Draft Strategic Plan - 5/19/08 Version
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. The ESIP Federation was founded in 1998 by NASA in response to a National Research Council (NRC) review of the Earth Observation System Data and Information System (EOSDIS). During its 10-year history, the ESIP Federation has evolved from its original 24 partners to more than 100 partners at present.
In the strategic plan that follows, the ESIP Federation has updated its vision since its last plan in 2004. The 2004 strategic plan positioned the ESIP Federation to become a recognized forum for community interactions between data managers, scientists, applications developers, educators and users of Earth science data and information. The 2008 strategic plan focuses on the implementation of the vision outlined in 2004.
The 2008 strategic plan recognizes that the ESIP Federation is uniquely positioned to respond to the growing need for information to solve the Earth’s pressing environmental problems and the public’s interest in making better use of science information. The ESIP Federation’s strength continues to come from its diverse partner organizations, including all NOAA, NASA and USGS Earth observing data centers, government research laboratories, research universities, modelers, education resource providers, technology developers, nonprofits and commercial enterprises. The growth of the community has attracted funding from 3 federal agencies and the promise of others is just over the horizon.
The following strategic plan will guide the ESIP Federation for five years (2008-2013) and will be complemented by annual work plans put forth by committees, working groups and clusters from within the ESIP Federation. The strategic plan will be a living document, responding to community input throughout its life and reflecting the priorities set by partners who participate in ESIP Federation activities.
To provide Earth science data, information and knowledge that is responsive to societal needs.
To support the cyberinfrastructure needs of our members and the broader community by linking the functional sectors of observation, research, application and ultimate use of Earth science.
Goals and Objectives
GOAL 1: Increase the use and value of Earth science data and information.
- Demonstrate use through community-vetted demos, pilots and applications
- Develop an understanding of communities’ needs through outreach to user communities. (e.g. decision makers, teachers, students)
- Reduce barriers between data providers and data users through IT, training, and standards education (technical workshops, outreach)
- Provide mechanisms for community review of data, products, applications and other resources.
- Develop and share alternative approaches to sustaining Earth science data and information networks.
- Tell the story of how a product makes an impact from beginning to end (value chain).
GOAL 2: Act as a facilitating, coordinating and advisory community-led organization to promote the use of Earth science data and information for our members, sponsors and the broader community.
- Foster interactions among communities of Earth science data providers, researchers, technology developers, educators and those who put their products to practical use.
- Promote use of technical standards and best practices for data management, stewardship and application development.
GOAL 3: Continue to evolve the ESIP Federation (e.g., governance, structure, staffing) to strengthen the ties between Observations, Research and Applications.
- Recognize and encourage new leadership.
- Embrace technology to support community interaction.
- Establish metrics on organizational performance.
GOAL 4: Promote techniques to articulate and measure the socioeconomic value and benefit of Earth science data, information and applications. (e.g., feedback to sponsors – value of their investment)
- Create impact metrics on the value of Earth Science data and information.
- Develop metrics to describe the linkages between Observation, Research and Applications.
- Recognize and promote best practices for providing feedback to sponsors.
Historic Overview (1998-2008)
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. The ESIP Federation was founded in 1998 by NASA in response to a National Research Council (NRC) review of the Earth Observation System Data and Information System (EOSDIS). The NRC called on NASA to develop a new, distributed structure that would be operated and managed by the Earth science community that would include those responsible for all elements of Earth observation, including observation, research, and ultimately, application and education.
Beginning with 24 partners that were funded by NASA, the ESIP Federation's purpose was to experiment with and evolve methods to make Earth science data easy to preserve, locate, access and use by a broad community that was intended to include research, education, and commercial interests. NASA adopted a deliberate and incremental approach in developing the Federation by starting with a limited set of working prototype projects called ESIPs, representing both the research and applications development communities. These prototype projects were joined by the NASA data centers to form the core of the early ESIP Federation and were responsible for creating its governing structures and the collaborative community it is today. The ESIP Federation began as a distributed organization that is linked primarily by the Internet (i.e., a virtual organization), continuing successfully to this day to provide an evolving mechanism by which the community could voluntarily come together and act to define and serve their collective best interests.
By 2001, the ESIP Federation created a nonprofit corporation called the Foundation for Earth Science (Foundation). Through a Memorandum of Understanding with the ESIP Federation, the Foundation provided management support to the ESIP Federation as it moved from an operational prototype to an independent organization. In 2002, Foundation staff was hired to support the work of the ESIP Federation. The Foundation helped create operating policies for the ESIP Federation and facilitated the development of its first strategic plan, adopted by the ESIP Federation’s Assembly in 2004.
The 2004 strategic plan reflected the evolving role that the ESIP Federation sought to play in the ensuing years, reflecting the broadening of the ESIP Federation’s base from its original core to its then 75 partners. NOAA’s data centers joined the ESIP Federation, further broadening its scope and position as a growing community voice. The 2004 Strategic Plan was intended to raise the visibility of Earth science information and position the ESIP Federation to improve its data and information delivery infrastructure. The 2004 Strategic Plan conveyed a vision that served as an important rallying point around which the ESIP Federation sharpened its focus and continued its growth.
As the ESIP Federation entered its second decade, it became obvious that, as a consequence of its continued evolution, it was time to revisit the strategic planning process. Beginning in July 2007 in Madison, Wisconsin, a Strategic Planning Working Group was formed to develop a new vision of the ESIP Federation in its second decade. This decade will capitalize on the growth of the ESIP Federation and its concomitant diversification of its funding.
The 2008 strategic plan celebrates the special status the ESIP Federation occupies as a 10-year old organization, having employed a variety of tools to facilitate communication and interaction using both traditional and virtual tools. The 2008 strategic plan recognizes that the ESIP Federation is uniquely positioned to respond to the growing need for information to solve the Earth’s pressing environmental problems and the public’s interest in making better use of science information. The ESIP Federation’s strength continues to come from its more than 100 partner organizations, including all NOAA, NASA and USGS Earth observing data centers, government research laboratories, research universities, modelers, education resource providers, technology developers, nonprofits and commercial enterprises. The organization will rely on its internal communities to set priorities for the implementation of the ESIP Federation’s strategic plan.