HyPhoon – Announcing Launch of Geospatial Data Sharing Service

HySpeed computing is proud to announce the release of HyPhoon, a community gateway for the access and exchange of datasets, applications and knowledge.

The inaugural dataset offered through HyPhoon is from Heron Reef, Australia, provided courtesy of the Center for Spatial Environmental Research at the University of Queensland.

Heron ReefHeron Reef (32 km^2) is located at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef and has been a focus of coral reef research since the early 1900s. The reef contains Heron Island, which hosts one of the longest running, most significant, coral reef research stations in the world. One of the first large scale reef mapping projects in the world was developed on Heron Reef in the 1980s. Since the late 1990s the Biophysical Remote Sensing Group at the University of Queensland has developed and tested remote sensing applications on Heron Reef with collaborators from around Australia and the rest of the world.

Data offered for the Heron Reef dataset currently includes:

  • mosaic of 2002 CASI hyperspectral imagery at 1 m spatial resolution
  • field transects from 2002 of substrate cover for 3,586 photos
  • depth measurements from 2007 for 7,462 individual soundings
  • bathymetric map derived from the 2002 CASI imagery
  • habitat map derived from 2007 QuickBird imagery
  • geomorphic zonation derived from 2007 QuickBird imagery

This data is offered using the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY 3.0 Unported), which “lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation.”

The data from HyPhoon is available for the community to use in research projects, class assignments, algorithm development, application testing and validation, and in some cases also commercial applications. In other words, in the spirit of encouraging innovation, these datasets are offered as a community resource and open to your creativity.

We welcome your thoughts for new data you would like to see included, and also encourage you to contribute your own data or derived products to showcase on HyPhoon.

To access HyPhoon: http://hyphoon.hyspeedcomputing.com/

HyPhoon

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Open-Access Scientific Data – A new option from the Nature Publishing Group

In May 2014 the Nature Publishing Group will be launching a new online publication – Scientific Data – which will focus on publishing citable descriptions of open-access data.

There are many benefits to open-access data sharing, including enhanced collaboration, greater research visibility, and accelerated scientific discovery. However, the logistics of providing efficient data storage and dissemination, and ensuring proper citations for data usage, can be a challenging process if undertaken individually. Fortunately there are a growing number of government sponsored and privately funded data centers now providing these services to the community.

As one of the newest offerings in this domain, Scientific Data is approaching open-access through the publication of Data Descriptors: “peer-reviewed, scientific publications that provide detailed descriptions of experimental and observational datasets.” Data Descriptors are “designed to be complementary to traditional research publications” and can include descriptions of data used in new journal publications, data from previously published research, and standalone data that has its own intrinsic scientific value.

Scientific Data

Scientific Data’s six key principles (source: nature.com)

Because Scientific Data is open-access, there are no fees associated with user access to the Data Descriptors. However, to support and facilitate this open-access, authors must pay an article processing charge for each Descriptor that is published. Authors have the option of publishing their Data using one of three different Creative Commons licenses: Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0), Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC 3.0), or Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0). Each license requires users to properly cite the source of the data, but with varying levels of requirements on how the data can be used and re-shared.

Note that under this model Scientific Data is only publishing the Data Descriptors, and authors must still place the data itself in approved publically available data repositories. This helps ensure data is made readily available to the community without restriction. Approved repositories within the environmental and geosciences currently include the National Climatic Data Center, the NERC Data Centres, and PANGAEA. However, authors can also propose additional data repositories be included in this list.

Scientific Data is now accepting submissions, and offering early adopting authors a discounted article processing charge.

For more info on Scientific Data: http://www.nature.com/scientificdata/

Data Management and Broader Impact – Satisfying the new NSF Merit Review criteria

NSF LogoEarlier this year the National Science Foundation released an updated version of the Merit Review process, which among other items includes modifications to the criteria used to assess Broader Impact. The following explores a few ideas on how data management strategies can be leveraged towards expanding your broader impact.

The fundamental purpose of the Merit Review process is to ensure that proposals are reviewed in a fair and equitable manner. Recently, after more than a decade since the last in-depth review of these criteria, a task force was established in 2010 to evaluate and revise the principles and descriptions of the Merit Review process. A final report was published by the task force in 2012, and the new criteria have been in effect for all NSF proposals submitted since January 2013.

