Session I: Decision Support Tools Catalog and Community of Practice (DSTCCP): Platform, Applications, and Collaborations



The Decision Support Catalog and Community of Practice (DSTCCP) platform will be discussed as a tool for multiple applications.  For the Renewables Site Selection application, further insights from AWWI and USGS will be presented and discussed. The DSTCCP platform can also be applied for supporting emergency preparedness and disater response in case of extreme weather/climate Events. In addition a similar on-line system can be helpful in supporting NASA SERVIR and USAID programs. Viability of such applications, ideas for collaboration and plans for moving forward will be discussed. 




8:30 AM – 10:00 AM  Energy and Climate WG Session I –Decision Support Tools Catalog and Community of Practice (DSTCCP): Platform, Applications and Collaborations


·         DSTCCP Overview and Update – Shailendra Kumar,  Energy and Environment Consulting; Taber Allison, American Wind and Wildlife Institute;  Laurie Allen and Sky Bristol, US Geological Survey

·         DSTCCP Applications: NASA SERVIR, USAID, and International Collaboration (GEO) – Richard Eckman, NASA

·         ESIP Tools Catalog and Community role for Emergency Preparedness/Disaster Response  in case of extreme weather and climate events  –  Open Discussion


Individual Abstracts:

DSTCCP Applications: NASA SERVIR, USAID, and International Collaboration (GEO)

Richard Eckman, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC


The DSTCCP pilot project demonstrated the utility of a decision support tools catalog to meet stakeholder needs in the wind energy and wildlife habitat communities. The tools catalog exploited ESIP-community expertise in Web technologies to construct a versatile platform that can be adapted to other use scenarios. At the ESIP winter meeting, current capacity building projects of the NASA Applied Sciences Program were described. There are numerous decision support tools that support the Disaster focus area to address the interactions of data providers and decision makers to provide improved disaster response.  Preliminary discussions with the Program indicate that the DSTCCP platform could have relevance to improve the transparency, availability, and interoperability of these tools. In addition, the NASA SERVIR initiative (a collaboration with USAID), which focuses on regional disaster management in addition to other societal benefit areas, is currently considering a tool catalog to improve its knowledge of tool availability. The potential utility of the DSTCCP to these and other program elements is being assessed.

Central to the GEOSS concept is the provision of decision support tools to a wide range of users across multiple societal benefit areas. The current GEO work plan supports this vision in a various ways through its strategic targets in architecture, data management, and science and technology. The DSTCCP (and the concepts and technologies that were used in its construction) could contribute to the enhancement of the GEOSS Common Infrastructure, other related GEO Infrastructure work plan tasks, and many of its societal benefit focus areas. Discussions with GEO are continuing.


ESIP Energy & Climate Working Group

Meeting Notes – July 11, 2013

Energy and Climate WG Session I –Decision Support Tools Catalog and Community of Practice (DSTCCP): Platform, Applications and Collaborations


1.      DSTCCP Overview and Update – Shailendra Kumar

The overall rationale for the decision support tool (DST) catalog is to provide transparency, quality, interoperability and discoverability. The concept was originally developed by Allison LaBonte, then an AAAS fellow at OSTP.

An ESIP community white paper was developed during 2012 and the project to develop the tools catalog began with seed funding from American Wind Wildlife Institute (AWWI). A graduate student support from RPI, Alvaro Graves, developed the DST catalog, focusing on wind energy and wildlife impacts. The catalog was demonstrated at the ESIP winter meeting in January 2013.

The overall goal of the catalog is to facilitate information sharing among the community of practice. Other areas where the catalog may prove useful include: (1) extreme events/disaster response and (2) global climate change impacts.

The DSTCCP was demonstrated during the session, showing its tool search capabilities, taxonomy of information for DST tools, and feedback mechanisms (e.g., tool rating, like for Amazon products). An interesting feature of the catalog is its “Tools forum”, which provides a means of feedback between tool users and developers and stakeholders. Forum topics can be subscribed to, based on one’s interests.


Sky Bristol (USGS) note that the Ecosystems group at USGS is interested in the tool (Laurie Allen). The comment/rating aspect is interesting to USGS, particularly in terms of collecting the feedback which is typically difficult for government agencies to accomplish, given privacy concerns. There is also the potential of leveraging the USGS cataloging application, ScienceBase, for example through a direct API connection to a Drupal application. Information collection (within USGS) would be needed to further populate the tools catalog. He noted that research scientists building tools might be more interested in the user feedback, compared to the developer. He proposed that the scientists should be in the discussion loop for this feedback mechanism within the DSTCCP.

Chris Lyness (NASA) noted that in the NASA world, there’s yet another layer of “remove”. The scientists provide data, while another layer of scientists package these data into other products for applications use. So, these middle-layer applications people need also to be in the feedback loop.


Successful tool uses would be worth tracking (e.g., how and who are using tool) via papers, use cases. This would be a useful quantity to track. The tool catalog fits the Earth Science Collaboratory concept.

