10.3 Environets: Connecting Data Providers and Users through an Online Social Community

Thursday, 10 January 2013: 9:00 AM
Room 11AB (Austin Convention Center)
Maggie Schoonover, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT; and N. Villa and J. D. Horel

Environmental information, particularly metadata about real-time surface observations, tends to flow one way from the data provider to the user. Environets is a new social media platform designed to increase and enhance dialogue to encourage the two-way exchange of information between data providers and users. Simply finding out where stations are that report information of interest to users can be difficult to find. For example, where are publicly accessible wind observations on tall towers or solar radiation sensors? In addition, every observing site has a multi-layered story: (1) why is it there and what is its intended purpose? (2) why do others use its data- recreation, public safety, travel? (3) what is its exposure nearby- lots of buildings and other obstructions? (4) what impact does it have relative to others- are there other similar data assets nearby?

The user interface for Environets has been developed in the context of map displays for intuitive access to data assets. By providing a venue for profiles of environmental networks and discussion forums, Environets helps to supply data users with the types of information they need to make informed decisions. Data providers can offer metadata in a publicly-accessible format as well as find out how people are using their data. As an evolving community-driven website, Environets aims to enliven the interchange of ideas and information between environmental monitoring networks and their users.

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