Zoom! Remote sensing imagery in the geosciences

Lage, K. (2007). Zoom! Remote sensing imagery in the geosciences: Remote sensing imagery in the geosciences. Geoscience information: making the earth sciences accessible for everyone, 38.
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TitleZoom! Remote sensing imagery in the geosciences
AuthorsK. Lage
AbstractThe first International Polar Year took place in 1882 and 1883, before the rise in greenhouse gas pollution associated with global climate change. Carl Weyprecht, an Austrian scientist-explorer who was the inspiration behind the IPY, had forward thinking ideas about how to most profitably conduct polar research. In his Fundamental Principals of Scientific Arctic Investigation he proposed fielding coordinated expeditions that would collect comparable synoptic observations necessary to study very large-scale phenomena such as meteorology, geomagnetism and the aurora. The field program he suggested was successfully implemented but the hard-won synoptic observations were never fully analyzed. Long delays in the initial publication of the data and the lack of a central office tasked with coordinating data synthesis contributed to this disappointing result. The fourth IPY began in March, 2007. Climate change, especially in the Arctic, adds urgency to the objective of taking a “snapshot” of current conditions using synoptic observations. And making observations accessible to everyone is proper not only because the public is aware and interested, but because to do so would help ensure that exceeding valuable data is used to its fullest potential. Now IPY research involves over 50,000 participants from 63 nations. How much of this research will be accessible in the future? What can be done to promote the flow and preservation of information? Are there lessons in data management from the first IPY than can be applied here? Now, web services, distributed data archives and metadata standards are being employed to keep track of and work with data from ‘virtual observatories': confederations of projects and instrumentation like the National Science Foundation's Arctic Observing Network. Metadata can insure that future generations will be able to find the data. So many types of data from so many sources is driving a move to self-describing data formats. In an age where most data are ‘born digital' we still need to go back and preserve old analog data so that it can be used to investigate phenomena such as the Earth's climate that vary on timescales longer than the digital era.
JournalGeoscience information: making the earth sciences accessible for everyone
Date2007
Volume38

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