OGC Seeks Comments on Charter for Big Data Domain Working Group

ogcThe Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC®) seeks comments on the charter for a new OGC Big Data Domain Working Group (DWG). The charter is available at http://external.opengeospatial.org/twiki_public/BigDataDwg/ .

“Big Data” is an umbrella term denoting the digital data surge in terms of volume, velocity, variety and the importance of the data’s trustworthiness. The widespread need to perform rapid, flexible analytics on Big Data has become a major driver in the Information and Communications Technology industry. Location-based and geospatial data applications are major contributors to this data deluge. Such applications involve, for example, high volume transactions with mobile devices and location-aware sensors, growing use of diverse high-resolution airborne, orbiting and undersea imaging devices, numerical model outputs, navigation through 3D representations of indoor and outdoor environments, and new policies aimed at preserving and reusing geoscience and environmental data. Members of the proposed Big Data DWG believe that the OGC needs to make statements and provide guidance on the use of OGC standards in managing Big Data.

The OGC Big Data DWG initiators aim to provide an open forum for work on Big Data management, analytics and interoperability. The group is being chartered to encourage collaborative development among participants representing many organizations and communities. It will ensure appropriate liaisons to relevant working groups inside and outside the OGC.

The group will consolidate findings on an OGC Big Data DWG public wiki to inform OGC members and the public and allow for feedback during and after document editing. Final reports will be submitted to OGC for publication as a Best Practice papers.

The initial membership of the BigData DWG will consist of the following OGC member representatives, who have extensive education and experience in Big Data issues:

  • Peter Baumann, Jacobs University (co-chair)
  • John Herring, Oracle (co-chair)
  • Juergen Seib, Deutscher Wetterdienst
  • Stan Tillman, Intergraph
  • Marie-Francoise Voidrot, Meteo France
  • Jeff de la Beaujardiere, US NOAA
  • Bruce Gritton, US Navy MetOc
  • Chuck Heazel, WISC (co-chair)
  • Mike McCann, MBARI
  • Pedro Goncalves, Terradue
  • Don Sullivan, NASA
  • Ed Parsons, Google
  • Robert Gibb, Landcare Research New Zealand
  • Jean Brodeur, Geoconnections, NRCAN
  • Jinsongdi Yu, Fuzhou University
  • Arnaud Cauchy, Airbus Defence & Space

The initiators encourage comments on the charter and participation in the OGC Big Data Domain Working Group.

The OGC is an international consortium of more than 475 companies, government agencies, research organizations, and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available geospatial standards. OGC standards support interoperable solutions that “geo-enable” the Web, wireless and location-based services, and mainstream IT. OGC standards empower technology developers to make geospatial information and services accessible and useful with any application that needs to be geospatially enabled. Visit the OGC website athttp://www.opengeospatial.org/contact.

[Source: OGC press release]

Spatial and Temporal Analysis of Air Pollution Index and its Timescale-dependent Relationship with Meteorological Factors in Guangzhou, China, 2001–2011

Environmental PollutionEnvironmental Pollution, Volume 190, July 2014, Pages 75–81

By Li Lia, Jun Qianb, Chun-Quan Oua, Ying-Xue Zhoua, Cui Guoa, and Yuming Guoc


  • Air pollution is still serious in Guangzhou, China.
  • Air Pollution Index was associated with a variety of meteorological parameters.
  • The temporal relationships were timescale-dependent.
  • The findings should be taken into account in air quality forecasts and pollution control.

MATLAB Handle Graphics“There is an increasing interest in spatial and temporal variation of air pollution and its association with weather conditions. We presented the spatial and temporal variation of Air Pollution Index (API) and examined the associations between API and meteorological factors during 2001–2011 in Guangzhou, China. A Seasonal-Trend Decomposition Procedure Based on Loess (STL) was used to decompose API. Wavelet analyses were performed to examine the relationships between API and several meteorological factors. Air quality has improved since 2005. APIs were highly correlated among five monitoring stations, and there were substantial temporal variations. Timescale-dependent relationships were found between API and a variety of meteorological factors. Temperature, relative humidity, precipitation and wind speed were negatively correlated with API, while diurnal temperature range and atmospheric pressure were positively correlated with API in the annual cycle. Our findings should be taken into account when determining air quality forecasts and pollution control measures.”

