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Developing Australian Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network Data Discovery Portal

Siddeswara Guru 1 , Stuart Phinn 1 , Duncan Dickinson 2 , Ben Davies 3 , Craig Walker 4 , Dewi Wahyuni 5 , Eva van Gorsel 6 , Jonathan Hodge 6 , Jim Deed 4 , Marco Fahmi 5 , Matt Paget 6 , Nikki Thurgate 4 , Peter Isaac 7 , Peter Wilson 6 , Tim Clancy 1

1 Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network, Brisbane, Australia, s.guru, s.phinn, t.clancy@uq.edu.au

2 Queensland Cyber Infrastructure Foundation, Brisbane, Australia, d.dickinson@qcif.edu.au. 3 Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, ben.davies@anu.edu.au. 4 University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia, craig.walker, jim.deed, nikki.thurgate@adelaide.edu.au. 5 Queensland University and Technology, Brisbane, Australia, dewi.wahyuni, marco.fahmi@qut.edu.au. 6 CSIRO, Australia, eva.vangorsel, jonathan.hodge, matt.paget, peter.wilson@csiro.au.

7 Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, peter.isaac@monash.edu

INTRODUCTION

The Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) is a network of facilities established and operated to collect, store and distribute ecosystem data. These datasets are of different scales and for different purposes which can be integrated to generate information and knowledge to address complex problems in the environment and ecosystem areas. The TERN is composed of eight facilities which provide data from different disciplines of ecoscience domain. The facilities are AusCover, OzFlux, Multi-Scale Plot Network, Soil and Landscape Grid of Australia, Australian Coastal Ecosystem (ACE), Eco-informatics, Ecosystem Modelling and Scaling Infrastructure (eMAST) and Australian Centre of Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (ACEAS) [1]. The AusCover facility provides Australian biophysical map products and remote sensing time-series, and associated field calibration and validation data at continental scales. The OzFlux facility collects and shares data related to exchanges of carbon dioxide, water vapour and energy between the terrestrial ecosystem and atmosphere. The Multi-Scale Plot Network through sub-facilities AusPlots, Long-Term Ecological Research Network (LTERN) and Australian Supersite Network (ASN) provides plot-based ecological data at different spatial and temporal scales across Australia’s key terrestrial ecosystems. The Soil and Landscape Grid of Australia facility provides a fine-scale grid of functional soil attributes and key landscape features. The Australian Coastal Ecosystem Facility will share long-term coastal related datasets. The Eco-informatics facility provides technical infrastructure for storing and sharing plot-based ecological data and information. The eMAST facility will create and develop an operational research infrastructure enabling datasets from different TERN facilities to be integrated and applied to benchmarking, improving and applying ecosystem models on different applications. The ACEAS facility links ecosystem scientists and environmental managers to improve our understanding and management of Australian ecosystems.

our understanding and management of Australian ecosystems. Figure 1 High-level conceptual diagram of TERN Data

Figure 1 High-level conceptual diagram of TERN Data Discovery Portal

Apart from eMAST and ACEAS, the primary goal of the TERN facilities is to collect and disseminate data and related metadata. Figure 1 provides the high-level conceptual diagram of TERN facilities, scope of their data collection and interaction with other facilities. The diversity in the datasets acquired and managed by facilities mandates that each

Melbourne, Australia

6-10 Nov 2011

5th eResearch Australasia Conference

facility uses different formats, structures and delivery mechanisms to store and disseminate datasets. In certain facilities, user communities will have preferences for the data and metadata formats, and delivery mechanisms based on community standards. Therefore, facilities have developed their own data management framework that will give access to data and related metadata for scientists, policy makers and public. For example, the AusCover facility stores data in a Climate and Forecast (CF) compliant NetCDF (Network Common Data Form) format and publishes via THREDDS/OPeNDAP server, and the Geonetwork-based MEST (Metadata Entry and Search Tool) is used to harvest and publish metadata based on ISO 19115 standards [2]. Whereas, the Eco-informatics facility has taken a completely different approach where the data portal is based on semantic technologies with data described with rich contextual information in a structured manner. In this approach, metadata is an integral part of data and are called collections and these collections are mapped to an ontological model [3]. Based on user queries, data and metadata could be generated in different formats and standards respectively from the collections.

