December marks the end of a geographic pilot project, managed by Cybera, that improves researcher access to international environmental data drawn from more than 60,000 sensors and 2,800 web map servers. The Geospatial Cyberinfrastructure for Environmental Sensing (GeoCENS) project was created in 2009 as a 3D platform that enables researchers and citizens to gain access to, and share insights on, the Earth's climatic, hydrologic, and biotic systems and processes. The $1.1 million system was funded through CANARIE's Network-Enabled Platforms (NEP) Program.
The GeoCENS cloud-based web platform collects and shares live and archived geographic data covering a range of topics, from soil erosion and ice thickness, to animal migration. This information is accessible through a virtual globe — similar to Google Earth and can be downloaded, analyzed and compared to other data sets. The open system works with a variety of data types, and enables researchers in the field to remotely upload their findings as they happen, both quickly and easily. The GeoCENS technology also allows for different applications to be built upon it, such as precision agriculture, groundwater monitoring, fleet management, or smart home maintenance.
"GeoCENS is changing the way scientists collect and collaborate on environmental sensing data," says Steve Liang, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geomatics Engineering at the University of Calgary, and Co-Principal Investigator for GeoCENS. He credits Cybera with providing the expertise and management support to help get GeoCENS off the ground. "Cybera has not only coordinated our activities and applications, but has also introduced the GeoCENS project to an international audience. Several organizations have now decided to adopt GeoCENS as their online platform for connecting, managing and sharing sensor data," Liang adds.
"Cybera is proud to have participated in the GeoCENS project, and looks forward to its evolution as an environmental monitoring tool for scientists and engaged citizens," says Robin Winsor, President and CEO of Cybera. "Enabling new discoveries and making Alberta the centre for leading-edge research is a major focus of Cybera's mandate, as we seek to spur and support innovation as an economic driver for the province."
The GeoCENS project recently received additional funding from CANARIE's NEP Maintenance Program, which will be used to continue its development until March 2012. "Advanced research projects such as GeoCENS are helping keep Canada at the forefront of innovation," says Jim Roche, President and CEO of CANARIE. "This web platform is an example of how the CANARIE network is actively contributing to higher rates of productivity in Canada's research fields."
GeoCENS is one of two CANARIE-funded NEP projects managed by Cybera. For more information on Cybera's projects, please click here.