NASA Science on Drupal Central

Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) Drupal hosting, administration, UI work, and service- and tool integration on Drupal sites are already widespread activities for NASA Earth science. Many NASA centers, funded projects, and other partners (including university labs and departments) are in the process of, or have completed the migration of their content onto Drupal.

Drupal has become a content management system of choice for several reasons. It is an open-source platform with many thousands of contributors to its core code and extensions, and it has been around long enough to address many issues of security and robustness of value to NASA.

The proposed NASA Science on Drupal Central (NSODC) project would offer key support for, and a centralized knowledge base about the effective use of Drupal. Science on Drupal will deliver a suite of online environments (social networks, code versioning, collaboration environments, etc.) where NASA scientists and technicians can share their Drupal lessons learned, register their code contributions, discuss issues of NASA-specific common interest (e.g., migrating SOA clients, porting workflow engines and data provenance capabilities to Drupal platforms, integration with IDL and MATLAB, etc.), and search, find, and reuse NASA-funded Drupal code (on the Science on Drupal Github repository or elsewhere). While the NSODC will be focused firmly on science and data tools on Drupal, the project will also provide a home for more general, Drupal-wide knowledge sharing in support of Drupal site administrators across NASA Earth science.

The NSODC will also build and share tool frameworks as Drupal modules. These can be reused and customized by others to accelerate NASA Earth data tool development on Drupal. Examples include taxonomy, metadata authoring, cloud service integration, and catalog searching. other examples will include extending the existing Talkoot analysis suite to handle different workflow engines and clients and calling IDL on the server-side to display an image or graph. RDF is now a part of Drupal 7 core, so support for NASA semantic web efforts on Drupal will also be provided.

Beyond this new code, the NSODC team will help organize and lead Drupal camps and code sprints at ESIP Summer Meetings. The team will engage the Drupal community of purpose in active online discussions, supplemented by Drupal events at Earth Science Data System Working Groups (ESDSWG), ESIP, American Geophysics Union, and other meetings. These activities will be guided by the code- and knowledge needs expressed by NASA Drupal users.

Tools and code are one half of the effort. The other half is community building and support. NSODC will engage NASA Drupal code developers and site administrators as a community of purpose, and provide avenues of communication, collaboration, and resource sharing. The (Drupal-based) DigitalOcean science social and media networking platform will provide rapid communication, group resource sharing, and reputation tools. The collaborations will be facilitated on the ESIP Open Atrium platform. The resulting code will be hosted on Github, licensed for NASA reuse.

In combination, the code and community deliverables "push the needle" for NASA Drupal use. Significant time and cost savings will result. Now is the right time to bring together the hundreds of independent Drupal coders, themers, and administrators who are already (or planning to be) tasked by NASA to implement Drupal. The proposed effort provides all of the necessary capabilities to take NASA Drupal to a new stage driven by collective intelligence.

The NASA Science on Drupal Central project will be led by Bruce Caron at the New Media Research Institute and Rahul Ramachandran at University of Alabama in Huntsville, and will include Martin Landsfeld at NMRI.


Bruce Caron - PI, New Media Studio

Deployed at NASA's Earth Science Data and Information System (ESDIS)

Last Updated: Nov 16, 2017 at 9:53 AM EST