Scientists Chart Seafloor of One of Earth’s Largest Marine Protected Areas

Christopher Kelley monitoring incoming data in the sonar control room. Credit: Dan Wagner/NOAA

Christopher Kelley monitoring incoming data in the sonar control room. Credit: Dan Wagner/NOAA

On April 11, scientists returned from a 36-day mapping expedition to Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM) in the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. PMNM is the largest protected area in the United States, encompassing an area greater than all its national parks combined, yet over half its seafloor has never been mapped in detail due to the limited availability of the advanced sonar systems required. The team mapped over 40,000 square kilometers (15,445 square miles) – an area four times the size of the Big Island – of previously unmapped or poorly mapped areas inside the Monument. This represents approximately 11 percent of the total area of PMNM, and includes 18 seamounts and extensive banks off Pearl and Hermes, Midway and Kure atolls.

“The goal of the expedition was to fill large gaps in seafloor data in order to facilitate future research and discoveries in the region,” said Christopher Kelley, program biologist with UH Mānoa’s Hawaiʻi Undersea Research Laboratory and chief scientist of the expedition.

Carried out aboard the Schmidt Ocean Institute’s (SOI) 272-foot R/V Falkor, the expedition utilized the ship’s state-of-the-art seafloor mapping sonar systems, among the most advanced mapping technology in the world. Approximately 98 percent of the Monument’s area is deeper than 100 meters (328 feet), where features including seamounts, ridges and submerged banks are home to rare and likely undiscovered species of corals, fish and other animals. Mapping is key to finding these.

“We literally have better maps of the moon than of the ocean floor,” says Randy Kosaki,  NOAA’s deputy superintendent for research at PMNM. “These bathymetric data will go a long way toward improving our understanding of Papahānaumokuākea’s features. As natural  resource managers, we can’t manage what we don’t understand.”

A 3-D map of Turnif Seamount based on newly gathered sonar data. Credit: Christopher Kelley/HURL

A 3-D map of Turnif Seamount based on newly gathered sonar data. Credit: Christopher Kelley/HURL

Another objective of this mapping effort is to identify likely sites of deep-sea coral and sponge beds. In 2003, scientists discovered the existence of these beds within PMNM in more than 1,000 meters (approximately 3,280 feet) of water.

“On this trip, we discovered more sites in the Monument with the right type of topography to support these amazing deep sea coral gardens,” Kelley said. “We’ll have to wait until someone gets an opportunity to dive on the sites with a submersible or remotely operated vehicle to confirm they exist.”

Previous exploration of the few known beds led to the discovery of more than 50 new species of sponges and corals, according to Kelley. It is expected that more discoveries will be made as a result of the information gleaned from this trip.

The region’s geology was another key focus of the expedition. Ancient coral reefs that drowned as the earliest Hawaiian Islands subsided now hold a detailed record of that process spanning millions of years. Mapping can offer a big picture view of how various features are organized, which will help researchers better understand Hawaii’s geological history.

“We established SOI in 2009—and led the transformation of Falkor into a state-of-the-art research vessel—to support the world’s leading ocean scientists on their essential, but difficult-to-implement research,” says Wendy Schmidt, who co-founded Schmidt Ocean Institute with her husband, Eric. “The mapping and geological work conducted during this cruise and the one that follows will inform the work of Chris Kelley and his team, and through our open sharing approach, all scientists who have a stake in better understanding this region.”

Group photo of mapping cruise team. Credit: Dan Wagner/NOAA

Group photo of mapping cruise team. Credit: Dan Wagner/NOAA

The team consisted of researchers from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, NOAA’s Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, PMNM-NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, Schmidt Ocean Institute, the University of Sydney and the University of British Columbia. This was the first of two expeditions slated for the spring of 2014; the second will take place from May 2 to June 6.

