A Data Sharing Server for Environmental Data

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Monday, 18 January 2010
Joe Sirott, Shuksan Software, LLC and NOAA/PMEL, Seattle, WA

New Web based technologies have facilitated the development of networking services that allow users to share data. These services allow users with common interests to form virtual online communities, share data (such as photos and videos) and communicate with other members of their network. Web sites such as Facebook and MySpace make it easy to develop new data sharing sites without requiring Web or software development skills.

Unfortunately, the commercial social networking sites do not work well with scientific data. The commercial sites only allow users to upload photos or videos and aren't equipped to handle the data formats used by environmental scientists. The only alternative for scientists who wish to share data is to set up their own Web server for scientific data, using either a free (DChart/Dapper, Live Access Server, THREDDS, GDS) or commercial (ESRI) software package. Setting up these servers requires a level of technical skill that often isn't available in a small research group, and consequently many groups don't make their data available.

This poster describes a system we have developed to allow environmental scientists to easily share data without the administrative burden of managing a Web server. Users of our system can upload content through an easy to use Web based interface by either specifying a URL for an OPeNDAP or standard HTTP server or by directly uploading netCDF files to our server. The uploaded content is then available for other users to visualize or download.