2.      DSTCCP Applications: NASA SERVIR, USAID, and International Collaboration (GEO) – Richard Eckman, NASA

Richard discussed potential interactions between the DSTCCP, NASA, and USAID. SERVIR is a NASA-USAID partnership to improve environmental management and resilience to climate change by strengthening the capacity of governments and other key stakeholders to integrate earth observation information and geospatial technologies into development decision-making. The SERVIR thematic areas include energy and climate (as well as disasters, ecosystems, and water). The USAID climate change & development strategy includes investment in clean energy technology and reduce deforestation to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and to help countries and communities prepare for and respond to changes in climate. Numerous decision support tools are in use at the various SERVIR nodes worldwide, responding to multiple societal benefit areas. The DST catalog could improve visibility and utility of these tools.

Central to GEOSS is the provision of decision support tools (using Earth observations as input) to a wide range of users and stakeholders across multiple societal benefit areas. The current GEO work plan supports this vision through its strategic targets in architecture, data management, and science & technology. The DSTCCP could contribute to the enhancement of the GEOSS common infrastructure, other related GEO infrastructure work plan tasks, and to many of its societal benefit areas (energy, climate, and disasters).

Initial discussions with the GEO Secretariat noted that it could be useful to broker DSTCCP (and its information) as a new resource contributing to GEOSS. Presently, in response to a user query, GEOSS answers with a set of matching datasets. By brokering DSTCCP, GEOSS might enrich such a response providing back additional information on useful DS tools. GEO is working in this direction, returning other types of information, such as user feedback, visualization tools, etc. It’s also possible to implement this approach in the reverse direction; that is, to support a query for discovering a DS tool and providing back information on useful GEOSS datasets (working with the DS tool). Discussions with the Secretariat are continuing.


3.      ESIP Tools Catalog and Community role for Emergency Preparedness/Disaster Response  in case of extreme weather and climate events  –  Shailendra Kumar

Droughts, wildfires, storms, hurricanes, floods cause loss of lives, property damage, business disruption, and shortage of resources. To respond to these impacts, government agencies, the private sector, and communities need impact analyses and projections (physical, economical), climate science into actionable information on risks and uncertainties, information for infrastructure investments, and adaptive strategies

A catalog of tools that generate and deliver actionable information to assist state and local governments, private sector and communities in adaptation planning and disaster response and to make decisions that increase resilience could be of significant utility. The DSTCCP could provide a community forum to facilitate discussion of decision maker needs, improve transparency of data, enhance interoperability among tools, and provide a feedback mechanism to tool developers in a manner similar to the initial focus on wind & wildlife impacts.

It was noted that NewYork City is building its own tool(s) to enhance disaster response. The

C40 group, which includes leaders of megacities, is a forum that we should engage to explore connections in the sustainability & resilience domains.


Would this tool catalog serve a purpose in this domain?

Frank Lindsay (NASA) noted that local communities lack knowledge of the array of tools available. ESIP could provide this front-end awareness to these tools. Local planners tend to be slow to react or accept new tools.

Walt Baskin (SSAI) noted that situational awareness is extremely important. It’s useful to align all spatial data in common formats to respond efficiently to events.

Pre-disaster planning “war gaming” might be where ESIP could respond. This would provide an opportunity to work with decision makers and responders before real problems occur.

Frank noted that FEMA and USGS are the players who might benefit most, given their ability to drill down to the local level in these communities.

Chris stated that regional or local engagement is important (like the NASA RSAT program). You have to engage with the community of responders and decision makers; you can’t expect them to come to us.

(Unidentified commenter) a that ESIP could facilitate is matching communities to tools by understanding their needs and requirements..

Michael Goodman (NASA) noted that  OSTP CENRS subcommittee on disaster reduction is a venue that we could engage and make them aware of the potential for ESIP involvement.

Sky agreed with a previous commenter that the war gaming/scenarios concept is an area where ESIP could really play a useful role. We could work with responders as an experiment to see what works and what doesn’t in a particular situation.

Next Steps: Who are the key grass-roots agencies dealing with these issues in disaster response? There was a consensus that we (the DSTCCP community) need to develop a use case. Maybe the NY state representatives could provide a their list of needs?

We need  to understand the audience that we are talking to. By widening the emphasis to extreme events, we can engage a more diverse audience, that is less technical, less aware of “decision support tools” and catalogs. But this also means that we need to communicate at the right level, and tailor the site appropriately to the user community.

Walt noted that a media package (press kit) would be beneficial. This could be a good tool to get the word on our activities out to the public.



1. Explore partnership with NASA SERVIR and USAID office for DSTCCP application.

2. Prepare a proposal for ESIP-USGS collaboration 

3. Populate additional decsision tools  for Renewables site selction and initiate user dialog

Kumar, S.; Eckman, R.; Session I: Decision Support Tools Catalog and Community of Practice (DSTCCP): Platform, Applications, and Collaborations; Summer Meeting 2013. ESIP Commons , March 2013