Esri and the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded initiative known as EarthCube have today signed an informal Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). EarthCube was initiated by the NSF in 2011 to "transform geoscience research by developing cyberinfrastructure to improve access, sharing, visualization, and analysis of all forms of geosciences data and related resources." It is also a "quickly growing community of scientists across all geoscience domains, as well as geoinformatics researchers and data scientists."
As Esri Chief Scientist I have been pleased to serve on the EarthCube Liaison Team since 2014 and have built a "Mapping the Landscape" story map for the team which has been presented at several EarthCube-related meetings. We hope that this project will continue and merge with similar efforts at ESIP (Federation of Earth Science Information Partners), AGU (American Geophysical Union), and RDA (Research Data Alliance). The MOA was developed and signed by way of the Liaison Team and joint activities to be pursued include:
- mapping the larger geo/ cyberinfrastructure landscape and community (e.g., the story map) and further updating such a “landscape” map with organizations, initiatives, agencies, data facilities, etc., as well as assessing where EarthCube fits into this landscape;
- semantic search, data mining-based metadata enrichment, persistent identifiers, geo-ontologies, and where possible, Linked Open Data;
- more efficient access to data once found within searches, including the building of data publishing and geoprocessing services in the cloud to make data more accessible; and
- removing barriers to data integration and interoperability, error and uncertainty of observations, spatial and temporal gaps in observations, and the related issues of user involvement and capacity building.
Toward this end, there will be the free exchange of emails, literature, computer code, and data where appropriate between Esri and the EarthCube community.