1. Global Earth Science Community
  2. Community Data System Programs
  3. ACCESS Projects
  4. Leveraging Available Technologies for Improved Interoperability and Visualization of Remote Sensing and In-Situ Oceanographic Data at the PO.DAAC

Leveraging Available Technologies for Improved Interoperability and Visualization of Remote Sensing and In-Situ Oceanographic Data at the PO.DAAC

The earth science enterprise relies on the integration of multivariate data from diverse observational platforms. Whether for NASA mission cal/val, science or decision support, the coupling of remote sensing and in-situ field data is integral to oceanographic workflows. This need is reflected by NASA's Physical Oceanography Distributed Active Archive Center (PO.DAAC), historically having a remote sensing focus, now adapting to additionally support NASA field campaign datasets. However, the inherent heterogeneity of in situ datasets and their general lack of adherence to meta/data standards is a significant impediment to interoperability. The problem originates early in the data lifecycle with instrument manufacturer software typically not supporting output to self-describing data files with standards compliant metadata and propagates, impacting long-term stewardship and usability of data. Post-hoc conversions are complicated, thus substantially increasing the cost of archival at NASA's DAACs and utilization in end-user applications.


This proposal aims to leverage existing technologies to address the aforementioned technical challenges relating to in-situ/satellite data interoperability, with a focus on a representative class of oceanographic field data: data from electronic tags deployed on a variety of marine species. Fueled by the affordability of the hardware and symptomatic of the importance of the data, tagging applications are a rapidly proliferating area for applied fisheries management and oceanographic studies. There are several large scale tagging projects and operational tagging programs run by fisheries management agencies (eg. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Marine Fisheries Service) providing extensive georeferenced, depth resolved time series of environmental data. These datasets are plagued, however, by the data standardization issues mentioned. Consequently, few of these many, invaluable datasets are accessible via national data archives despite requirements, with significant implications for their long-term stewardship.


The proposed work involves the enhancement and integration of available high TRL components within PO.DAAC for improved interoperability and support of in-situ data: Unidata’s Rosetta tool, National Oceanographic Data Center's netCDF in-situ templates, PO.DAAC’s DMAS system, the Tagbase relational database system, a comprehensive data visualization framework developed at JPL (CMC), and Thematic Real-time Environmental Distributed Data Services (THREDDS), extended here for improved support of point/trajectory spatial data types. The resulting system will be tested in the context of a range of in situ (tagging) and PO.DAAC satellite data holdings. We intend to demonstrate, deliver and ultimately sustain operationally a reusable and accessible set of tools to: 1) mediate reconciliation of heterogeneous source data into a tractable number of standardized formats; 2) harmonize existing metadata models for satellite and field datasets within DMAS; 3) demonstrate the value added of integrated data access via a range of available tools and services hosted at the PO.DAAC, including a web-based visualization tool for integrated mapping of satellite and in situ data.


We also recognize the importance of tackling data standardization issues at source. An innovative part of our project plan involves partnering with the leading electronic tag manufacturer (Wildlife Computers) to promote the adoption of appropriate data standards in their processing software. The proposed project thus adopts a model lifecycle approach complimented by broadly applicable technologies to address key data management and interoperability issues for in situ data. Outcomes will: 1) enhance NASA capacity in the stewardship of a wide range of earth science data consistent with user needs and NASA
earth/applied sciences and national Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) priority areas. 2) Address critical constraints to in-situ data interoperability, archival and access per federal agency mandates and most recently under the Big Earth Data Initiative (BEDI).


Vardis Tsontos, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Last Updated: Nov 16, 2017 at 8:57 AM EST