Vision Document

From Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP)

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The Earth Information Exchange will be an integrated system of distributed components that work together to expedite the process of Earth Science and to increase the effective application of its results to benefit the public. The Exchange will increase collaborative use of data sets, research analysis tools, models, simulations, decision support products and educational materials held in dozens of repositories by Federation partners and by others in the Earth observation community.


The specific objectives of the Earth Information Exchange initiative are:

  • To provide a comprehensive inventory of Earth observation metadata by GEOSS and other commonly used issue area categories.
  • To provide researchers, educators and policy makers with ready access to this metadata over the web, via URLs.
  • To provide researchers with access to data in common scientific data formats such as netCDF and HDF-EOS and common scientific data models such as swath, point and grid.
  • To provide policy makers and others with an e-commerce marketplace where advanced data products (analysis tools, models, simulations, decision support products) can be found and acquired.
  • To provide educators with an e-commerce marketplace where Earth science educational products (DLESE collections, simulations, informational videos, lesson plans) can be found and acquired.
  • To provide researchers, educators and policy makers with a broad inventory of the human resources associated with the Federation and its partners.

General Purpose

As a group, the members of the Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP Federation) hold a significant portion of the public and private remote sensing and in situ data and analysis tools now available in the Earth sciences. The Federation’s strategic goals relating to these holdings are:

  • To promote the efficient integration and flow of Earth science data from collection and analysis to end-use.
  • To improve the quality and usability of Earth science data and information systems.
  • To increase the use of Earth science data and information systems.
  • To increase public awareness about the importance and value of Earth science and Earth science information systems.

Definition of Terms

The Earth Information Exchange will begin as a set of independent elements including the esipfed.og website, Geospatial Onestop, this wiki, and our collaboration section in the GCMD. It is expected to evolve into a "portal of portals" and an "exchange". These terms are defined as follows:

  1. A portal is an access point for multiple independent systems (like a gateway or clearinghouse).
  2. A portal is an aggregator for portlets (likely using JSR-168 standards)
  3. A portal is a launch site or transition point to transport a user and ease movement between knowledge environments (as movement between K-12, undergraduate, and graduate education environments).
  1. An exchange is an integration site that helps coordinate and/or recompose elements from several existing systems for use by specific stakeholders.
  2. An exchange supports exchange of elements between independent systems. The technology involved may range from a simple list of static access points to more integrated RSS, JSR-168, and/or SOA component-based systems.
  3. Advanced exchanges introduce market forces to help users in specific contexts recognize and compare value, as in a stock or commodity exchange.

General Strategy

The Federation’s strategy for meeting these goals are:

  • To embrace the concept of developing a Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS).
  • To serve as a facilitating and coordinating body for the implementation of the Interagency Working Group on Earth Observation’s (IWGEO) “Strategic Plan for the U.S. Integrated Earth Observation System” (now U.S. Group on Earth Observations – US GEO).
  • To support our strategic partners’ and members’ interests in providing improved access to Earth observation data.
  • To serve as the test-bed for the US GEO Working Group on Architecture and Data Management (ADM).
  • To create a prototype “portal-of-portals” – the Earth Information Exchange (EIE) - that is compatible with the GEOSS concept and the work of the ADM.
  • To create “communities of practice” composed of stakeholders from all parts of the Earth observation community that will ensure that the observation data and analysis tools offered in the EIE’s issue areas are of the highest quality.
  • To engage end-users in the planning and implementation of the EIE to ensure that the Earth observation information needs of researchers, educators and policy makers are being met.
  • To educate the public about the importance and value of Earth science and integrated Earth observation systems.