Dawn J. Wrighta, Department of Geosciences, Oregon State University, and
doi: 10.1073/pnas.1103051108 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences April 5, 2011 vol. 108 no. 14 5488-5491
Abstract: Cyberinfrastructure integrates advanced computer, information, and communication technologies to empower computation-based and data-driven scientific practice and improve the synthesis and analysis of scientific data in a collaborative and shared fashion. As such, it now represents a paradigm shift in scientific research that has facilitated easy access to computational utilities and streamlined collaboration across distance and disciplines, thereby enabling scientific breakthroughs to be reached more quickly and efficiently. Spatial cyberinfrastructure seeks to resolve longstanding complex problems of handling and analyzing massive and heterogeneous spatial datasets as well as the necessity and benefits of sharing spatial data flexibly and securely. This article provides an overview and potential future directions of spatial cyberinfrastructure. The remaining four articles of the special feature are introduced and situated in the context of providing empirical examples of how spatial cyberinfrastructure is extending and enhancing scientific practice for improved synthesis and analysis of both physical and social science data. The primary focus of the articles is spatial analyses using distributed and high-performance computing, sensor networks, and other advanced information technology capabilities to transform massive spatial datasets into insights and knowledge.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is requesting public input on its six science strategies: Ecosystems; Energy and Minerals; Environmental Health; Global Change; Natural Hazards; and Water. These strategies will used in setting priorities and implementation planning for future research activities at the agency, which was reorganized in 2010.
Some of the USGS programs that support these science strategies include:
Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC)
The Federal Geographic Data Committee is an interagency committee that promotes the coordinated development, use, sharing, and dissemination of geospatial data on a national basis. This nationwide data publishing effort is known as the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). The NSDI is a physical, organizational, and virtual network designed to enable the development and sharing of this nation’s digital geographic information resources. FGDC activities are administered through the FGDC Secretariat, hosted by the U.S. Geological Survey.
Land Remote Sensing (LRS)
The Land Remote Sensing Program operates the Landsat satellites and provides the Nation’s portal to the largest archive of remotely sensed land data in the world, supplying access to current and historical images. These images serve many purposes from assessing the impact of natural disasters to monitoring global agricultural production.
National Geospatial Program
The National Geospatial Program (NGP) organizes, maintains, and publishes the geospatial baseline of the Nation’s topography, natural landscape, and built environment. The baseline is The National Map, a set of databases of map data and information from which customers can download data and derived map products and use web-based map services. Through the Geospatial Liaison Network, the NGP works with cooperators to share the costs of acquiring and maintaining these geospatial data. The National Atlas of the United States of America®, the small-scale component of The National Map, fosters an understanding of broad geographic patterns, trends, and conditions useful for national assessments. The Federal Geographic Data Committee promotes consistent data and metadata standards, system interoperability, and cross-government best business practices for geospatial resources, policies, standards, and technology as part of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure.