ESIP Federation meeting highlights data practices related to disaster management

July 16, 2013 —The Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP Federation) met in Chapel Hill, North Carolina to advance the work of its data practitioner community. Hosted by RENCI, the meeting focused on bringing together communities to improve Earth science data management practices and coordinate efforts to make data more discoverable, accessible and useful to many.

Forging ahead with goals of collaboration and coordination, the meeting’s plenary on Wednesday, July 10 provided a platform for three funded software sustainability planning projects to share their respective visions on the need for more intentional and reusable scientific software development. According to Karl Benedict, ESIP Federation President, “The 3 panelists (Stan Ahalt, Renci, Peter Fox, RPI and Bryan Heidorn, University of Arizona) all put forward compelling visions for their institutes. The focus on quality, performance and reusability of scientific software were common themes across the projects and of great interest to the ESIP Federation community.”

In the second panel of the plenary, the ESIP Federation’s initiative to promote a Data Decadal Survey at the National Academy of Sciences was discussed by Dan Baker, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado, Stan Ahalt, Renci at the University of North Carolina, Todd Vision, University of North Carolina and Dryad, and Michael Tiemann, Red Hat. President Benedict noted, “The Data Decadal Survey is an exciting opportunity for ESIP to inform the future of scientific data. It plays on the strengths that ESIP already provides enabling an authoritative cyclical process that will identify both challenges and potential solutions in Earth science data management, access and use. A Data Decadal Survey will provide additional focus and amplify synergies among disparate Earth science data groups..”

Additional meeting activities included an ESIP Federation showcase on data informing disaster management at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and numerous breakout sessions highlighting the breadth and depth of technical ESIP Federation activities.

The Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) is a broad-based, distributed community of Earth science data and information technology practitioners that leverage collaboration and coordinate interoperability efforts across institutional, geographic and domain boundaries. Partners utilize these independent forums for knowledge exchange and collaboration – an intellectual commons – where practitioners solve common challenges. Partnership in the ESIP Federation is open to organizations that work at the intersection of Earth science data and supporting technologies.

ESIP Federation membership is strictly voluntary and its continued growth reflects the recognition that the ESIP Federation is a dynamic and collaborative forum where data providers (Type 1 ESIP), researchers (Type 2 ESIP) and application developers (Type 3 ESIP) gather to exchange valuable information.   According to Benedict, “The ESIP Federation welcomes anyone who has an interest in improving the way data is served up, accessed and ultimately used.”

The ESIP Federation is a consortium of Earth science data and technology professionals spanning government (NASA, NOAA, EPA, USGS, NSF), academia and the private sectors (both commercial and nonprofit). The organization is dedicated to transforming research data and information into useful and usable data and information products for scientists, decision makers, policy makers and the public. Initiated by NASA in 1997, the ESIP Federation provides data, products and services to decision makers and researchers in public and private settings. The Foundation for Earth Science provides management services to the ESIP Federation.