Draft Excom Minutes

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ESIP Federation Executive Committee, September 9, 2010


  • Chris Lenhardt
  • Karl Benedict
  • Rob Raskin
  • Steve Berrick
  • Michael Goodman
  • Annette Schloss
  • Peter Fox
  • Carol Meyer
  • Brian Rogan

The meeting was called to order by Vice President Lenhardt at 2:06 pm.

1. Adoption of Minutes
A point of order was offered by Chris Lenhardt to note the last meeting (in Knoxville) was not an official meeting. Instead, it was a working meeting for which no minutes were taken. The May minutes were considered, with Karl Benedict offering a motion to adopt the minutes (seconded by Chris Lenhardt). Without further discussion, the minutes were approved by acclamation.

2. Summer Meeting Debrief
Carol Meyer led a discussion about the summer meeting, including a summary of evaluation results presented by Brian Rogan. The ensuing discussion raised some questions about additional data to capture from the survey results including:

  • Can the organizations represented by new attendees be identified? (i.e. are these new organizations or new people?)
  • In the future, can we capture posters as pdf submissions? (so that data from the posters can be mined for metrics, institutional memory, collaborations)
  • Can the registration system include a question about first time attendee status? (so that we can gauge interest in an ESIP 101 session)

The ESIP 101 session was lightly attended. Jim Frew gave the overview presentation. A number of questions were asked during the session. There was a general sense that this session should be offered at future ESIP Federation meetings, perhaps on the first day of future meetings.

3. Winter Meeting Update
Planning for the Winter 2011 is just underway, with the Visioneers having met only one time. The Visioneers are leaning toward a theme that builds off of our tagline, Making Data Matter. The overall vision for the meeting is to provide a framework for evaluating the value of data. This topic is thought to be very relevant for the community, with the ESIP Federation potentially providing training as a service to the community. NASA, NOAA and NSF are known to be interested in this topic. There was a discussion of evaluation as a theme with several important points being made:

  • There has been an ongoing conversation with the director of George Washington University’s Evaluators Institute. There is great interest in engaging this group in the hope that they will help our community improve the evaluations done for projects. There is interest in having a framework for earth science program evaluation (or a set of frameworks). Additional conversations have led to a discussion about an intensive evaluation workshop at a future ESIP Federation meeting. The ESIP There is also a winter institute and anyone who might be interested should contact Carol.
  • Chris Lenhardt mentioned that people might initially have a hard time seeing Evaluation as a worthwhile topic in and of itself, but many PIs and others who could find value but how to determine the value would need to be demonstrated.
  • Michael Goodman discussed what the DAACs do for evaluation. Carol mentioned that ESIP doesn’t have as well defined a base as the DAACs and it probably would present some challenges to try and replicate it within the context of the ESIP Federation.
  • There was consensus that what we are really looking for are impact metrics or “customer service” metrics; how well do we serve our larger constituency and what is the return on investment?

The Visioneers are still developing the theme. The meeting page and registration system are under development, with an expectation that registration will open in mid- to late-October. The next visioneers call is September 20, with bi-weekly meetings expected through October.

4. Preview of the Summer Meeting
Carol and Karl Benedict recently spent time to scout out the 2011 summer meeting venue. Surprisingly, the University of New Mexico doesn’t have nearby hotel lodging. The university facilities are very attractive but the lack of nearby housing is a shortcoming. Unexpectedly, space was available in Santa Fe, NM and two local hotels offered the federal per diem rate for the duration of the meeting. The traditional meeting dates were changed to accommodate the move to Santa Fe and will be the week of July 11th. It was pointed out that this meeting will be the same week as ESRI’s annual users’ conference. The consensus was that there would not be too much overlap between the two meetings.

5. Funding Updates

  • The ESIP Federation has been awarded another small EPA grant to support the 2010 summer meeting
  • The NOAA grant is making its way through the grants process. In the process, it was inadvertently designated as a grant rather than a cooperative agreement., thus creating some delays because of how the proposal was written. This has been cleared up and we don’t expect any further red flags to be raised.
  • Year three of the NASA cooperative agreement is in place.

