Semantic Web Cyberinfrastructure for Virtual Observatories

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Presented at the AGU Fall Meeting 2006


Semantic Web technology is beginning to have an impact on foundational cyberinfrastructure for earth and space science. Ontologies are being used to encode precise meanings of terms, thereby enabling application programs to access resource ontologies to determine how to use terms and when terms in different resource collections may be the same or related. In our work, we are using semantic technologies to power virtual observatories, currently focused on the domain areas of solar-terrestrial physics. We have designed and implemented an architecture that supports access to a distributed repository of scientific information. The scientific data is captured in varying forms, using many instruments, from diverse locations, using different operating modes, and embodying varying (many times unstated) assumptions. We have built ontologies containing terms covering the most critical subject areas - in particular instruments, their operating modes and related properties, observatories, and earth and space science data. Using these ontologies, our systems guide users through a workflow process aimed at helping them get data relevant to their research. Ontologies are used to filter instruments according to the type of data they can collect, existing scientific data services are used to determine time frames for which data exists, ontologies are used again to determine parameters appropriate for plotting (along with associated related parameters), and finally ontologies are used to determine sensible plot types given the chosen data. We have just deployed our initial implementation and we are currently serving the CEDAR community(Coupling, Energetics and Dynamics of Atmospheric Regions) and the MSLO community (Mauna Loa Solar Observatory).


DateCreated ByLink
August 17, 2014
Patrick WestDownload

Related Projects:

DCO-DS LogoVirtual Solar Terrestrial Observatory (VSTO)
Principal Investigator: Peter Fox
Co Investigator: Deborah L. McGuinness
Description: VSTO is a collaborative project between the High Altitude Observatory and Scientific Computing Division of the National Center for Atmospheric Research and McGuinness Associates. VSTO is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) in the Shared Cyberinfrastructure (SCI) division.

Related Research Areas:

Data Science
Lead Professor: Peter Fox
Description: Science has fully entered a new mode of operation. Data science is advancing inductive conduct of science driven by the greater volumes, complexity and heterogeneity of data being made available over the Internet. Data science combines of aspects of data management, library science, computer science, and physical science using supporting cyberinfrastructure and information technology. As such it is changing the way all of these disciplines do both their individual and collaborative work.

Data science is helping scienists face new global problems of a magnitude, complexity and interdisciplinary nature whose progress is presently limited by lack of available tools and a fully trained and agile workforce.

At present, there is a lack formal training in the key cognitive and skill areas that would enable graduates to become key participants in escience collaborations. The need is to teach key methodologies in application areas based on real research experience and build a skill-set.

At the heart of this new way of doing science, especially experimental and observational science but also increasingly computational science, is the generation of data.

Concepts: eScience
Lead Professor: Peter Fox
Description: In the last 2-3 years, Informatics has attained greater visibility across a broad range of disciplines, especially in light of great successes in bio- and biomedical-informatics and significant challenges in the explosion of data and information resources. Xinformatics is intended to provide both the common informatics knowledge as well as how it is implemented in specific disciplines, e.g. X=astro, geo, chem, etc. Informatics' theoretical basis arises from information science, cognitive science, social science, library science as well as computer science. As such, it aggregates these studies and adds both the practice of information processing, and the engineering of information systems.
Concepts: Semantic Web, eScience