NASA Beefs Up Online World Climate Model and Information Tools
Greenbelt - Mar 04, 2004
Students, scientists, teachers, reporters and the scientifically curious can
locate any kind of Earth science data much easier and quicker than ever before,
using NASA's Global Change Master Directory (GCMD). The redesigned website, a
directory of Earth science data and services is being re-launched on March 1st
to provide easier access to data and services.
The GCMD, updated daily, provides Earth science data sets and services relevant
to global change research. The GCMD's 13 data set topics, found under the
"Data Sets" tab, provide summaries of the data sets and specific
information such as data over time and location, a citation for the creator of
the database, and direct links to data and services.
Available dataset topics range from tiny airborne particles (aerosols) to the
continental-sized ozone hole to global sea surface temperatures. The GCMD topics
include: Agriculture, Atmosphere, Biosphere, Climate Indicators, Human
Dimensions, Hydrosphere, Land Surface, Oceans, Paleoclimate, Snow and Ice, Solid
Earth, Spectral/Engineering and Sun-Earth Interactions.
Users can search over 15,000 data sets and services and link to more than over
76,000 resources within the descriptions The individual data set descriptions
were contributed by more than 1,300 data centers, government agencies,
universities, research institutions, and private researchers around the world.
For scientists and others who want to add or modify GCMD datasets, they can do
so under the "Authoring" tab by using the new "docBUILDER"
web-based tools. Under the "Data Services" tab are available services
from analysis and visualization tools to education and environmental
The "Portals" tab is the most important to specific groups of data
users. "Perhaps the greatest contribution of the GCMD to the public has
been the ability to create customized subsets of the directory that can be
displayed, in turn, by special interest groups," said Lola Olsen, Directory
Project Manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
"These groups save major development and maintenance costs by re-using the
directory capabilities." For example, member countries of the Joint
Committee on Antarctic Data Management (JCADM) contribute directory entries
using the GCMD tools and may then, in turn, host individual, customized subsets
of the database through "portals" through which they can display their
Reporters and others interested in upcoming recent climate change conferences
can find up to 1,000 entries under the "Calendar" tab. Under the
"What's New" tab, there are new Earth science and climate change
research stories and the latest GCMD data set descriptions.
Students and teachers will also benefit from the "Learning Center"
that can be found under the "Community" tab. Clicking on "FAQ:
Frequently Asked Questions" at the bottom of the homepage, one can see
answers to questions such as "Where can I find information about the ozone
hole and ozone depletion?" Finally, the "Links" tab acts as a
web-based search engine for easy access to over 2,500 Earth science web
For those who use the directory often, there is also a search box icon that
permits direct access to the directory through a simple download to a user's
website. Users can also subscribe to an email notification on postings of new
datasets for "Earth Science Topics" and "Geographic
Locations" by clicking on "Subscribe" on the left tool bar.
The directory content is shared and available as part of NASA's contribution to
the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites' (CEOS) International Directory
Network (IDN). The content is also made available to the National Spatial Data
Infrastructure's (NSDI) Federal Geographic Data Committee's (FDGC)
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