Showing posts with label Metadata. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Metadata. Show all posts

Friday, August 5, 2011

FGDC Vegetation Subcommittee to be Represented at ESA Meeting

The Vegetation Subcommittee of the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) will be well represented at this year’s Ecological Society of America (ESA) meeting.  The subcommittee responsible for the implementation of the National Vegetation Classification (NVC) is actively engaged in a variety of activities at this year’s annual meeting, which will be held in Austin, TX, from August 6-12.  A diversity of partners work together to implement the NVC, including the U.S. Forest Service, USGS, NatureServe, the Vegetation Classification Panel of the Ecological Society, and all the member agencies represented on the subcommittee.  The meeting will include an NVC related field trip to Pedernales Falls State Park, a vegetation classification workshop, an organized oral session specific to use of the NVC in assessments, and an NVC booth sponsored by the ESA Vegetation Classification Panel. Dr. Alexa McKerrow, NVC implementation manager, as well as FGDC and ESA representatives will be available throughout the week to discuss the new standard and the work of the subcommittee.

Friday, June 17, 2011

USGS Scientist to participate in 26th Session of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) Assembly

On June 28, Mark Fornwall, Manager USGS OBIS-USA, will participate as a member of the U.S. delegation to the Twenty-sixth Session of Assembly of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC). As chair of the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) ad hoc Steering Group, he is needed to participate in consideration of the Group’s recommendations adopted this past March to integrate the OBIS project office within the IOC’s International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) program. Dr. Fornwall manages OBIS-USA, the US component to the international OBIS effort. OBIS serves as the global focal point for the management and integration of marine biogeographic. The OBIS data schema (extension of Darwin Core) is an international standard for sharing and integrating marine biological data (e.g. presence-absence-abundance). OBIS-USA and partners are building a national data resource that will help to address important ocean science and societal issues (climate change, minerals and energy, ecosystems, hazards, health, coastal marine spatial planning are a few examples). USGS; Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOEMRE); U.S. Navy; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); and National Science Foundation (NSF) are key contributors and have supported the program with both data and funding.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Metadata Training To Be Offered in Alaska

On January 21, 2011, the USGS Core Science Systems Biological Informatics Program will offer two Introduction to Metadata workshops in Anchorage, AK, in conjunction with the Alaska Marine Science Symposium. This training is critical for scientists to be able to properly document datasets using approved federal standards so that data can be discovered and reused by other scientists. Metadata records can be accessed through the USGS National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) Metadata Clearinghouse.  (For more information, send an email to Viv Hutchison, USGS, Denver, CO)

(Photo: Black-footed ferret. Photo credit: Paul Marinari.)

Friday, January 29, 2010

USGS and Partners to Help Scientists Deal with Data Deluge

A new global data access program will help scientists deal with the ever-increasing amount of information they must access to understand Earth’s living and nonliving systems.

The program, called DataONE, is a global data access and preservation network created by experts at the ’s National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII), in partnership with many universities. DataONE is the result of a recent 5-year, $20 million award through the National Science Foundation. ONE is short for Observation Network for Earth.

DataONE is committed to ensuring the preservation and access to Earth-observation data across scientific disciplines to make new discoveries that improve life, said Mike Frame, a bioinformatics expert leading the USGS efforts along with Vivian Hutchison, also of the NBII.

Frame noted that the NBII offers DataONE partners expertise in biological informatics: the convergence of the biological sciences, information science and computer technologies.

“We’ve been developing standards and tools for using and integrating data for more than a decade,” said Frame. “With DataONE, our involvement will go beyond the focus on biological resources to include the necessary infrastructure and integration of data needed to confront broader environmental challenges.”

Much work will center on learning how scientists from many areas of study gather and label their data, then identify and develop tools, including software, that allow scientists to more easily access, interpret and use each other’s research.

Those benefiting from DataONE will include scientists, land-managers, policy makers, students, educators and the public. Most importantly, said Frame, DataONE is not an end in itself but a means to serve a broader range of science domains both directly and through interoperability with the DataONE distributed network.

The NBII Program is contributing thousands of metadata and datasets to DataONE through the NBII Metadata Clearinghouse. Through the clearinghouse, users can search detailed descriptions (metadata) of hundreds of different biological datasets and information products. These records describing biological datasets will be combined with metadata contributions from other partners in the DataONE system to provide a foundation for users to identify, access, and analyze data collected across multiple disciplines.

