Invited - Putting Data to Work

Moving science forward together beyond where we thought possible!

By Erin Robinson in conference

December 10, 2020


Julie and I co-presented this talk on the Openscapes approach and how it can further geospatial data interoperability.


December 10, 2020


6:30 PM – 7:30 PM





We live in a world rich with data, where use and reuse would benefit not just science but also serve national security and society-at-large. Air quality impacts from forest fires, which are increasing in frequency, is one example of large, data-intensive science with societal impacts. Understanding long-range transport of smoke where I started my career and worked with Dr. Greg Leptoukh, for whom this lecture is named, required a variety of datasets from satellite, surface observations and models. Together with Greg, we formed the ESIP Air Quality Cluster, a community of practice, to determine which and how to use data access standards and metadata standards agreed to best support the broader Air Quality research community. Forest fire smoke analysis was based on datasets not originally intended for our purpose, but because the data was findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR) and we were willing to reuse it, we reduced the time to wrangle data and were able to ask and answer new questions about each smoke event.

Today, we are seeing more and more examples like mine of science that was not possible without open data, standards and tools. However, our scientific data enterprise is evolving and maturing in an unmanaged fashion and due to insufficient coordination across planning, management, and resources, the potential benefits of all these data and distributed infrastructure are not fully realized. Reliable, long term funding as well as cultural changes including financial incentives and rewards are needed to turn Science Data Infrastructure into a first class citizen equal to Science. This talk will explore what it means to put data to work and explore the relationship between data-intensive science, data management and collaborative community efforts like the Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) and Openscapes to move science forward beyond where we thought possible!

About the Award

In 2012, the Earth and Space Science Informatics (ESSI) Section established the Leptoukh Lecture to recognize the advances made by individual researchers in the field of informatics and their contributions to Earth and space science. Named in honor of the late Dr. Greg Leptoukh, a pioneer in satellite data quality and provenance and architecture of NASA’s Giovanni system for satellite data visualization, the Leptoukh Lecture aims to identify and support achievements in the computational and data sciences.

This year’s honoree is Ms. Erin Robinson, who served from 2014-2020 as the Executive Director of the Earth Science Information Partners, a nonprofit, volunteer and community-driven organization that advances the use of Earth science data through collaborations between data providers, data users, and software developers. Ms. Robinson has been a key organizing figure in the geoscience community for over a decade, and has been instrumental in advancing the recognition and importance of Earth and space science data to the wider community.

Cite as: Robinson, E. (2020). Putting Data to Work: Moving science forward together beyond where we thought possible!. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting.

Posted on:
December 10, 2020
3 minute read, 483 words
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