Baltimore Ecosystem Metadata System

The Baltimore Ecosystem Metadata Management System Summary

The Baltimore Ecosystem (BES) site stores their metadata using two main systems. An open research system (ORS) in conjunction with a SQL server, Active Server Pages and Cold Fusion makes the backbone of the diverse gateways to the Baltimore data and metadata. To deal better with the enormous geospatial emphasis of the research at BES, the IMs are integrating ESRI's geospatial engines with database software. It will also eliminate the multi-entry points for storing and documenting the data. BES information and data management approach is centered around an adaptation of the Human Ecosystem Framework, called the Human Ecological System (HES). The HES interface serves as a structure by which we will integrate, or "hang", Baltimore Ecosystem Study data in a meaningful way. Google Earth services are integrated with some of the

LTER sites with similar management systems

The BES data management is quite unique, as most of BES data is geospatial. Data is served on a geospatial context with custom applications.

The Baltimore Ecosystem Detailed

The establishment of a BES Multi-User Geodatabase (BES-MUG) allows for the storage, management, and distribution of geospatial data associated with the Baltimore Ecosystem Study. At present, BES data is distributed over the internet via the Open Research System (ORS) and the BES website. While having geospatial data available for download is a vast improvement over having the data housed at individual research institutions, it still suffers from some limitations. BES-MUG overcomes these limitations; improving the quality of the geospatial data available to BES researches, thereby leading to more informed decision-making.

BES-MUG builds on Environmental Systems Research Institute's (ESRI) ArcGIS and ArcSDE technology. ESRI was selected because its geospatial software offers robust capabilities. ArcGIS is implemented agency-wide within the USDA and is the predominant geospatial software package used by collaborating institutions.

BES uses ESRI's ArcSDE (Spatial Database Engine) in conjunction with database software. Through ArcSDE and the Geodatabase model the database's capabilities are expanded, allowing for multiuser editing, intelligent feature types, and the establishment of rules and relationships. ArcSDE also allows users to connect to the database using ArcGIS software without being burdened by the intricacies of the database itself.

For an example of how BES-MUG will help improve the quality and timeless of BES geospatial data consider a census block group layer that is in need of updating. Rather than the researcher downloading the dataset, editing it, and resubmitting to through ORS, access rules will allow the authorized user to edit the dataset over the network. Metadata will automatically be updated showing who edited the dataset and when they did in the event any questions arise.

Currently, a functioning prototype Multi-User Database has been developed, using Arc SDE and IBM's DB2 Enterprise Database as a back end architecture. This database, which is currently only accessible to those on the UVM campus network, will shortly be migrated to a Linux server where it will be accessible for database connections over the Internet. Passwords can then be handed out to all interested researchers on the project, who will be able to make a database connection through the Geographic Information Systems software interface on their desktop computer.

EML Status:

  • Completion: the vast majority of metadata are available in EML.
  • Richness : Ranges from basic level to the discovery level (levels 1 to 3).
  • QA/QC : there are mechanisms to ensure the quality of the metadata and data, mostly manual entries in the back end database.