Central Arizona Phoenix SiteBytes 2007

LTER Site: Central Arizona - Phoenix (CAP)

Contributor: Corinna Gries (Jul 31, 2007)

Site Byte:

Site Bytes 2007

Many important changes have taken place for CAP data management. We moved all our data out of SQL server and into MySQL, which is now our main database server. In addition we have moved all data that were stored on CAP servers to storage space at ASU’s High Performance Computing Cluster. The web applications hosted on our servers were moved to a virtual server in the same cluster. Currently, we are maintaining only our development server on site. The Global Institute of Sustainability has provided personal storage space as well as collaboratively accessible space for researchers and administrators. Therefore, this move affected the entire personnel at GIOS which implies major efforts in user support.

The CAP website saw many additions this year. Several password protected areas were added for data entry, and the regular management activities for data provided to the LTER Network databases. The data entry applications are written in php using and improving the earlier developed template. Entry applications for all long term data collection efforts at CAP are in place. These applications replace the formerly used ACCESS front ends and have already proved to be much easier to access and use by the data entry personnel. In the process the data models were streamlined, metadata tables added and attribute level metadata stored in comment fields directly in MySQL table descriptions. The earlier developed reverse engineering tool now produces valid level 5 EML automatically with minimal editing of the resulting document. The applications to manage contributions to the LTER Network databases was added in an effort to document these activities in one central location.

Public data access was changed on the CAP website. Download applications for the large long term monitoring databases were developed and table level data download was enabled via EML files. EML files now allow direct data access which may be used by other applications as well as the CAP website. Currently, a user registration and logging of downloads are developed.

Ed Gilbert, who originally developed our biodiversity portal within the Southwest Environmental Information Network (SEINet http://swbiodiversity.org/seinet/index.php) as a grad student has been working for GIOS this past year as web developer. In this capacity he developed new online keying application within SEINet. The applications provide major improvements over traditional matrix based online keys like DELTA intkey. The underlying data model combines hierarchical taxonomic information obtained from ITIS with the traditional character and character state information. This allows for strict normalization of information and character inheritance within taxonomic groups which greatly reduces data entry and management efforts. In addition, this approach allows for easy integration of new species if the key is to be expanded geographically. It also provides the means to dynamically build keys based on a subset of species and makes the key very user friendly as characters may be added and dropped dynamically depending on where in the keying process a user is.

Last year the Arizona Water Institute received funding from the Governor’s office for water related research and the development of an Arizona Hydrologic Information System. This is a tri University effort (University of Arizona, Northern Arizona University and Arizona State University) in which we are developing infrastructure for data storage, curation and access. A federated data storage system is accessed via web services which provide the data in standard format modeled according to CUAHSI’s standards. One full time programmer and two computer science grad students are now working at GIOS to develop a metadata editor and management system, web services accessing groundwater data from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and data in the SRP flood warning system, and a search engine for data sets.

The School of Sustainability is growing in leaps and bounds. Five new faculty positions have recently been added through an endowment to the School. Charles Redman, has given up the directorship of GIOS to fully concentrate on running the school and ASU’s former Vice President of Research, Jonathan Fink, has taken over as director of GIOS.


2. Planned IM Projects

online EML editor
data set search engine
onine specimen keying application