Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What is EarthCube?

Many of you may have received emails asking you to fill out a survey for EarthCube - in fact we have posted the call for the survey on this blog as well. When you received the email, you may have thought "What is EarthCube anyway?"

The survey states "EarthCube is a bold, new, NSF initiative to create an integrated data and knowledge management system that extends across the geosciences." On the EarthCube website, currently there are hundreds of scientists and cyberinfrastructurists who have organized into groups such as "Data Discovery, Mining, Integration," "Semantics and Ontologies," "Interoperability," and "Education and Workforce Development." (See all Groups.) At this early stage, they are creating roadmaps of how to make progress on their particular topics.

What does this mean for a disciplinary scientist like a sediment experimentalist? The products of the EarthCube effort will be apps, web services, and resources that help you to do science in a more efficient and effective way. But before the products are built, your input into what types of data you collect and use, how you interact with it, and what you want to do, will help the programmers and computer scientists to develop the products. Think about your favorite data resources today - high resolution topography (USGS, OpenTopography), hydrograph data (USGS), geophysical data (IRIS, EarthScope), models (CSDMS, CIG), and publications (ScienceDirect, Web of Knowledge, Google Scholar) - what would it take for these entities to work in concert so that you can seamlessly access and discover the information that you need?

Here at the Sediment Experimentalists site, we hope to facilitate the communication between our scientific community and the EarthCube effort. Don't hesitate to ask any questions in the comments or by email ( As a first step, you can take a look at the EarthCube site:, and register as a participant or join a mailing list.

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