Earth Cube—$5 million funding to marry geoscience and IT (March 2013)

US National Science Foundation debates ‘proliferating’ standards at OGC Redlands meet.

The US national science foundation (NSF) met at ESRI’s Redlands campus earlier this year to further progress on ‘EarthCube’ an attempt to bring together geoscience and IT Standards. The meeting was co-located with an Open geospatial consortium technical committee. The EarthCube initiative, a.k.a. NSF program 13-529, sets out to develop a ‘community-driven data and knowledge environment for geosciences.’ Up to seven awards totaling $5 million are up for grabs.

At the outset, concern was expressed as to the risk of adding to proliferating standards—hence the teaming with OGC. OGC reference architecture and governance will be the model for EarthCube development. More generally, cooperation with other standards development organizations (SDO) is to be encouraged as they have been ‘working on cyber interoperability for 20 years.’  Current focus is on OGC Hydro, Met/Ocean and GeoSciML work group activity.

In particular, the adoption by WaterML of an OGC basis was seen as a good example of a standard evolving from community development to an SDO base. Cryptically, the EarthCube group observed that the prior geo standard GeoSciML ‘may not be on a similar path.’

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