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Data and Architecture: Management

Short summary of Best Practice:

Maintain a mix of core and community capabilities to serve Earth science discipline user community

Explain why is there a need for this Best Practice?

In the end-to-end flow of data from the source to the end users for research or applications, there is a wide variety of requirements to be met. All the requirements cannot be satisfied with a single type of system. A system of systems works much better in providing the needed flexibility. It also allows for involvement a variety of organizations, utilization of talents and incorporation of community inputs in evolving data systems.

Provide an example application(s):

NASA develops, maintains, operates and utilizes a variety of data systems in order to fulfill its responsibilities.These data systems are of various sizes and meet a variety of requirements. Some data systems constitute NASA’s Core Capabilities, and provide the basic infrastructure for robust and reliable data capture, processing, archiving and distributing a set of data products to a large and diverse user community. Another class of data systems, constituting Community Capabilities, provides specialized and innovative services to data users and/or research products offering new scientific insight as well as a path for technology infusion.

How widely deployed is this practice (if applicable)

NASA is implementing this practice in a coordinated manner. Other US agencies such as NOAA and USGS have analogous combinations of systems. Other non-US agencies adopting a similar philosophy are invited to include their examples here.

Source document(s):

NASA Earth Science Reference Handbook

NASA’s Earth Science Data Systems: A “Bit of History” and Observations

Detailed Description of Best Practice

NASA develops, maintains, operates and utilizes a variety of data systems in order to fulfill one of its strategic objectives: “Study Earth from space to advance scientific understanding and meet societal needs.”These data systems are of various sizes and meet a variety of requirements. They are classified into two broad classes – Core Capabilities and Community Capabilities.

NASA’s Core Capabilities provide the basic infrastructure for robust and reliable data capture, processing, archiving and distributing a set of data products to a large and diverse user community. Examples of such systems are: 1. Earth Observing Data and Information System (EOSDIS) with its Data Centers, Science Investigator-led Processing Systems (SIPSs), and middleware called EOS Clearing House (ECHO); 2. Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) Science Data and Information System (TSDIS); 3. Ocean Data Processing System (ODPS); and 4. CloudSat Data Processing Center.These types of core capabilities are maintained, evolved and operated by NASA on a long-term basis.

Another class of data systems, constituting Community Capabilities, provides specialized and innovative services to data users and/or research products offering new scientific insight. Compared to Core Capabilities, these are relatively small systems with a finite duration and are freer to experiment with leading edge technology. They are funded by NASA through a periodic competitive process involving peer-reviews. Examples of Community Capabilities are: projects under the Research, Education and Applications Solutions Network (REASoN), Advancing Collaborative Connections for Earth System Science (ACCESS), and Making Earth Science Data Records for Use in Research Environments (MEaSUREs) Programs.

The combination of Core and Community capabilities enables NASA to reach a broad user community as well providing a path to receive community feedback for evolving its data systems.NASA has established Earth Science Data System Working Groups (ESDSWG) specifically for the community to provide recommendations to NASA regarding various aspects of data systems. There are currently four working groups (http://esdswg.gsfc.nasa.gov) :

·Standards Processes Group

·Technology Infusion Working Group

·Reuse Working Group

·Metrics Planning and Reporting Working Group

The membership in the working groups includes representatives from both the Core and Community data systems. The working groups provide community-vetted recommendations to NASA to consider implementation.These recommendations as well as those from EOSDIS Data Centers, annual user feedback through surveys and at community conferences, interagency and international discussions influence NASA’s programmatic direction.

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