For more information, visit: http://www.schmidtocean.org/story/show/2216

[Source: University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa press release]


Citizen Science Shows Everyday People Can Map the Moon

Dr. Pamela L. Gay, Assistant Research Professor, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville STEM Center.

Dr. Pamela L. Gay, Assistant Research Professor, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville STEM Center.

A team of scientists working with the CosmoQuest virtual research facility (CosmoQuest.org) has demonstrated that it is possible for everyday people to map the Moon with the same quality as a group of experienced professionals.

A team of scientists working with the CosmoQuest virtual research facility (CosmoQuest.org) has demonstrated that it is possible for everyday people to map the Moon with the same quality as a group of experienced professionals.

These crowd-sourced results are being published in the journal Icarus and highlight the ability of citizen scientists to advance planetary research. CosmoQuest is a second-generation citizen science site run out of the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville STEM Center by Assistant Research Professor Dr. Pamela L. Gay.

While “crowdsourcing science” may sound as if they are handing out lab sets and white coats, CosmoQuest has actually done something much more impactful. They handed over the moon.

CosmoQuest’s MoonMappers research portal invites the public to learn about the lunar surface and aid professional researchers in mapping craters and other features on the Moon.

MoonMappers is led by researchers Stuart Robbins of the University of Colorado and Irene Antonenko of the Planetary Institute of Toronto. CosmoQuest community members are the first citizen scientists to demonstrate volunteers can accurately identify planetary surface features.

With over 500 million craters on the moon alone, and new data coming in from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter daily, there is much science to be furthered.

“As early as the 1800s, top researchers, such as Harvard’s Edward Pickering, realized the field of astronomy could advance faster by engaging amateur astronomers in collecting data for professional researchers,” Gay said. “Utilizing the global community of amateur researchers that CosmoQuest has drawn together, research can happen more quickly, more accurately, and more often than ever before.

As shrinking funding reduces the number of professional positions, the need for help is greater than ever before. “CosmoQuest allows passionate volunteers and professional scientists to effectively explore our solar system together and accomplish science that might otherwise never be done,” Gay said.

In a statistical comparison between the results of eight professional crater counters, and MoonMappers’ cadre of amateur counters from around the world, it was shown that the combined results are consistent across both groups even across varied types of craters. This study also showed that the variation in counts between different professionals could be as much as 35 percent, while there was a 1-to-1 relationship between the combined professional counts and the citizen scientist counts.

“The results from the study were very reassuring to us,” said Robbins, the study’s lead author. “Without this first step of verifying the accuracy of volunteer crater counters, there would be no point in continuing the project.
“Our study results mean we can now use the power of crowd-sourcing to gather more data than we ever thought possible before.”

This means willing volunteers can meaningfully contribute to science any time they feel like sitting down and marking a few features. Waiting for the bus? Sitting in the doctor’s office? Or, “Even do it at night while watching television,” is Robbins’ advice to help further humankind’s knowledge of these objects’ history.

While mapping the Moon is a goal unto itself, there is actually a lot of science tied in with mapping all these divots on the lunar surface.

“Throughout our solar system’s existence, a steady stream of objects – asteroids and comets mostly – have rained down on the Earth and our Moon,” Gay stated. “While it may seem these objects are out to kill life on Earth (and they certainly killed the dinosaurs!), they also offer us a chance to understand our history.

“When we see an area of the Moon that is smoother, we know something has erased the craters, but when we see a very cratered region, we know we are seeing an old surface that holds a record of past collisions.”

CosmoQuest is directed by Gay, and is designed to provide the public with an online experience that a professional might have at a research center.

“Put simply, the sky is large, and astronomers need all the help the public can offer!” Gay said.

