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Birds of a Feather Session: Visualising the Gains of Environmental e-Science

Date: Wednesday 20th September 2006, 17:00 - 19:00 Venue: Conference Room 2

Organisers: Martin T Dove (martin@esc.cam.ac.uk) and Stuart J Ballard National Institute for Environmental eScience, University of Cambridge in collaboration with Keith Haines and Jon Blower of the Reading eScience Centre


Environmental escience covers a huge range of length and time scales, from the global to the molecular in length scale, and from of order 1014 to 10–14 s in time. The work within environmental escience involves running large-scale and combinatorial/ensemble simulations, the latter of which have particularly benefitted from grid computing methods. It also involves significant data management issues, including, for example, real-time access to data from major data producers such as the Met Office using web services, but also including management of the data produced by grid-enabled combinatorial/ ensemble simulations. One other significant component of environmental escience is the importance of coupling together different models; an example bring models that couple oceanographic, atmospheric and land vegetation models.

Progress within the UK environmental escience programme has now reached the stage where escience methods are enabling new scientific issues to be tackled. In order for the end-user scientists to exploit these gains, it is important that they have new ways to visualise data, including both the raw data that are used in their models and the outputs of their combinatorial/ensemble simulations. We cite three examples: first, the use of visualisation to provide users with oceanographic data (such as temperature, salinity, ice cover), with the visualisation constructed; second, the use of XML within combinational/ensemble studies for collating data coupled with transformation to HMTL and SVG for on-the-fly real-time visualisation of the outputs of such studies carried out using grid computing methods; third, combining environmental data with the APIs for Google Maps.

Aim of session

This "Birds of the Feather" session will focus on visualisation within environmental escience. The environmental science community has previously held successful "Birds of a Feather" sessions focussing on applications of grid data management and grid computing methods to enable new approaches in environmental science. Our approach in this session is to recognise the considerable achievements within the UK environmental escience program and to focus on developments to bring data visualisation to the users’ desktops.

Format/schedule of programme

The programme will have presentations from various environmental escience projects (we expect around 6 presentations). Each project will give a brief summary presentation (typically of order 10 minutes, some including a demonstration), with ample time for questions from the audience and general discussion. The range of techniques used by the community is sufficiently large that we envisage a lively exchange of ideas and experiences. We envisage that one tangible outcome will be that opportunities will be created for presenting projects to be able to subsequently help other groups uses the tools being discussed and/or demonstrated.


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