NOAA and Esri Agreement to Broaden Understanding of Environmental Change

noaa_whiteNOAA’s New GIS Platform Will Increase Availability of Ocean and Weather Data and Applications

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently signed an enterprise license agreement with Esri, the world leader in GIS technology.

The agreement enables NOAA to continue building its GIS platform while maintaining data quality in bathymetry, climate and weather data, navigational charting, fisheries protection, natural resource management, marine planning, and other areas of its mission.

“NOAA now has the ability to increase access to Esri software and services that provide additional options for making NOAA data and applications available to all our constituencies and partners,” says Tony LaVoi, NOAA geospatial information officer. “We’re looking forward to the opportunities this presents to continue to grow our geospatial programs in NOAA.”

All NOAA employees now gain unlimited access to select Esri desktop and server products, including the powerful ArcGIS for Desktop, ArcGIS Spatial Analyst and 3D Analyst extensions, and ArcGIS for Maritime. In addition, NOAA staff members gain unlimited access to Esri’s Virtual Campus for online training, discounts on Esri technical support and classroom training, and complimentary passes to annual Esri user and developer conferences.

Another benefit of the agreement is a subscription to Esri’s ArcGIS Online. This benefit allows NOAA to quickly create interactive maps and applications and share these with the rest of the organization and the public.

“The agreement provides a foundation for the development of an enterprise geospatial program for NOAA, which will likely result in increased efficiencies across the organization, enhanced access to NOAA data and services, and a streamlined acquisition process,” states Joe Klimavicz, NOAA’s chief information officer (CIO).

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources.

For more information about enterprise license agreements, visit esri.com/ela.

[Source: Esri press release]

Atmosphere, Climate, and Weather Papers at the 2010 ESRI International User Conference

Real-World Applications of GIS in Meteorology

  • The Colorado Statewide Snow Avalanche Path GIS Database and Project
  • Effect of Surface Characteristics on Tornado Vortex Signatures

Software and Hardware Tools for Climatology and Meteorology

  • An Open Geospatial Consortium Standards-based Arctic Climatology Sensor Network Prototype
  • Using Mobile Devices for Enhanced Storm Damage Surveys
  • Mapping and Animating Air Masses with Python and ArcObjects

From the Wet Side: Marine Climatology and Climate Impacts

  • Integration of Hurricane Model with Socio-Economic Data
  • HabitatSpace – to visualize/analyze climate change effects in 3-D
  • Analysis and Visualisation of Atmospheric and Marine Meteorology Information

Panel Discussion: Atmosphere 2.0

  • This discussion will focus on how atmospheric and environmental sciences are now using mapping to engage the public, mostly by citizen generated content.

Clark Labs Releases New Global Monthly Data Archive for Image Time Series Analysis

Clark Labs is pleased to announce they have released a DVD archive of monthly global NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) and EVI (Enhanced Vegetation Index) MODIS data. The MODIS data were processed by NASA Goddard from the Terra sensor projected on a 0.05 degree climate modeling grid. The DVD includes over 3 gigabytes of data from the MOD13C2 product, for the years 2000 – 2009, formatted and preprocessed for immediate input into the IDRISI GIS and Image Processing software. None of the original values were altered. The DVD is available for only $30 plus shipping and handling.

Historical data is crucial for the analysis of earth trends and dynamics, particularly for change detection and prediction and long-term image series analysis. Time series analysis is critical for exploring such global events as El Nino and related sea surface temperature anomalies and impacts. Although such data is a valuable resource for analysts, publicly available and typically free, a significant amount of effort must be invested before the data is ready for analysis. Files for each time period, typically at sizes of over 100 mb, must be downloaded individually. The data then needs to be imported and pre-processed. This archive allows analysts and researchers to bypass the tedious yet necessary data download and preparation process, freeing up more effort for a project’s analytical goals.

This data archive is a particularly significant resource as input for the Earth Trends Modeler application within the IDRISI software. Earth Trends Modeler, an application for the exploration and analysis of image time series data, includes a coordinated suite of data mining tools and a variety of techniques for the extraction of global trends and the impacts of climate change. The new data archive can immediately be used within Earth Trends Modeler.

The DVD also includes monthly atmospheric temperature data from Remote Sensing System (RSS), processed from the Microwave and Advanced Microwave Sounding Units on NOAA polar-orbiting platforms and in a 2.5 degree grid.

Learn more about the Global Monthly Data Archive Series.

[Source: Clark University press release]

A New Approach To Earth Science Data Analysis: NASA Earth Exchange

The way we analyze planet Earth will never be the same, thanks to a new initiative at NASA that integrates supercomputers with global satellite observations and sophisticated models of the Earth system in an online collaborative environment. As part of its celebration of Earth Week, NASA unveiled the NASA Earth Exchange (NEX) at a “Green Earth” public forum held at the NASA Exploration Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

By making NEX available, NASA expects to better enable scientists to collaboratively conduct research and address the impacts of changes in climate and land use patterns on ecosystems. NEX will link NASA’s supercomputing resources with massive Earth system data sets, and provide a collection of tools for analysis and visualization.

“Currently, it can require months for scientists to gather and analyze global-scale data sets, due to computing limitations, data storage requirements and network bandwidth constraints”, said Ramakrishna Nemani, senior research scientist at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. “By bringing NASA supercomputer resources to bear on the problem, we can reduce that time to hours, accelerating research on topics ranging from global rates of forest change to the effects of climate change on the reliability of our water resources.”

