Ecoinformatics Conference Service, Environmental Information Management 2008

The EcoTrends Web Portal: An Architecture for Data Discovery and Exploration

Mark Stephen Servilla, Duane Costa, Christine Laney, Inigo San Gil, James Brunt

Last modified: 2008-08-21


The EcoTrends Project began in 2004 to promote and enable the use of long-term data to better understand processes within the Earth's ecosystems. Collected by local, state and federal agencies and institutions, these data are quality checked and then simplified into a common data format, called "derived data", for the EcoTrends database. A large-format book containing numerous time-series plots, along with vignettes of the derived data, will be published in 2008. Foresight by project coordinators realized the importance of also providing these data via the World Wide Web. A web-based portal would make possible the use of on-line tools that would streamline the discovery and exploration of these data, while at the same time facilitate adding new time-series data to the growing EcoTrends database. The EcoTrends Web Portal is now at its first milestone in production and includes features for data discovery and access by
registered users, plotting both derived and "smoothed" data values, downloading both summary and statistically annotated data in comma delimited and HTML formats, and saving markers to high-value data in an on-line store that simplifies future access. The EcoTrends Web Portal utilizes the Provenance Aware Synthesis Tracking Architecture framework being developed by the LTER Network Office. This framework combines community developed open source tools, such as Metacat and Ecological Metadata Language, into a data warehouse workflow system that, when fully operational, will automate the extraction and uploading of site-based data into a permanent and persistent archive that can be utilized by
synthesis projects.