2002 Denver Annual Meeting (October 27-30, 2002)

Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 2:30 PM


SEBER, Dogan, Cornell University, Institute for the Study of the Continents, Snee Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853, ds51@cornell.edu

Technological advancements in the past decade have made it clear that information management systems will play a critical role in future scientific research, education, decision making, as well as public education and outreach. The field of earth sciences has already started to feel the pressure to utilize large-scale information systems in research and educational efforts. As our understanding of the dynamic earth system processes grows, earth scientists are challenged by scientific questions that can only be addressed with the help of comprehensive and interdisciplinary information systems. Up to now, however, only a small number of individuals through isolated efforts have been developing discipline specific geoscience information systems. One such effort is Cornell University’s Geoscience Information Systems Project. The Geoscience Information System project, started almost a decade ago, is a major initiative that targets to develop a comprehensive information system for the geosciences. The project has both research and educational focus and builds web-based information systems to be used by researchers and educators/students. The web-based information access mechanisms developed have easy-to-use interfaces that allow users to access a variety of geoscience data sets. The future, however, requires much more than what we can accomplish as individual scientists. A community-initiated, large scale effort is needed. The Geoinformatics initiative started by the NSF is so far the largest organized effort. The success of such an effort will depend on the community participation. One of the goals of the Cornell’s Geoscience Information Systems project is to show the community at large the benefits of information systems and their uses in research and education. Once the community at large understands the benefits of such systems, the Geoinformatics revolution that has started as a nascent effort will become one of the most beneficial initiatives in the geosciences for years to come.