2008-03-12: Community Air Quality Data Systems Telecon

From Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP)

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Conference Call Meeting Notes

Ad Hoc Advisory Committee -- Air Quality Data Summit March 12, 2008, 2:00 – 3:00pm EDT Conference Room C400A Call-in 919-541-1590


  • Rich Scheffe, Chair
  • Jeff Arnold
  • Tim Dye
  • Stefan Falk
  • Dirk Felton
  • Neil Frank
  • Rudy Husar
  • Terry Keating
  • Bill Lamason
  • Phil Lorang
  • David McCabe
  • Shawn McClure
  • Nick Mangus
  • David Mintz
  • Betty Pun
  • Bret Schichtel
  • Uma Shankar
  • Jim Szykman
  • Joe Tikvart


Wednesday, March 26, 2008 in Rm. C400A from 2:00 – 3:00pm EDT; call-in number is 919-541-1590. Conference call meetings are scheduled on a bi-weekly basis through April 2008.

Topics for discussion at the next meeting include:

  • Report on an assessment for providing support to the community – Shankar / Pun / Keating
  • Review status of where we are relative to follow-up from the AQ Data Summit


  • There was general agreement to initially focus on #5 and #7 of the Community Air Quality Data Systems Strategy.


  • Address the diversity of interoperable data standards and make recommendations -- McCabe / Young / Mangus / Dye / Husar
  • Pursue the involvement of NASA (e.g., Frank Lindsay) in this activity


Rich Scheffe began by indicating that this is an initial conference call to address themes from the Air Quality Data Summit. This is not intended to be a closed forum; others who want to engage in the discussion may be invited to attend, either directly on the conference calls or through review and comment on products placed on the wiki. Representatives from Ross & Associates (Louis Sweeney and Rob Willis) are not on the call (due to other commitments), but are expected to be engaged in providing a focus for this advisory committee and establishing a process. At this time, there are three documents on the wiki that provide background information for the committee; they are: (1) an outline for a Community Air Quality Data Systems Strategy, (2) Air Quality Data Summit Meeting Notes from Ross & Associates, and (3) updates on the Data System Connectivity Matrix prepared by Stefan Falk.

As a group, it is necessary for the committee to decide on a basis for proceeding. One approach is to use the Community Air Quality Data Systems Strategy as a “standing agenda”; links are provided from the AQ Data Summit wiki page. Another idea for going forward is to put ideas on paper, which might include a written plan. Some specific opportunities on which to focus are identified in “#7. Early near term opportunities” from the strategy. Similarly, new rules for AirQuest are a possibility as identified in “#5. Desired features/attributes in data bases and systems”.

Some internal EPA activities that might be relevant include:

  • A request for funding – build a bridge from AQS data sets for input to VIEWS;
  • Funding intended for placing output from CMAQ 2002 in a location where users will know where to find it;
  • Use of forums like this to know of other plans;
  • Addressing restrictions on making CMAQ output available to users;
  • The availability of consecutive years of CMAQ outputs (e.g., for 2001 – 2006) that may eventually become available.

What about satellite data? What about addressing health standards? What limitations will the IT orientation of this effort place on what we decide? How do we appropriately address client/user group needs? For example, National Center for Environment Assessment of EPA is interested in health topics as an “interim user”.

There was a general agreement to initially focus on #5 and #7 of the strategy. The Ross report started movement to define things; refinement with help from Ross is necessary to define “rules of the game”. This will be worked through this ad hoc advisory committee. One suggestion was to start with report outs from the summit breakout session on visualization; data bases/systems also need more definition. An important point is that the data summit ended by defining “principles”, not “attributes”.

Another challenge is how to make data useful. There are many kinds of activities beyond the summit that can be considered, e.g. GEOSS. Many groups are involved. How do we find/connect interoperable data? This could be facilitated by participation in and making contributions to the design of GEOSS architecture. It was noted though that GEOSS requires input, but that it doesn’t provide information. However GEOSS was identified as having approximately 5 interoperability standards and 24 data base standards; these could be used. It was also noted that GEO is an ongoing activity that is articulating higher level standards that may not answer all air quality data needs. Our results can be fed back, making it a 2-way street.

Nevertheless, how do we achieve a sharing of data, strategies and GEOSS standards? GEO provides a starting point. Other considerations are U.S. government and EPA architecture rules. These rules are already in place, but there might be conflicts across rules. What rules provide a near-term opportunity? There are broad governance documents versus specificity guidelines. We could identify standards, methods, interoperability through ESIP, and how to more forward to use. In fact, there is an interoperability workspace on the wiki for which there has not yet been an open invitation for widespread participation. To address the diversity of interoperable data standards and to make recommendations, several volunteers agreed to participate, including: David McCabe, Steve Young, Nick Mangus, Tim Dye, and Rudy Husar. More specifically, they will attempt to (1) identify interoperability standards and methods, (2) test, apply and move forward, and (3) build on ESIP and GEO. The interest in data systems should be moved toward the interoperability group.

Conference calls for this ad hoc advisory committee are scheduled for every two weeks to provide a status on where we are. The next call should address interest in an assessment for providing support to the community and defining what we mean by this. Uma Shankar, Betty Pun and Terry Keating volunteered to consider near term opportunities of which Rich should be aware. Uma can participate at the beginning of April. Terry notes that there is no “breaking news”; rules for moving forward are consistent with current activities and there is a need to help with putting pen to paper.

The wiki should be used to provide comments and advice relative to this activity. Also, NASA involvement in this activity (e.g., Frank Lindsay) needs to be pursued).


Conference Call Notes by J. Tikvart