In addition to hosting MoonMappers and two other citizen science projects, CosmoQuest also offers online classes, provides multiple weekly seminars using Google’s Hangout-on-Air technology, has materials for teachers, and is home to the Virtual Star Party series. This second-generation citizen science site goes from asking people to click through images to asking them to learn what it takes to become an active collaborator.

[Source: PRWEB]

Ocean Industries and the Global Oceans Action Summit

World Ocean CouncilWOC Working to Ensure Industry Input to Global Oceans Action Summit for Food Security and Blue Growth (The Hague, 22 – 25 April 2014)

The World Ocean Council (WOC) is working to help ensure ocean business community participation in the Global Oceans Action Summit for Food Security and Blue Growth (The Hague, 22 – 25 April 2014).

Organized by the Netherlands, UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Bank, the Global Oceans Action Summit seeks to convene global leaders, ocean practitioners, business, science, civil society and international agencies to share experiences and demonstrate how combined action in partnerships for healthier and productive oceans can drive sustainable growth and shared prosperity.

The organizers have invited WOC to reach out to the global ocean business community and encourage participation in the Global Oceans Action Summit. The event organizers are especially interested in participation from the seafood, fisheries, aquaculture, oil/gas, and shipping sectors, but also from a wide range of ocean industries.

The WOC has been invited to participate in the summit’s high level session on Thursday 24 April as part of assuring that the event does connect with diverse ocean business community, as well as being invited to participate in panels on Blue Growth.

The Global Oceans Action Summit will highlight the need to address successful integrated approaches that attract public-private partners, secure financing and catalyze good ocean governance while balancing between (i) growth and conservation, (ii) private sector interests and equitable benefits for communities and (iii) Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) and Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ).

For more info on the Global Oceans Action Summit for Food Security and Blue Growth, see http://www.globaloceansactionsummit.com/.

[Source: World Ocean Council  press release]

URISA Publishes GIS Management Institute Discussion Paper

URISAURISA has published the first in what is intended to be a series of occasional GIS Management Institute® discussion papers. These papers are intended to stimulate thought and open discussion about issues related to GIS management that are important to the GIS community. The paper, titled “A Distributed Model for Effective National Geospatial Data Management: Building a National Data Sharing Infrastructure” is available online. Jim Sparks (State of Indiana GIO), Philip Worrall (Indiana Geographic Information Council Executive Director), and Kevin Mickey (Indiana University Polis Center Geospatial Education Director) are the authors of the paper.

Upon the discussion paper’s publication, Greg Babinski, GISP, Past President of URISA, noted:

“Recent studies have demonstrated the tremendous return on investment (ROI) from deploying geospatial technology. Of course geospatial technology relies on the availability of high quality, current spatial data to deliver these benefits. But within the United States, we have been behind many other countries in completing development of a single authoritative spatial database.

Many other countries that I have visited, including the UK, UAE, China, Taiwan, and the EU countries, all have a top-down central government funded approach to developing GIS data for use at the national, regional, and local levels. In the US, we have not taken this approach. We have a fractured infrastructure, with local government agencies generally (but not universally) having good data, but little motivation to comply with standards or policies that would facilitate compilation into a comprehensive national database. Local government agencies and many states lack funding to support a comprehensive approach to building a national data sharing infrastructure.

In the discussion paper, Jim Sparks, Philip Worrall, and Kevin Mickey have laid out these issues and make a variety of proposals based on best practices that have worked on smaller scales, rational national coordination, and a proposal for effective funding.

I encourage GIS professionals to read this important paper and provide your comments and further suggestions to the authors. Also consider attend upcoming events where this paper will be the subject a panel discussion, including the Washington GIS Conference (May 12-14 in Tacoma) and GIS-Pro 2014: URISA’s Annual Conference (September 8-11 in New Orleans).”

Interested authors should send their papers to URISA’s Executive Director (wnelson@urisa.org) for review and consideration by the GIS Management Institute®. For more information about the GIS Management Institute® including the GIS Capability Maturity Model, visit http://www.urisa.org/main/gis-management-institute/.

[Source: URISA press release]