As stated in the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide, “the Intellectual Merit criterion encompasses the potential to advance knowledge” and “the Broader Impacts criterion encompasses the potential to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes.” While previous guidelines required proposals to address intellectual merit and broader impact within the one-page summary preceding the main proposal, the new guidelines are more explicit, requiring proposers to now include individual stand-alone statements on intellectual merit and broader impacts within the Project Summary. Additionally, proposers must also include a specific section within the Project Description that directly addresses the broader impact of the proposed research.

Keeping in mind that proposals also require a supplemental document describing your Data Management Plan, consider the potential benefits and advantages of interconnecting your data management strategy with your objectives for achieving broader impact. For example:

  • Data sharing. Data that is openly shared with the community can be utilized by multiple researchers for a variety of applications and thus have greater impact than just a single project. Data sharing also increases the awareness of and number of publications citing the research that created the data.
  • Class development. Project data that is utilized for class development and classroom exercises expands impact related to student engagement and education. Student involvement can also be extended to incorporate different aspects of data collection and processing tasks.
  • Learning modules. The development of training tools and learning modules based on project data can add even greater dimension to the impact on education, particularly when shared openly with the greater scientific community.
  • Additional projects. Utilizing data across multiple projects, as well as for multiple proposal efforts, increases impact across a greater range of scientific objectives. Exploring alternative uses for data can also spur new research ideas and encourage interdisciplinary project development.

Data can be extremely valuable, so be sure to leverage its full potential when proposing new projects and expanding the impact of your current research. It benefits both you and the community.

This is Part 3 of a discussion series on data management and data sharing related to government funded research. Visit Part 1 and Part 2 to read the earlier installments of this storyline.

For more information on the NSF Merit Review process: http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/merit_review/

Open Access Spectral Libraries – Online resources for obtaining in situ spectral data

Coral SpectraThere are many different analysis techniques used in remote sensing, ranging from the simple to complex. In imaging spectrometry, i.e. hyperspectral remote sensing, a common technique is to utilize measured field or laboratory spectra to drive physics-based image classification and material detection algorithms. Here the measured spectra are used as representative examples of the materials and species that are assumed present in the remote sensing scene. Spectral analysis techniques can then be used to ascertain the presence, distribution and abundance of these materials and species throughout an image.

In most cases the best approach is to measure field spectra for a given study area yourself using a field-portable spectrometer; however, the time and cost associated with such fieldwork can oftentimes be prohibitive. Another alternative is to utilize spectral libraries, which contain catalogs of spectra already measured by other researchers.

Below are examples of open access spectral libraries that are readily available online:

  • The ASTER Spectral Library, hosted by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), contains a compilation of three other libraries, the Johns Hopkins University Spectral Library, the JPL Spectral Library and the USGS Spectral Library. The ASTER library currently contains over 2400 spectra and can be ordered in its entirety via CD-ROM or users can also search, graph and download individual spectra online.
  • The SPECCHIO Spectral Library is an online database maintained by the Remote Sensing Laboratories in the Department of Geography at University of Zurich. Once users have registered with the system to create an account, the SPECCHIO library can be accessed remotely over the internet or alternatively downloaded and installed on a local system. The library is designed specifically for community data sharing, and thus users can both download existing data and upload new spectra.
  • The Vegetation Spectral Library was developed by the Systems Ecology Laboratory at the University of Texas at El Paso with support from the National Science Foundation. In addition to options to search, view and download spectra, this library also helpfully includes photographs of the actual species and materials from which the data was measured. Registered users can also help contribute data to further expand the archive.
  • The ASU Spectral Library is hosted by the Mars Space Flight Facility at Arizona State University, and contains thermal emission spectra for numerous geologic materials. While the library is designed to support research on Mars, the spectra are also applicable to research closer to home here on Earth.
  • The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is currently building the HyspIRI Ecosystem Spectral Library. This library is still in its development phase, and hence contains only a limited number of spectra at this time. Nonetheless, it is expected to grow, since the library was created as a centralized resource for the imaging spectrometry community to contribute and share spectral measurements.

It is doubtless that other spectral libraries exist and that many thousands of additional spectra have been measured for individual research projects. It is expected that more and more of this data will be available online and more uniform collection standards will be adopted, particularly as airborne and space-based hyperspectral sensors continue to become more prevalent.

Searching for other remote sensing data resources? Check out these earlier posts on resources for obtaining general remote sensing imagery as well as imaging spectrometry and lidar data.