A principle investigator with Cybera's Geospatial Cyberinfrastructure for Environment Sensing (GeoCENS) project has received $220,000 from Microsoft Research and Alberta Innovates – Technology Futures (Tech Futures) to develop a virtual environmental observatory.
Dr. Steve Liang, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geomatics Engineering at the University of Calgary, has been awarded a Research Chair position to build an open sensor web that more effectively monitors changes in the Earth's surface. This will be an extension of his GeoCENS project work, which enables biogeoscientists to search, visualize and share geographical datasets using a 3D virtual platform.
'The goal is to take the GeoCENS open sensor web infrastructure and develop any missing technologies involved with centralizing and organizing the huge amounts of data collected by ground-based sensors across North America,' explains Liang.
Microsoft Research offered the funding to Liang and his Geosensor Web Lab at the University of Calgary after attending a GeoCENS workshop at Cybera's 2010 Summit in Banff, AB. Dr. Yan Xu, Senior Research Program Manager at Microsoft Research, said Liang's GeoCENS work represents the new paradigm of virtual and collaborative research.
'We expect this collaboration will advance environmental research and produce outcomes that will not only facilitate Liang's research, but also benefit the environmental community,' says Xu.
Microsoft's funding is being matched by Tech Futures, which promotes Alberta research innovation.
'Sharing scientific information globally in a secure and easy way is becoming increasingly important to many researchers in very different fields,' notes Dr. John Kendall, General Manager of Post-Secondary Investments at Tech Futures. 'We are delighted to support this project.'
For Cybera, this highlights the value Cybera sees in supporting projects which advance the use of cyberinfrastructure to support collaborative research and business innovation.
'We always aim to open doors for our project participants to new partners and opportunities to leverage their innovations, and so we are excited to see what Dr. Liang will accomplish,' says Jill Kowalchuk, Vice-President of Project & Partnership Development at Cybera.
GeoCENS is one of two CANARIE-funded Network-Enabled Platform projects supported by Cybera.