Apr 16, 2008

Safe guarding Earth's data

The amount of information being generated about our planet is increasing at an exponential rate but, say the European Space Agency, it must be easily accessible in order to apply it to the global needs relating to the state of the Earth.

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To meet this need the ESA have set up a new project has been set up to provide a reliable, easy, long-term access to Earth Science data via the Internet.

GENESI-DR (Ground European Network for Earth Science Interoperations – Digital Repositories) will allow scientists from different Earth Science disciplines located across Europe to locate, access, combine and integrate historical and fresh Earth-related data from space, airbourne and in-situ sensors archived in large distributed repositories.

“We shall soon be receiving petabytes of data about our planet from space, so data access will be a major logistical problem. The EC has funded GENESI-DR as a flagship project in Europe to help meet this challenge,” said Professor Alan O’Neill, Director of the National Centre for Earth Observation at the University of Reading.

Currently, information about the state of the Earth, relevant services, analysis results, applications and tools are accessible in a very scattered and uncoordinated way. A dedicated infrastructure providing transparent access to this will support earth science communities by allowing them to easily and quickly derive objective information and share knowledge based on all environmentally sensitive domains.

The use of high-speed networks and the experimentation of new technologies, like BitTorrent, will also contribute to better services for the Earth Science communities.

ESA say that ensuring access to this kind of data for future generations is of utmost importance because it allows for the continuity of knowledge generation improvement. For instance, scientists accessing today’s climate change data in 50 years will be able to better understand and detect trends in global warming and apply this knowledge to ongoing natural phenomena.

Source LABNEWS