For example, scientists at NASA have created global high resolution “snapshots” of the Earth’s vegetation from Landsat data over the past 30 years. These snapshots contain quantitative information that is detailed enough to characterize human-scale processes such as urban growth, agricultural irrigation, and deforestation. By comparing vegetation cover and biomass estimates from different time periods, scientists can improve our understanding of where and how the Earth is changing. Using NEX, scientists are now able to create snapshots of global vegetation patterns containing over half a trillion pixels in less than ten hours.

NEX uses a new approach for collaboration among scientists and science teams working to model the Earth system and analyze large Earth observation datasets. Using on-line collaboration technologies, NEX will bring together geographically dispersed multi-disciplinary groups of scientists focused on global change research. Scientists will be able to build custom project environments containing the datasets and software components needed to solve complex Earth science problems. These project environments, built using virtualization technology, will be highly portable and reusable and will automatically capture the entire analysis process, including the data and processing steps required to replicate the results in an open and transparent way. For example, results from the processing of the global Landsat data would be available to scientists with the additional expertise required to analyze rates of urbanization, deforestation, or biodiversity impacts. The science teams would have access to not only the data, but also each processing step used to create the global mosaics.

The NEX uses NASA’s largest, most powerful supercomputer, Pleiades, a 56,832-processor Silicon Graphics International Altix ICE system, Pleiades’ storage system, with an approximately 1.4 petabyte capacity, and the hyperwall-2 visualization system, featuring 128 screens, which measure 23-feet by 10-feet is located at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) facility at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

“Pleiades now provides an enormous capability for scientists to make new discoveries and gain insight into Earth’s system,” said William Thigpen, high-end computing capability deputy project manager at the NAS.

“Fitting these Landsat tiles together was like working a giant, complicated jigsaw puzzle¬ – it was not a trivial matter,” said Tim Sandstrom, science visualizations expert at the NAS facility. “It required custom algorithms, an extensive amount of memory and a large number of processors, afforded by NASA’s supercomputers.”

NASA’s Earth Science Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA headquarters, Washington, D.C., sponsored the NASA Earth Climate Exchange to complement the agency’s efforts to capture global Earth observations from space.

The NAS facility’s supercomputing environment operates under the agency’s High End Computing Capability (HECC) Project, which plans for and provides high-end computing systems and services to support NASA’s mission needs in aeronautics, exploration, science and space operations.

For more information about the NASA Earth Exchange, visit:

http://nex.arc.nasa.gov

For information about the NASA Advanced Supercomputing facility, visit:

http://www.nas.nasa.gov/

[Source: NASA press release]

USGS Awards $2.7 Million in Stimulus Funding to Improve the Detection of Changes in the Earth’s Crust

The U.S. Geological Survey has awarded $2.7 million in cooperative agreements under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to the University of California, Berkeley; Central Washington University; University of California, San Diego; and UNAVCO, Inc., to improve networks that detect minute changes in the earth’s crust caused by faulting in earthquake-prone regions.

Monitoring these small changes (undetectable except through the methods of advanced geodesy) is an integral part of assessing the likely rate of large earthquakes. For optimal performance in real time, many existing monitoring stations need modern sensors and improved communication systems. Funds provided through six cooperative agreements will improve monitoring capabilities by replacing obsolete sensors that may be more than 10 years old and by upgrading communications so that real-time data streams are more reliable or possible for the first time. These funds will create or preserve jobs relating to contract work and equipment manufacturing.

“These improvements in advanced geodesy will enhance the ability of the U.S. Geological Survey and its cooperators to monitor in real-time how strain is building across hazardous faults,” said David Applegate, senior science advisor for earthquake and geologic hazards.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed earlier this year included $3 billion to the Department of the Interior. Of that amount, $140 million in funding is being used by the USGS to fund projects meeting Recovery Act goals

The Recovery Act funds are part of a stimulus package that is an important component of the President’s plan to jumpstart the economy and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so the country can thrive in the 21st century. Under the Recovery Act, Interior is making an investment in conserving America’s timeless treasures — our stunning natural landscapes, our monuments to liberty, the icons of our culture and heritage — while helping American families and their communities prosper again. Interior is also focusing on renewable energy projects, the needs of American Indians, employing youth and promoting community service.

“With its investments of Recovery Act funds, the Department of the Interior and its bureaus are putting people to work today to make improvements that will benefit the environment and the region for many years to come,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.

Secretary Salazar has pledged unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability in the implementation of the Department’s economic recovery projects. The public can follow the progress of each project on RECOVERY.GOV and on the Department of the Interior, Recovery Investments website. Secretary Salazar has appointed a Senior Advisor for Economic Recovery, Chris Henderson, and an Interior Economic Recovery Task Force to work closely with Interior’s Inspector General and ensure that the recovery program is meeting the high standards for accountability, responsibility and transparency set by President Obama.

[Source: USGS press release]

Zeroing In on Natural Resources

GIS for Customizing Earth Sciences Applications

…from the Winter 2009/2010 issue of ArcNews

Hydrocarbon exploration is an expensive, high-risk operation that involves searching for hydrocarbon deposits (like oil and gas) beneath the earth’s surface. Though visible surface features can provide evidence of hydrocarbon generation, most exploration methods depend on highly sophisticated technology to detect and determine the presence of these deposits deep within the earth.

In early 2000, there was a significant natural gas discovery in southern New York that led to a boom in hydrocarbon exploration. Shortly after this discovery, MIR Télédétection Inc.—a natural resources consulting firm located in Québec, Canada,—began providing expertise to help target hydrocarbon reservoirs.

Among the many services MIR provides are customized earth sciences applications that support hydrocarbon exploration in North America through the capture, integration, and analysis of geologic, remotely sensed, and geoscientific data. Its research plays an integral role in successfully turning leads (structures that may contain or trap hydrocarbons) into prospects (leads that have been fully evaluated and are ready to drill).