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NSF awards $4.5 million grant to build a platform for geospatial data management 


A team led by Information Technology at Purdue (ITaP) Research Computing Senior Research Scientist Carol Song has been awarded a five-year, $4.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to build a “plug and play” platform to allow researchers to easily access and process geospatial data.

Song describes GeoEDF as a successor to the Geospatial Data Analysis Building Blocks (GABBs), a project Song led that developed web-based geospatial data visualization, analysis, and modeling tools and made them accessible to users on the science gateway MyGeoHub. GABBs is open source and is available to anyone, regardless of affiliation with Purdue. A geospatial gateway enabled by GABBs software can be set up on cloud computing platforms such as Amazon Web Services.

Despite the advent of geospatial data processing tools accessible even to non-programmers, data challenges remain in this area. Many geospatial data repositories lack standard interfaces and don’t provide data in a way that researchers can immediately use. Moreover, as field sensors become increasingly common, large volumes of streaming data are created, including so-called “crowdsourced” data generated by citizen scientists. GeoEDF’s data processing pipeline will help researchers retrieve and process only the data they need, and transform it into standardized formats.

Song has a number of scientists as co-principal investigators who will serve as use cases for GeoEDF. One of her co-PIs, Jian Jin, an assistant professor at Purdue Unversity of agricultural and biological engineering, is developing a handheld crop scanner that will allow farmers to get information about the health of their plants just by scanning a leaf. GeoEDF will include a way to automatically upload and store the data generated by use of these sensors, as well as data analysis tools that can be used to study plant health and growth.

Song’s other co-PIs are:

  • Venkatesh Merwade, a professor of civil engineering, who will use GeoEDF for flood modeling with a state-of-the-art hydrologic model.
  • Uris Baldos, a research assistant professor in agricultural economics, who will use GeoEDF to integrate socio-economic data with environmental data to study the consequences of changing land use.
  • Jack Smith, a senior research staff member of the Center for Environmental, Geotechnical and Applied Sciences at Marshall University, who will use GeoEDF to process water quality data from field sensors in Appalachia and convert it into standard EPA format for processing.

GeoEDF will have interoperability with other national geospatial cyberinfrastructures, including Hydroshare, an open source system for sharing hydrologic data and models. This interoperability will ensure users can seamlessly leverage the capabilities of different infrastructures. Like MyGeoHub, GeoEDF will be built on HUBzero.

Writer:  Adrienne Miller, science and technology writer, Information Technology at Purdue (ITaP), 765-496-8204,

Full article:

HUBzero at eScience Conference

The HUBzero team had the pleasure to attend the 14th eScience IEEE International Conference in Amsterdam from October 29th - November 1st. eScience brings together leading international researchers and offers a platform for digital technologies to advance research - from the humanities to the physical sciences. The HUBzero team plans on attending the 15th eScience Conference which will be held in San Diego, CA, September 24th - September 27th, 2019. 
Copyright © 2018 HUBzero Foundation LLC, All rights reserved.

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