9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Ivers Room, Yarrow Resort Hotel and Conference Ctr.
Park City, Utah, USA

Dawn Wright (Oregon State U.)
Tim Nyerges (U. of Washington)
Phil Yang (George Mason U.)
Robert Raskin (NASA JPL)
Lynn Usery (USGS)

Most images to left courtesy of NSF CI Vision document. Reload page to see another.

The term cyberinfrastructure (CI) is being used with greater frequency to refer to how the traditional modes of scientific research (e.g., experimentation in the lab, observation in the field, processing/analyzing on a single calculator or computer, calculations on the back of an envelope) are being extended or replaced by advancements in information technology. Distributed computing is a particularly important part of the activity, as the computing power in CI for serving, rendering, analyzing, and simulating data may be as distributed as the data sets themselves (e.g., execution of data on one machine, rendering on another, send to another machine for GIS analysis, etc.). And this distribution often implies that data producers and providers are willing and able to share their products, often in near real-time. Full utilization of these advancements is an emerging area for GIScience with special considerations for geospatial "grid computing," the so-called "GIS 2," and the development of new frameworks for searching and analyzing huge datasets from regional observatories and sensor networks over the web. CI addresses some fundamental themes and research priorities in GIScience, such as distributed and mobile computing, spatial information infrastructures, distributed geospatial data mining, and the geospatial semantic web, all of which are closely related to the main themes of the GIScience 2008 conference.
Background & Workshop Topics | Intended Audience | Goals and Expected Outcomes
Workshop Schedule & Presentations | Contacts

Background & Workshop Topics

NSF formed the Office of CI and released the vision document Cyberinfrastructure Vision for 21st Century Discovery. "Geography," "geospatial" and "geographic information science" are barely mentioned in this document, indicating an opportunity and unique niche that GIScience might fill. Recent momentum on this topic includes the formation of the new CI Specialty Group of the AAG and the presentation of geospatial CI research projects at recent AAG meetings in San Francisco and Boston. A CI interest group was formed at the 2007 UCGIS Summer Assembly, with an eye toward proposing workshops on this theme for the GIScience community. In addition, "GIScience and Cyberinfrastructure: Making Global Connections," was the main theme of the UCGIS Winter Assembly in Washington, DC (February 2008), featuring speakers from various government agencies.

NSF is ramping up CI funding, so what is the geospatial niche and how can we convey these CI needs to NSF? GEON, NEON, ORION, already exist for geology/geophysics, ecology/biology, and the oceans respectively. USGS/FGDC leads the effort in building the national spatial data infrastructure, which is directly contributing/leveraging CI while at the same time facing problems, such as performance and semantics. So we need to address what hasn't been addressed yet. A geospatial niche might involve more extensive connections to society/GIScience/social science/humanities. The time is ripe for articulating a "Geospatial CI Research Agenda," identifying what has been accomplished and where the new opportunities exist.

Therefore, the CI workshop at GIScience 2008 aimed to continue the momentum of these prior activities by:

  • introducing this emerging topic to interested GIScientists attending the conference, including sub-topics such as:
    Geospatial meaning making through semantic integration; Geomiddleware
    Using data autonomous sensor networks; Distributed geospatial data collection, storage, and analysis
    Synthesizing distributed data for display; Context modeling
    Probabilistic modeling;Semantic, tool, and model interoperability
    Validation, epistemology for agent-based models;Web portals, web services
    Spatial-temporal 3D modeling, volume, true 3D;Rapid transformations on the web (e.g., projections)
    High performance computing;Geospatial decision support tools
  • facilitating further dialogue and strategizing on this emerging topic, especially how to bring geospatial and GIScience in CI more to the fore at NSF; and

  • discussing work in progress in CI among colleagues and how GIScientists might extend this work by additional funding (i.e., workplans for future collaborations, organizing proposal teams for upcoming calls, joint efforts on special issues of journals, white papers, other publication outlets).

Back to Top

Intended Workshop Audience

This workshop welcomed those new to the topic of CI and interested in joining this community of researchers, as well as those who are already establishing themselves in this realm. We sought to raise the awareness of CI within the GIScience community and to serve specific application domains within and outside of GIScience. We plan follow-up workshops at other venues along these lines.

Back to Top

Goals and Expected Outcomes

The workshop is expected to deliver two outcomes:

  1. For those new to the topic, a greater understanding of what CI is, its importance to GIScience, and main ongoing research topics. As a result they may want to join those already active in the research area by way of item (2) below.
  2. For those already active in CI, the workshop included discussions of possible research projects and collaborative teams that might respond to upcoming calls for proposals (such as Sustainable Digital Data Preservation and Access Network Partners (DataNet; NSF 07-601, Feb 2009); Community-based Data Interoperability Networks (INTEROP; NSF 07-565, July 2009); and Cyber-Enabled Discovery and Innovation (CDI; NSF 07-603, Aug 2009).), as well as special issues of journals.

Back to Top

Workshop Schedule and Presentations

Download pdf notes from all sessions

9:00 - 9:15 - Welcome and introduction by Dawn Wright (Oregon State), including goals of workshop, round-the-table intros of participants [pdf of presentation]

9:15 - 9:45 - Shaowen Wang (U. Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) - "Bridging CI and GIScience - A Holistic Approach" [pdf of presentation]

9:45 - 10:15 - Phil Yang (George Mason) - "GeoCyberinfrastructure" [pdf of presentation]

10:15 - 10:45 - Rob Raskin (NASA JPL) - "Knowledge as CI: Toward Geographic Knowledge Systems (GKS)" [pdf of presentation]

10:45 - 11:00 - BREAK

11:00 - 12:00 - Tim Nyerges (U. Washington) - "GIScience Knowledge Web" [pdf of presentation]

12:00 - 1:00 - LUNCH (Organizers meet to further refine afternoon slots)

1:00 - 2:00 - Lynn Usery (USGS) - "The National Map Relationship to NSDI and NGP" [pdf of presentation]
"The USGS Center of Excellence for Geospatial Information Science" [pdf of presentation]

2:00 - 4:00 - Combine with Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) Workshop Discussion of community needs and related NSF program announcements. Concluding discussion of linkages with AAG CI specialty group activities, special issues for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Cartographica, related book projects in development, and other action items and opportunities.
Download pdf notes from session
Jim Tobias Public Health SOA Poster
OGC Network (like a "Wikipedia of OGC standards and services")

We will maintain an email listserv and/or wiki (likely by the AAG CI Specialty Group) to continue the discussions.

Back to Top


Workshop organizers:

  • Dawn Wright, Department of Geosciences, Oregon State University, dawn-at-dusk.geo.orst.edu, geospatial semantic web issues and tools, web portal and services
  • Tim Nyerges, Department of Geography, University of Washington, nyerges-at-u.washington.edu; cyber-enabled systems for geospatial analytic-deliberative data processing
  • Rob Raskin, NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, raskin-at-jpl.nasa.gov; semantic interoperability, ontologies
  • Lynn Usery, Acting Director, Center of Excellence for Geospatial Information Science, USGS, usery-at-usgs.gov; rapid transformations on the web; sensor networks
  • Phil Yang, Department of Geography and Geoinformation Sciences, Director of the Joint Center for Intelligent Spatial Computing, George Mason University, cyang3-at-gmu.edu; spatial computing, grid-enabled applications, and interoperability