CyberConnector: flexibly feeding earth observation data to earth science models


CyberConnector, which is a service-oriented web system funded by NSF EarthCube project, aims to bridge earth observation (EO) data to earth science models (ESM). As ESM modelers generally create their own private input file formats, it is very time-and-labor-consuming for modelers to prepare the qualified ESM input files. Especially, those data-intensive models usually require dozens of input files that are generated out of many EO data sources. In order to plugin EO data sources to ESM in an effortless manner, CyberConnector is proposed to realize easier connections among data, services and models. It consists of seven major modules: model designer, model binder, model runner, model monitor, resource register, order manager, and result display. In CyberConnector, data and models are independent and completely loosely coupled. A modeler only needs to create a preprocessing model in model designer based on the services in resource register. Once the modeler specifies a study area, the designed model will be activated and take the temporal and spatial extent as constraints to search the data sources within the area and reformat the available data into model-acceptable input files. The model run, which is powered by geoprocessing web service and workflow technology, is completely automatic. In order to validate the feasibility and flexibility of CyberConnector, two models are tested on the system we developed. We choose the two models from different disciplines to prove that CyberConnector is discipline independent. Each model leverages multisource datasets and costs modelers a lot of time on input data preparation. In the experiment, we compared the time cost of manual operation and CyberConnector operation, and try to address the benefits brought by CyberConnector in EO data distribution and ESM application efficiency. The results prove that CyberConnector is able to save them a lot of time on data preprocessing, simplify the steps to plug in a data source to an ESM and lower the entry barriers for beginners to use ESMs despite of little knowledge about technical details of input file preparation. 

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