The community-driven BiG CZ software system for integration and analysis of bio- and geoscience data in the critical zone
Abstract:Here we present the prototypes of a new scientific software system designed around the new Observations Data Model version 2.0 (ODM2, https://github.com/UCHIC/ODM2) to substantially enhance integration of biological and Geological (BiG) data for Critical Zone (CZ) science. The CZ science community takes as its charge the effort to integrate theory, models and data from the multitude of disciplines collectively studying processes on the Earth's surface. The central scientific challenge of the CZ science community is to develop a “grand unifying theory” of the critical zone through a theory-model-data fusion approach, for which the key missing need is a cyberinfrastructure for seamless 4D visual exploration of the integrated knowledge (data, model outputs and interpolations) from all the bio and geoscience disciplines relevant to critical zone structure and function, similar to today’s ability to easily explore historical satellite imagery and photographs of the earth’s surface using Google Earth. This project takes the first “BiG” steps toward answering that need.
The overall goal of this project is to co-develop with the CZ science and broader community, including natural resource managers and stakeholders, a web-based integration and visualization environment for joint analysis of cross-scale bio and geoscience processes in the critical zone (BiG CZ), spanning experimental and observational designs. We will: (1) Engage the CZ and broader community to co-develop and deploy the BiG CZ software stack; (2) Develop the BiG CZ Portal web application for intuitive, high-performance map-based discovery, visualization, access and publication of data by scientists, resource managers, educators and the general public; (3) Develop the BiG CZ Toolbox to enable cyber-savvy CZ scientists to access BiG CZ Application Programming Interfaces (APIs); and (4) Develop the BiG CZ Central software stack to bridge data systems developed for multiple critical zone domains into a single metadata catalog. The entire BiG CZ Software system is being developed on public repositories as a modular suite of open source software projects. It will be built around a new Observations Data Model Version 2.0 (ODM2) that has been developed by members of the BiG CZ project team, with community input, under separate funding.