GeoLink: Meeting Geoscience Research Needs in the Age of Big Data

Principal Investigator(s): 

Robert Arko, Mark Schildhauer, Cynthia Chandler, Doug Fils, Pascal Hitzler, Thomas Narock

It is increasingly difficult for researchers in the geosciences to locate relevant data for integrative analysis, due to the rapidly growing volume, variety, and complexity of data available. Yet, it is necessary to discover, access, and integrate data from multiple sources to generate robust, large-scale scientific insights. GeoLink will help to meet the challenges of geoscience research in an age of Big Data. GeoLink will advance the use of techniques in Linked Open Data and the Semantic Web to help confederate disparate earth science data resources, focused initially on oceanographic information archived in several major national data repositories.

GeoLink’s methodology will be flexible and easily extendable to new repositories and topics, while respecting and preserving the heterogeneous landscape of existing providers. GeoLink will enable standardized discovery of information resources across NSF-supported repositories such as the Integrated Earth Data Applications (IEDA), the Long-Term Ecological Research Network (LTER) via DataONE, Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data (BCO-DMO), Rolling Decks to Repositories (R2R), and the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP). To achieve this goal, GeoLink will develop formal, generalized semantic descriptions of content from the above repositories, grounded in typical scientific use cases, and based on community-defined Ontology Design Patterns (ODP’s). Use of ODP’s should provide advantages over traditional data discovery and integration methodologies by exposing data in simple but consistent ways over the Web, using W3C-sanctioned languages (RDF/OWL). A Web portal will be developed to demonstrate integrated discovery functionality, while also serving to collect user feedback on performance and desired features.

As part of NCEAS’ Informatics development efforts, its leaders, Mark Schildhauer, Director of Computing and Matt Jones, Director of Informatics Research and Development, are integral members of the GeoLink team. Other collaborating institutions include: Krzysztof Janowicz from UCSB's Geography Department, Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Wright State University, Marymount University, University of Maryland Baltimore County, and the Consortium for Ocean Leadership.


This Informatics project was funded by an EarthCube Building Block grant from the National Science Foundation.

More information for project participants