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Putting Data to Work: Moving science forward together beyond where we thought possible!

Robinson, Erin

We live in a world rich with data, where use and reuse would benefit not just science but also serve national security and society-at-large. Air quality impacts from forest fires, which are increasing in frequency, is one example of large, data-intensive science with societal impacts. Understanding long-range transport of smoke where I started my career and worked with Dr. Greg Leptoukh, for whom this lecture is named, required a variety of datasets from satellite, surface observations and models. Together with Greg, we formed the ESIP Air Quality Cluster, a community of practice, to determine which and how to use data access standards and metadata standards agreed to best support the broader Air Quality research community. Forest fire smoke analysis was based on datasets not originally intended for our purpose, but because the data was findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR) and we were willing to reuse it, we reduced the time to wrangle data and were able to ask and answer new questions about each smoke event.

Today, we are seeing more and more examples like mine of science that was not possible without open data, standards and tools. However, our scientific data enterprise is evolving and maturing in an unmanaged fashion and due to insufficient coordination across planning, management, and resources, the potential benefits of all these data and distributed infrastructure are not fully realized. Reliable, long term funding as well as cultural changes including financial incentives and rewards are needed to turn Science Data Infrastructure into a first class citizen equal to Science. This talk will explore what it means to put data to work and explore the relationship between data-intensive science, data management and collaborative community efforts like the Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) and Openscapes to move science forward beyond where we thought possible!

This work was funded by NASA, NOAA and USGS.
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