Geospatial Cyberinfrastructure for Environmental Sensing

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The Challenge:

To provide an easy-to-access online platform for scientists to share and store geo- and biological sensor data from anywhere in the world. 

The Solution:

The Geospatial Cyberinfrastructure for Environmental Sensing (GeoCENS) is an interactive web-based portal that allows scientists to monitor both landscape and climate changes, and map out how those changes are impacting local ecosystems. Researchers are able to remotely access, exchange and download biological and geoscientific data sets sourced from international sensors and satellites.

How GeoCENS Affects You:

This project allows Earth-based data to be quickly and thoroughly shared with the geoscientific research community to promote better understandings. For example, GeoCENS hosts the Improved Processes and Parameterization for Prediction in Cold Regions research network, which focused on surface-water and weather systems in Canada’s Rocky Mountains and Western Arctic. By studying this, scientists may reach new conclusions on the effects of climate change on northern water flows.

Anyone with an interest in Earth science, from industry to researchers to conservationists, are able to log into the portal and use the 3D virtual globe system (similar to Google Earth) to browse geographic areas of interest.


This CANARIE-funded and Cybera-managed project ran from April, 2007 to March, 2012.


# of users on the portal: 150+

# of sensor records: 1,000,000,000+

# of papers published: 11

# of start-ups: 1 in progress

# of global partnerships: 7

# of research chairs: 1

Lasting Impacts:

“GeoCENS is internationally recognized as one of the most advanced and the most user friendly sensor web data portals,” Steve Liang, project lead.

GeoCENS is leading a working group to create an international standard for connecting world-wide sensors, the Open Geospatial Consortium Internet of ThingsREST API special working group. Steve Liang was voted as the chair of the group in June 2012. Once published, this standard is expected to be used by millions to billions of internet-connected devices.


Principal Investigator of GeoCENS.


Co-developer of the project.


Canada’s Advanced Research and Innovation Network — project funder.

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Project Manager and communications lead for GeoCENS.