TERN DATA DISCOVERY PORTAL

The TERN Data Discovery Portal will enable data across TERN facilities to be discoverable from a single platform. The TERN portal is a metadata catalogue of research data built by regularly harvesting metadata records from all the TERN facility portals in the Registry Interchange Format Collections and Services (RIF-CS) format, using Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH), a lightweight harvesting protocol for sharing metadata between services. The RIF-CS format is used due to its flexible structure to accommodate different metadata schema used by TERN facilities. The metadata information available in the TERN portal will consist of descriptive information about the datasets, information about data custodians and links to facility portals and/or details about how to access data. Figure 2 shows the high-level architecture of the TERN portal, its functionalities and system interactions with other facility portals. In the TERN data discovery portal, users can conduct textual and graphical searches on the metadata catalogue using a web interface with temporal, spatial, and ecoscience related controlled vocabulary keywords. Requests to download data discovered through the portal are serviced by an individual TERN facility hosting the data. Downloading, using and sharing data will be subjected to the TERN data licensing framework, which is under development. A set of APIs will be developed for the research community to machine query TERN’s available data to develop applications. The APIs can also be used by other organisations to discover TERN-wide data to conduct national and continental scale inter-disciplinary experiments and analyses.

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ANDS RDA Users Research Tools
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Figure 2 High-level Architecture of the working of TERN Data Discovery Portal

REFERENCES

1. Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network. Available from http://www.tern.org.au, accessed 30 Sept 2011.

2. AusCover Data Portal. Available from: http://data.auscover.org.au, accessed 30 Sept 2011.

3. Australian Ecological Knowledge and Observation System Data Portal. Available from:

http://demo.aekos.org.au/aekos, accessed 30 Sept 2011. This site currently requires a user-id and password due to licensing constraints.

Melbourne, Australia

6-10 Nov 2011

5th eResearch Australasia Conference

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Siddeswara Guru is the Data Integration and Synthesis Coordinator for TERN and ACEAS. Prior to this, he worked as a Postdoctoral fellow in CSIRO Tasmanian ICT Centre and Data Management Officer in CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Hobart. Stuart Phinn is the Professor in the school of Geography Planning and Environmental Management and he is the TERN Director. Prof. Phinn is a geographer who uses satellite and airborne imaging systems to develop approaches for mapping, measuring and monitoring changes in the earths environments. Duncan Dickinson is a Project Manger in QCIF. Currently, he is managing ReDBox (Research Data Box), TERN Central Portal and Tropical Data Hub projects. Craig Walker is the Coordinator for the TERN Eco-informatics Facility based at the University of Adelaide. Prior to this he worked in the South Australian Government for 9 years, and managed teams responsible for water databases, Geographical Information Systems (GIS), telemetry systems, web development, and Pastoral and general information management. Dewi Wahyuni is part of TERN Portal project team. She worked in Institute for Sustainable Research, QUT as a Research Data Specialist, managing Australian Supersite Network data portal. Eva van Gorsel is a Deputy Director of OzFlux facility and is interested in the exchanges of energy, carbon and water between the atmosphere and key Australian ecosystems. Jonathan Hodge is the Deputy Director for Australian Costal Ecosystem Facility. Previously, he has managed several environmental monitoring projects for Department of Environment and Resource Management, Queensland. Jim Deed is the TERN Program Manager based in University of Adelaide. Marco Fahmi is the Data Manager in the Institute for Sustainable Research, QUT and Australian Supersite Network. Matt Paget is the AusCover Data and Systems Coordinator. Prior to this, he worked on data management and delivery systems with the environmental satellite remote sensing team in CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Canberra Nikki Thurgate is the LAMPS facility Coordinator based at the University of Adelaide. Peter Isaac is the Data Manager for OzFlux facility and he is based in Monash University. Peter Wilson is part of Soil and Landscape Grid of Australia facility contributing as a Data Manager to the faciltiy. He is based in CSIRO Land and Water division. Tim Clancy has taken up the role of TERN Director from 1 October 2011. Before this appointment, he managed the Forest Resources Management Section of the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) and led the organisation’s Land and Forests Theme. Among his responsibilities was reporting on national forest, land use, land management and vegetation data.

Melbourne, Australia

6-10 Nov 2011

5th eResearch Australasia Conference