July 2007 Newsletter


GEON Releases New Version of Portal

geon_portal.gifA new version of the GEON Portal has been released (portal.geongrid.org) and is also accessible via the project website at www.geongrid.org. Users will find that the look and feel of the portal is now similar to the GEON web site, with several new features. These include an improved interface for ‘advanced search’; greater capabilities for accessing, processing, and monitoring LIDAR data and jobs; an updated version of SYNSEIS; and a new ‘MyProjects’ feature that enables users to create project based personal work areas, within which one can share resources, ideas, and collaborate with others via various built-in tools like wikis, document sharing tools, and discussion forums. On the software end, the portal has a more modular, cleaner design with upgraded versions of databases and the software stack. This release includes an improved hardware infrastructure to support greater stability of the GEON portal, as well as many reported “bug fixes”. The website has a “Portal” tab that takes users directly to the portal. Conversely, the portal has a “GEON Website” tab that will take users directly back to the GEON website.

Building the INTERFACE Facility for Centimeter-Scale, 3D Digital Field Geology

The National Science Foundation recently announced that a national facility, INTERFACE (INTERdisciplinary alliance for digital Field data Acquisition and Exploration), will be funded to help geoscientists obtain high resolution and high precision, 3D surface data. Facility development will commence immediately and continue over the next 2.5 years as a collaborative research project involving the University of Idaho, University of Texas, Dallas, University of Kansas, Arizona State University, and UNAVCO, Inc. The INTERFACE team will be working closely with GEON to provide a one-stop shop for users at any experience level to obtain instrumentation, software, and instruction for the collection of earth surface data. The central tool employed is Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS), a form of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology, whose airborne application is being made available to the earth science community through the National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping (NCALM) and as part of the GeoEarthScope initiative.

alvord.jpgJohn Oldow, University of Idaho PI, indicated that “The INTERFACE project was developed based on the assumption that GEON would be the cyberinfrastructure partner for this effort. The partnership with GEON, and use of the LiDAR data portal, is essential for INTERFACE to succeed in its primary mission to collect and analyze TLS data.”

The overarching objective of INTERFACE is to provide the infrastructure to advance knowledge for geoscientists dealing with all aspects of exposed geology tied to location on surface of the earth. The facility will reduce existing barriers to the application of this relatively new application of TLS, which are: (1) availability of equipment and software due to high cost, (2) knowledge of rigorous data processing, and (3) lack of best practices for equipment use and project design. Over the next few years, INTERFACE will be reaching out to the earth science community with demonstrations of TLS applications and workshops to educate interested researchers. By enabling digital geology (not just digital geologic maps), the TLS facility will help scientists address problems in fundamentally new ways.

GEON to Hold Workshop at University of Hyderabad, India


A GEON Cyberinfrastructure Workshop will be held at the University of Hyderabad, India, on Aug 3-8, 2007. This is the second such workshop in India. The first was held in October 2005. The workshop is being co-organized by GEON collaborators, Prof. K.V. Subbarao, University Center for Earth and Space Sciences, Prof. Arun Agarwal, Center for Modeling, Simulation, and Design, University of Hyderabad, and GEON PI, Chaitan Baru. Workshop instructors include SDSC team members Ashraf Memon and Sandeep Chandra. Information about the workshop is available at www.geongrid.org/workshops/hyderabad2007/. The GEON activity in India is supported by a grant from the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF). The PIs for that grant are Profs. Subbarao and Agarwal (India), and Dr. Baru, Prof. Randy Keller, and Prof. Mark Gahegan (US).

Summer Southwest Regional Cyberinfrastructure Workshop To be Held, Limited Seating Available

An NSF-sponsored workshop on Cyberinfrastructure (CI) will be held on Friday, August 10, 2007, at the University of Texas at El Paso (Undergraduate Learning Center, Rooms 216 and 236, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm). The workshop is being organized by GEON co-PI, Ann Gates, and Paul Pinheiro da Silva. Dogan Seber, GEON PI, is an invited speaker.

The objective of this workshop is to promote awareness of the role of CI in conducting research. Attendees will be engaged in a series of tasks that will enable them to use tools such as the Kepler Scientific Workflow Management System and the Workflow-Driven Ontology tool (WDO-It).

Limited seating is available. Please reserve a space by sending an email to: mecontreras@utep.edu. Students are welcomed to attend. Travel support requests, as well as additional questions, may also be submitted to this address.


UTEP to Develop Cyber-ShARE Center of Excellence

GEON co-PI’s, Ann Gates and Vladik Kreinovich (UTEP), along with Paulo Pinheiro da Silva (UTEP Computer Science), Aaron Velasco (UTEP Geological Sciences), Craig Tweedie (UTEP Environmental Sciences), Leticia Velazquez and Miguel Argaez (UTEP Computational Math), and Brian Giza (UTEP Education) have been awarded a $5,000,000 grant from NSF to create the Cyber-ShARE Center of Excellence (Sharing resources through Cyber-infrastructure to Advance Research and Education).

The Cyber-ShARE Center team will address the challenge of providing information to scientists and other users of cyber-infrastructure (CI) that allows them to make informed decisions about the resources that they retrieve and to have confidence in using results from CI-based applications. Innovative research will be conducted to facilitate the development of CI-based applications and increase their use by scientists by enhancing CI results with provenance information, trust recommendations, and uncertainty levels (areas that are recognized as essential for the success of CI); by creating scientist-centered tools and artifacts; and by contributing CI resources to appropriate CI portals including GEON.

In addition, the synergistic and multi-disciplinary subprojects will advance knowledge in: provenance to capture knowledge about uncertainty and trust using results from discipline experts; the physical properties of the Earth by studying CI-based techniques and approaches for integrating data with varying accuracy and sensitivity; and optimization of data streams and sensor arrays in ecological and environmental networks by targeting improved characterization of environmental phenomenon and processes.

Presentations from Moscow Cyberinfrastructure Workshop Available Online

ras.gifgeon.gifThe full program from the “Cyberinfrastructure for the Geosciences” workshop, that was co-sponsored by GEON and the Russian Academy of Sciences and held in Moscow in June, is now available online at http://www.geongrid.org/workshops/moscow2007/. PowerPoint slides from each of the presentations at this workshop are linked and can be readily accessed, there.