An open source geospatial cyberinfrastructure for interdisciplinary collaboration and broader engagement

By Carol Song

Purdue University

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Solving complex global problems demands that researchers from different disciplines work together, and their analytical tools, models and datasets interoperate. This is especially true in the context of sustainability. For instance, multiple goals of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are closely tied to food, land, and water. Study of resource and food sustainability requires a multidisciplinary, multi-scaled approach, e.g., connecting future demands for food, fuel, and clean water to biodiversity, climate change mitigation and poverty reduction, understanding tradeoffs of conflicting goals and the global consequences of pursuing the SDGs. Many barriers exist today for collaborative research across disciplines ranging from the lack of common understanding of the datasets and models used by different groups to the lack of software transparency and reproducibility. Custom technical platforms are costly to build and often lack interoperability with other systems. To answer these challenges, we have developed an open source geospatial computational cyberinfrastructure (GeoHub). At its core is the ability to rapidly disseminate research results, including models, analysis tools, data visualization and other digital content for broader engagement. Built on the HUBzero web framework, the GeoHub is a production quality, self-serve, scientific web platform to facilitate and support integrative research activities and the broad dissemination of findings. In the context of sustainability research, the GeoHub provides a computational framework for dynamic execution of models and analytics tools in virtual containers or on remote supercomputers; an open framework where users may use their own datasets to run models and compare results with the “standard” datasets, or contribute and enhance open-sourced models; a data visualization and exploration platform (e.g., decision support tools for policy makers and education tools for the public); built-in tools for community interaction (forming groups for collaboration, wiki, discussion form, sharing digital content) and the potential for crowdsourcing of data and models; and an interactive and open source platform for broad dissemination, including use in the classroom. The presentation will include an overview of the GeoHub and demonstrations of relevant modeling and data visualization tools.

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Carol Song. An open source geospatial cyberinfrastructure for interdisciplinary collaboration and broader engagement. A presentation at Impacts World 2017, Potsdam, Germany.
  • Carol Song (2017), "An open source geospatial cyberinfrastructure for interdisciplinary collaboration and broader engagement,"

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