Morisette, United States Geological Survey (USGS) “Developing a common modeling framework for the Department of Interior’s North Central Climate Science Center“
This month, the Boulder Earth and Space Science Informatics Group welcomes Jeff Morisette, visiting us from USGS in Fort Collins to talk about, among other things, his experience with VisTrails.
Jeff is currently the director of the DOI North Central Climate Science Center where he manages and conducts research on how natural and cultural land management can respect the non-stationary nature of climate. A current research theme is how dynamic species distribution models can contribute to vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning.
Wednesday, June 20, 4 – 6 PM
- SiriJodha Khalsa, National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) “Modeling the Model—the Semantics of the CCSM4 Sea Ice Model“
- Don Elsborg, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) “Applied Semantic Web Technology—A use case with Semantic Mediawiki
Wednesday, May 16, 4 – 6 PM
- Stephan Zednick, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) “Data Models and Ontologies, describing structure and classification“
Wednesday, April 18, 5 – 7 PM
This month we’ll review the recent UCAR data citation workshop, then make a foray into ontology and semantic-related areas.
In May and June we’ll continue with speakers on ontology and semantic-related topics. The site calendar contains more information. If you have experiences in this area that you are willing to share, please contact Anne.
- Matt Mayernik, NCAR Library: “UCAR Workshop Review – Bridging Data Lifecycles: Tracking Data Use via Data Citations.”
Download presentation (PPT 3.4 MB)
(Note: Many of these slides were taken from the workshop presentations posted at http://library.ucar.edu/data_workshop. Original slide authors are noted in red text in the top left of the slides.)
- Ruth Duerr, NSIDC: “Early Experiences in Semantics.”
Download presentation (PDF 9.4 MB)