6. Outreach
The ESIP Federation attended IGARSS this year and had an exhibit. There is one new partnership application that came out of the meeting. In the course of staffing the booth, Carol had a conversation with Hans-Peter Plag, who works closely with the GEO Science and Technology Committee (STC). He noted that he and others had been trolling the Federation’s wiki (especially the work of the Data Preservation and Stewardship Cluster). The information gleaned included a report that the STC was utilizing information related to data citation as a starting point for its own discussions. Hans-Peter asked that the ESIP Federation send a representative to the next STC meeting to inform that GEO committee of the on-going work being done by members and the ESIP Federation community. Mark Parsons agreed to represent the ESIP Federation at the meeting on data citation and data quality issues.
Chris and Carol met with Brian Wee, the outreach person of NEON. NEON is expected to submit an application to join the ESIP Federation. Also, Brian is open to helping the ESIP Federation get in the door at both NSF and USGS. Carol and Karl Benedict met with the PI of the NSF DataOne project. DataOne also is expected to submit and application for membership.
Chris and Carol briefed the NOAA Environmental Data Management Committee, an internal NOAA Committee that is tasked with developing common practices for data management within the agency. All of NOAA’s line offices are represented on the Committee. NOAA seems to be eager to work with the ESIP Federation and use us as a resource for helping the agency meet its internal data management goals.
There is a national geoinformatics community trying to form and there will be an organizing meeting later in the month. Carol and Jim Frew will represent the ESIP Federation at the meeting.

7. New Activities
There are a several new clusters being formed or considered:

  • An Information and Data Quality Cluster led by Greg Leptoukh and a Data and Visualization Cluster led by Kevin Ward have been created.
  • There also has been a discussion about the formation of a new Provenance Cluster. The hold up is related to whether this new cluster would be independent or remain part of the Data Preservation and Stewardship Cluster. The consensus seems to be that it be the latter.
  • The Education Committee is looking to propose formation of a Climate Education Working Group at its next telecon, September 16th.

8. Strategic Plan and Metrics Discussion
Carol described the results from the July metrics discussion at the summer meeting and inquired if the notes adequately captured the essence of the discussion and if the discussion results are leading us down the correct path. The general sense of the discussion was that there is a lot of currency in the ESIP Federation, which is not being fully promoted or captured. Much discussion centered on how we promote what we do and how we capture knowledge generated in the ESIP Federation context. Next Steps:

  • Data and information mining from existing sources:
  • poster abstracts and the posters themselves
  • minutes for the different activities of the ESIP Federation
  • meeting surveys
  • interviews with people who participate in the ESIP Federation
  • Formalize how committees report on their activities and what they should be concerned about. There should be some guidance from the groups so that what is returned is useful.
  • Create an ESIP Federation elevator speech and communications plan.
  • new website to be launched
  • wiki clean up
  • Develop Winter meeting theme focused on evaluation.

Chris mentioned that much of this has a marketing or PR feel to it. How can this content be repackaged to put the best face of the organization forward? In addition to having the evaluation folks coming in, it might be useful to have a PR firm come in and help put together a way to help solicit this information on a regular basis. Federation staff will be the ones to massage the content and put it in the form needed.
Steve asked if there were processes to distilling content on the wiki to put in the main website. This would include the work of the groups, papers being worked on. Some point it would be nice to have a process to vetting that material to make it public. Carol mentioned that as part of the website redevelopment, guidance is to be drawn up to help determine what the relationship between the content on the wiki and the website should be.
Chris suggested that we are at a good point to get a definitive date after the winter meeting to move forward. We need to determine what we will do next. We are currently at a good point to go into a holding pattern and then really focus on the winter meeting so that we get what we really want out of it in terms of speakers and sessions.
We want to put together a meeting that is responsive to what we really want. We need to be sure we refine what we are looking to accomplish. Carol urged the members of the Executive Committee to be involved in the Visioneers telecons.

9. Other Business
The Partnership Committee held a forum at the summer meeting to understand the community’s interest in changing ESIP types (or eliminating them). The consensus from the discussion was to keep the ESIP types but to refine their definitions. The Partnership Committee will develop a proposal for consideration at the January meeting.

Peter Fox made a motion to end the meeting (seconded by Steve Berrick). The meeting adjourned at 3:10 PM