“Even though these datasets were collected to answer specific scientific questions at the time of data development,” said Hutchison, “there may be broader uses for the data, such as for complex analysis needed in climate change research.”

The USGS is the only federal agency participating in this grant. DataONE is led by the University of New Mexico and includes partner organizations across the United States, Europe, Africa, South America, Asia and Australia. It also includes experts from library, computer and environmental sciences to bridge these fields and to develop an infrastructure to serve science and the public at large for decades to come.

About the NBII

A major collaborator in the DataONE project, the NBII is a broad, collaborative program to provide increased access to data and information on the nation's biological resources. Coordinated by the USGS, the NBII links diverse, high‑quality biological databases, information products, and analytical tools maintained by NBII partners and other contributors in government agencies, academic institutions, non‑government organizations and private industry. NBII partners and collaborators also work on new standards, tools and technologies that make it easier to find, integrate and apply biological resources information. Resource managers, scientists, educators and the general public use the NBII to answer a wide range of questions related to the management, use and conservation of U.S. biological resources.

(Photo: DataONE sponsored a kick-off meeting to launch the program (October 2009) in Albuquerque, NM)

Monday, June 29, 2009

NBII Delivers for

In a recent effort coordinated by the USGS Geospatial Information Office (GIO), the NBII was called upon to contribute geospatial datasets for inclusion on is a high priority initiative of the Obama administration, the purpose of which is to increase public access to high value datasets generated by the Executive Branch of the Federal Government. The USGS was asked to provide freely downloadable geospatial datasets to help fulfill a goal of 100,000 datasets in their system in the near term. The NBII contributed over 700 of approximately 2,000 datasets submitted to this initiative by USGS. Prompt response to the call for data was possible through the NBII Metadata Clearinghouse, a searchable system of records describing scientific research, and through the efforts of the USGS Biology Science Centers that contribute to the Clearinghouse by using it to document their work. For more information on the NBII Metadata Clearinghouse, visit <>.

(Photo: screenshot of the NBII Metadata Clearinghouse)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Metadata Goes Global

To promote the establishment of a World Data Center in Africa, the NBII hosted participants from South Africa and Rwanda in Reston, VA, for two weeks of informatics training. A significant piece of launching a data-oriented infrastructure is the establishment of a metadata program. Metadata is a critical component for not only describing and documenting data sets, but is a significant driver in an organization’s ability to share data efficiently. An “Introduction to Metadata” workshop was presented by Viv Hutchison (USGS-NBII) on the first of three days devoted to the topic of metadata. Participants were introduced to the concept of metadata, its value, the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), and the NBII Biological Data Profile. In addition, participants learned about the history of metadata, how profiles and extensions add to the standard, how to write good metadata records, and how to implement a metadata program in an organization. Finally, the participants spent time creating a metadata record using Metavist software. This hands-on experience will empower the South African and Rwandan participants to create their own metadata records once they return to their offices. On the following two days, fresh with new skills in metadata production, the participants engaged in a “Train the Trainer” course taught by Viv Hutchison (NBII) and Kathy Martinolich (NOAA). The workshop focused on building the skills necessary to teach metadata to audiences of their own. After a day of instruction on how to construct solid lesson plans and presentation skills, the participants were asked to create their own lesson plans and present them to their peers. Each person was allowed 10 minutes. The presentation was then followed up by constructive criticism from the class and the instructors. These metadata workshops are a product of the NBII’s Metadata Program, which takes a broad approach to the collection and production of metadata. The NBII maintains a Metadata Clearinghouse that contains over 46,000 records – all of which use the FGDC Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata format, and the majority of which contain the Biological Data Profile (BDP). The BDP was designed by the NBII as a set of extended elements to the FGDC Standard that allow biologists to include information about their research, such as taxonomy, methodology, and analytical tools in their metadata records. The use of the standard is a requirement of federal agencies, thus the need for metadata workshops to teach scientists and data managers how to produce records. Once records are in production, the NBII also offers a quality control service to record creation assistance. The participants from South Africa and Rwanda will have access to all of the tools provided by the NBII Metadata Program as they embark on creating a program of their own. If you are interested in learning more about the NBII Metadata Program or how your organization might engage in some of the activities mentioned in this article, please contact Viv Hutchison or 206-526-6282 x329 for more information.