US: Researchers investigating global issues can now easily find and use earth science data through a new technology called Data Observation Network for Earth (DataONE). DataONE aims to address the data dilemma with a number of cyberinfrastructure and educational tools to allow long-term access and usage of earth science data and information. The recently released tool queries data centers located around the world for relevant earth science information and provide integrated access to science metadata and corresponding datasets.
Through DataONE, researchers from all over the world will be able to share their research and benefit from the total body of earth science. This level of collaboration is a necessity for accurate and robust science in wide-ranging, complex topics like climate change, sea-level rise, and invasive species.
For instance, to accurately model the likely effects from climate change, data from all corners of the globe have to be collected and analysed. As a result, these datasets are enormous, and wading through them to find the most important pieces of information can be time-consuming and laborious.
DataONE simplifies this process by providing several tools, the underlying cyberinfrastructure, standards, and educational materials that streamline access to a multitude of earth science and environmental data. “One common challenge in the environmental sciences is the need to find and merge multiple data streams in order to solve real-world problems,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. “The availability of DataONE tools will accelerate progress on some of the most important issues facing society by providing standard solutions to these common, time-consuming hurdles.”
DataONE’s search tool, ONESearch, enables researchers to easily integrate previously incompatible datasets. For example, one DataONE working group has combined a database of amateur bird sightings with environment data layers about land use, protected areas, weather, and vegetation to make refined predictions about bird migration patterns. This activity, along with additional USGS data from the Gap Analysis Program, helped to produce the DOI State of the Birds report.
“DataONE is a powerful tool for collaborative research,” said Mike Frame, Principal Investigator and USGS lead for involvement with DataONE. “Through it, scientists, land managers, policy makers, students, educators, and the public can benefit from research conducted around the world without having to pull all of the data together from a multitude of sources.”