From Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP)

Frequently asked questions

How do I join the Federation? Organizations that can contribute to the advancement of the Federation are welcome to apply for Federation membership. A membership application can be downloaded from the Partnership wiki page. The application procedure consists of answering questions about your potential contributions to the Federation community. Once an application is submitted, membership is voted upon by the entire assembly membership. There is no charge to join or participate in the Federation. Membership is granted only to organizations, rather than individuals.

How can I participate in the Federation? A typical member attends semi-annual Meetings and participates in regular telecons of interest to them. These collaborations tend to fall into three categories: Societal Benefit Areas (air quality, climate, etc.), Data and Informatics (Preservation and Stewardship, Information Technology, etc.), and Education/Outreach. Our main wiki page provides links to these collaborative activities.

What are the benefits of attending a Federation meeting? A survey of recent Meeting attendees found that 88% went for the purposes of Networking and 82% went for Idea exchange. Unlike a scientific meeting, Federation Meetings encourage communication across participants.

What activities take place at the semi-annual Meetings? Meetings typically include some or all of the following:

Technical Workshops - tutorials where technical information is shared by experts
Breakout tracks - in-depth, parallel tracks typically organized by Federation clusters and committees
Open Meeting day - put away your PowerPoints! These are open discussion, often organized at the last minute
Funding Friday - a chance to compete for a small amount of development funds, if you have a good idea that can be conveyed to the membership (who vote on projects to fund)
Plenary talks - the latest in science, technology, and politics, of interest to all.
Business meeting - the venue where formal elections and other business take place.

What is the difference between a Cluster, Working Group, and Committee?

Committees - a formal, permanent entity, with an elected Chair and the ability to manage Federation funds.
Working Group - an informal, wemi-permanent group established by an existing Committee to address specific needs, with some abilities to manage funds.
Cluster - an informal collaboration often with a limited duration, as interest remains intact.

How are meeting activities planned? Any member may contribute to the planning of Meetings. As many Meeting activities are organized by Clusters and Committees, a good way to participate is to take part in telecons of these collaborative groups. Also, you can participate in telecons of the Visioneers Working Group, which helps establish the Meeting format and structure.

How can ESIP members promote their data, services, and climate diagnostics?

One way to promote your data, services, and climate diagnostics is to use the Global Change Master Directory (GCMD). The GCMD is a directory of descriptive information about data sets, services, and climate diagnostics relevant to Earth science and global change research. Data and services descriptions are available from U.S. federal agencies, local and state governments, educational institutions, consortiums, and international science agencies.  People can search the directory and refine their query using one or more of the following options: science keywords, geographic location, spatial coverage, platform, instrument, data center, and project.

The online metadata authoring tool allows you to create and maintain descriptions of your data sets, services, and climate diagnostics and is available at http://gcmd.nasa.gov/User/authoring.html

If you have additional questions about contributing or collaborating with the GCMD, please contact us from our user support page at http://gcmd.nasa.gov/MailComments/.