GEOSS AIP Response
Community Components for the Air Quality Scenario in the GEO Architecture Implementation Pilot – Phase 2 (AIP-2)
The ESIP Air Quality Cluster has recently initiated the development of software components of which purpose is to provide specific software support for data sharing and data usage. These include: a community catalog, community portal and metadata workspaces. These components are being developed to support the general air quality community, broad interagency participation, persistency and applicability to multiple air quality-related applications. The ESIP AQ Cluster contributes toward the three aspects of AIP-II :
- Supporting the development of the AIP SBA Scenario for Air Quality
- Establishing a set of persistent “operational, research and technical exemplars” services that support the GEOSS societal benefit areas (AIP CFP)
- Modifying the GCI architecture by providing community interfaces for adding and accessing data. It is hoped that the feedback from Phase II of AIP will help in improving these components.
Many of the Cluster’s participants will be contributing to the GEOSS AIP through their respective individual organizations and the Cluster’s GEOSS participation will complement those contributions with community-driven efforts. The Cluster is uniquely positioned to serve as an intermediary between the air quality community and GEOSS because of its established network of air quality scientists, managers and information technology expertise. The Cluster provides the neutral forum and environment to conduct the GEOSS air quality community activities that inherently require cross-organization coordination or a neutral entity to foster networking, such as providing human technical assistance in using and implementing the GEOSS standards. Because of its multi-organization participation and community-driven nature, the Air Quality Cluster is considering a role in the formation of a GEOSS Air Quality Community of Practice, per recommendation from Gary Foley, co-chair of the GEOSS User Interface Committee. Therefore, the Cluster is proposed as a forum during the AIP to align air quality scenario participation with the AIP objectives.
Societal Benefit Area Alignment and Support
The AIP-II CFP emphasizes, "[d]o not assume a single participant development or demonstration; rather the developments will show how the various components can interoperate to produce results unique to coordinated activity of the participants." The alignment with SBAs is a community effort. Currently, only ad hoc, serendipitous coordination of various components occurs in order to produce targeted societal benefits; there is no formal method for the coordination, such as there is for the evolving Architecture through the GEOSS Architecture & Data Committee (ADC). The GEOSS User Interface Committee (UIC) Communities of Practice could provide a platform to coordinate efforts among AIP participant contributions providing structure and governance to the task of producing unique results to support the societal benefit area.
The ESIP Air Quality Cluster is uniquely positioned to serve as an Community of Practice intermediary between the air quality community and GEOSS committees because of its established network of key stakeholders which include users, i.e. the people who benefit from system, developers who construct the system, acquirers who contract and pay for the system, testers who evaluate system for suitability, sustainers who keep the system up to date, trainers who insure that the users know how to use it and researchers who provide the next generation of ideas. Because of its multi-organization participation and community-driven nature, the Air Quality Cluster is considering a role in the formation of a GEOSS Air Quality Community of Practice, per recommendation from Gary Foley, co-chair of the GEOSS User Interface Committee.
An initial Societal Benefit Area Scenario for Air Quality was created during the CFP development phase . One of the objectives for the AIP kick-off workshop Kickoff page is, "[t]o develop user scenarios suitable for directing development of Operational Exemplars." For the continued air quality scenario development, the ESIP Air Quality Cluster could offer a neutral forum and open environment to conduct the GEOSS air quality community activities that inherently require cross-organization coordination or a neutral entity to foster networking, such as providing human technical assistance in using and implementing the GEOSS standards. Furthermore, many of the Cluster’s participants will be contributing to the GEOSS AIP through their respective individual organizations and the Cluster’s GEOSS participation will complement those contributions with community-driven efforts.
Component and Service Contributions
The Cluster plans to work with the other AIP participants in the air quality scenario in three activities for the GEOSS Air Quality Community: Catalogs, Portal and Metadata workspaces. These components will allow the air quality community to more easily interface with GEOSS Common Infrastructure (GCI).
Air Quality Community Catalog
Community catalogs are created through harvesting metadata from data system catalogs, individual datasets already available to the air quality community, and reusable services and workflows (composite services) that have been developed by members of the community. In that sense, an air quality community catalog is an aggregator of air quality metadata records from other catalogs. We do not anticipate the air quality community catalog for AIP-PhaseII to be a fully functioning, stand-alone OGC CS/W. In particular, it is unlikely to include its own search capability. Instead, the focus will be on its role as a metadata mediator; allowing community service providers to provide their service metadata and community service users to access relevant metadata. One benefit that contributors to a community catalog receive is that it is expected to interface with the broad, cross-domain GEOSS clearinghouse and registries.
ESIP has created wiki-based metadata records (see metadata workspaces) for air quality related data access services accessible through DataFed. We plan to expand the usability of these metadata records and incorporate the ESIP Portal’s standards-based catalog access capabilities to create an initial catalog that allows other catalogs to access air quality metadata records in FGDC, ISO 19115, and SERF formats and that is able access metadata records from other catalogs containing air quality relevant metadata, such as the GEOSS Clearinghouse. We intend to include user interfaces in the air quality community portal (see community portal below) to the GEOSS Clearinghouse, which has the content and URL references to the community metadata spaces.
Air Quality Community Portal
The GEOSS Common Infrastructure includes three GEOSS Portals for accessing environmental data. Community portals are envisioned to provide communities with a domain-specific interface to GEOSS. ESIP plans to create an air quality community portal based on previous work in developing an ESIP Portal and an air emissions portal (NEISGEI), both using the Open Source portal development of Liferay. The air quality community portal will incorporate semantic search features from the ESIP Portal and Web 2.0 collaboration features from the NIESGEI portal. The Cluster will coordinate with other AIP participants with experience in air quality portals with the objective to reuse the relevant features of all portals and to pursue interoperability across the portals.
The NEISGEI portal (www.neisgei.org) has been developed through support from EPA and NASA and is targeted at the air emissions community. It serves as a metadata aggregator for air pollutant emissions inventory datasets, data analyses, publications, and web tools. Metadata records entered in the portal with an associated URL and keyword tags are automatically registered with delicious using the delicious API. Analyses conducted through some web applications are saved as metadata records in the portal, including information about the tool used, its analysis setting, and datasets involved. By creating a metadata record in the portal for the analysis, others can 'jump' back to the tool to view or modify the analysis or use the portal to comment on the analysis. RSS is used as a mechanism to share content between the portal and other web sites. For example, the ESIP air quality metadata workspace entries are exposed through RSS and therefore accessible and viewable from within the portal. We plan to work with the GEOSS AIP air quality group to identify the appropriate features in NEISGEI to reuse in the air quality community portal.
An important characteristic of the community portals is their interoperability with other community portals and the GEOSS portals. We plan to pursue options in the exchange of information between portals involved in the GEOSS AIP. Some options include the standards RSS, Web Services for Remote Portals (WSRP), and Java Portlet Specifications (JSR-168 and JSR-286).
Air Quality Community Metadata Workspaces
Metadata workspaces are hybrid structured and unstructured wiki pages dedicated to registered datasets and services. Currently, only dataset metadata workspaces, DataSpaces, have been created but it is expected that there will be metadata workspaces of a similar form created for processing services. DataSpaces include structured dataset descriptions, data lineage, and data quality information such as provider, parameters, platform and time period. These workspaces are also designed to harvest unstructured user-contributed contextual metadata relevant to a dataset, such as publications referencing the dataset or web applications using the dataset, and connect data providers, mediators and users (shown by dotted blue lines in Fig. 1). We would like to encourage air quality scenario participants to use the metadata workspaces throughout the Pilot to explore its utility in supporting individual and group SBA efforts.
Architecture and Interoperability Arrangement Development
The community-developed components (catalog, portal and metadata workspaces) are developed to interface with the GEOSS Common Infrastructure (Fig.1). Part of the community development effort during AIP-Phase II will include establishing standards-based connections among the three components and components within the GEOSS Common Infrastructure. The community catalog extracts metadata records from the metadata workspaces. The community catalog would be registerd as a component in the GEOSS Registry and its metadata content harvested by the GEOSS clearinghouse. The community portal will provide AQ community domain specific data and metadata to the users by accessing the GEOSS portals and the GEOSS clearinghouse.
It is hoped that these interfaces to the GCI will enable users to better share their data and tools as well as access the data and tools of others.
Description of Responding Organization
The Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP Federation) is a broad-based community drawn from agencies and individuals who collectively provide end-to-end handling for Earth and environmental science data and information. By providing a neutral forum in which all Earth and environmental science stakeholders can meet on a peer basis, the ESIP Federation fosters collaborations and technical innovations aimed at making Earth and environmental science information more useful and accessible and work towards goals that no single organization alone can adequately address.
The Air Quality Cluster has formed over the past 3 years to build connections among air quality data providers and data users. The AQ Cluster brings people and ideas together to facilitate technologies and IT architecture for improving the flow of earth science data to air quality management. Active participants in the Cluster include university air quality researchers, government air quality managers and decision makers, information science and technology experts, and air quality data tools developers. The broad range of information users, create a user-driven space for describing, documenting, and providing feedback about the many datasets and tools for adding values to data, and provide a forum for individual projects interested in using and/or sharing services. As a result, the work of the Cluster promotes contributions to the creation of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). Recent activities of the Cluster include co-organizing, with EPA and NASA, an NO2 Data Synthesis Workshop, hosting a collaborative wiki to support an EPA Air Quality Data Summit and follow-on efforts, and helping draft the Air Quality Scenario for the GEOSS Architecture Implementation Pilot.
The diverse multi-organization participation of the Cluster and its associated expertise also allow it to bridge the activities of the GEOSS Architecture Data Committee (ADC) and the GEOSS User Interface Committee (UIC), which have had only limited coordination to this point. The ADC is coordinating the GEOSS AI Pilot while the UIC addresses issues in meeting community user requirements for GEOSS. The creation of air quality community components in the GEOSS AI Pilot will involve coordination with both the ADC and UIC.