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Elsevier and IEDA Announce Winner of 2013 Data Rescue Competition for Earth Sciences

SAN FRANCISCO, January 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --

Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, and IEDA (Integrated Earth Data Applications), an NSF-funded data facility in the geosciences at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, announced the winner of the 2013 International Data Rescue Award in the Geosciences at the American Geophysical Union meeting. The award - a stone trophy and $ 5,000 - was awarded to the NIMBUS Data Rescue Project, developed by the Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC) at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado.

The International Data Rescue Award in the Geosciences has been established in 2013 by Elsevier and IEDA with the aim to improve preservation and access of data in the earth sciences discipline. This year's winner, The NIMBUS Data Rescue Project, managed the recovery, reprocessing and digitization of the infrared and visible observations of the Nimbus I, II and III satellites which were collected from 1964 to 1970, along with their navigation and formatting. Over 4,000 7-track tapes of global infrared satellite data were read and reprocessed. Nearly 200,000 visible light images were scanned, rectified and navigated. All the resultant data was converted to HDF-5 (NetCDF) format and freely distributed to users from NASA and NSIDC servers. This data was then used to calculate monthly sea ice extents for both the Arctic and the Antarctic.

"The Nimbus project rescued data of high relevance to climate research, extending the climatic record in the polar regions back for at least 16 years. The quality of the rescue process was exemplary. It had to overcome enormous challenges, requiring the development of hardware and software to recover the data from decayed media. What made this project the winner project though was the fact that it actually improved the quality of the original data for future use and that the approach that was developed can be re-used to rescue other dataset," said Kerstin Lehnert, Director of IEDA and chair of the judging panel.

In addition, three projects were singled out for honorary mention:

  • oldWeather, by the Zooniverse team (http://www.oldweather.org/) - an effort that engages citizen volunteers to transcribe and curate weather observations from ships' logs, recorded decades and centuries ago;
  • Nuclear explosion signals (http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/res/pi/Monitoring/Data/), a project that captured the information from 8,000 Soviet-era magnetic tapes, each holding about 10 megabytes of earthquake and explosion signal data archived at Borovoye, Kazakhstan, by Paul Richards and his team at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, the Institute of Dynamics of the Geospheres in Moscow, and the Russia Institute of Geophysical Research in Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan;
  • Unlocking the Landsat archive (http://www.ga.gov.au/earth-observation/accessing-satellite-imagery/future-of-landsat-archive.html) by Lockheed Martin Australia, focused on making available the images from six functional LANDSAT satellites spanning from 1972 to the current LANDSAT 5 and 7 missions, constituting the longest running enterprise for acquisition of satellite imagery of Earth.

In launching the competition, Elsevier and IEDA aimed to showcase the breadth, depth and diversity of existing initiatives for disclosing research data within the field of geosciences, to promote recognition of these efforts and to encourage new developments in this direction. In addition, they are hoping to encourage the establishment of a multi-disciplinary community across all areas of geosciences to discuss the multitude of tools and methods that are being developed to rescue data from oblivion and stimulate the sharing of knowledge, tools and standards pertaining to making research data reusable across various earth and environmental sciences domains.

Anita de Waard, Vice President Research Data Services at Elsevier commented, "In Earth Sciences in particular, discovering old data is at least as important as finding new data. All the submissions in this competition have shown ingenuity, perseverance and that very hard work can make unique historical contributions available to the modern-day geoscientist. We are happy to have helped bring together this valuable group of contributions and honor their achievements."

The judges' panel was formed by:

  • Linda Gundersen, US Geological Survey
  • Helen Glaves, British Geological Survey
  • Kerstin Lehnert, IEDA (Chair)
  • Mark Parsons, Research Data Alliance
  • Lesley Wyborn, Geoscience Australia
  • Ilya Zaslavsky, University of California, San Diego

Details of the competition criteria and a link to the submitted proposals can be found on the Data Rescue Award website: http://researchdata.elsevier.com/datachallenge 

Notes for editors

For more information about the initiative, contact organizers: Anita de Waard, Vice President Research Data Collaborations, Elsevier Research Data Services: [email protected], or Kerstin Lehnert, Director, IEDA: [email protected]

About Integrated Earth Data Applications (IEDA)

IEDA or Integrated Earth Data Applications is a community-based data facility funded by the US National Science Foundation (NSF) to support, sustain, and advance the geosciences by providing data services for observational solid earth data from the Ocean, Earth, and Polar Sciences. IEDA systems enable these data to be discovered and reused by a diverse community now and in the future. IEDA operates and maintains system such as the EarthChem Library, the Marine Geoscience Data System, PetDB, Geochron, GeoMapApp, and the System for Earth Sample Registration SESAR. http://www.iedadata.org

About Elsevier

Elsevier is a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. The company works in partnership with the global science and health communities to publish more than 2,000 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and 25,000 book titles, including major reference works from Mosby and Saunders. Elsevier's online solutions include ScienceDirect, Scopus, SciVal, Reaxys, ClinicalKey and Mosby's Suite, which enhance the productivity of science and health professionals, helping research and health care institutions deliver better outcomes more cost-effectively.

A global business headquartered in Amsterdam, Elsevier employs 7,000 people worldwide. The company is part of Reed Elsevier Group PLC, a world leading provider of professional information solutions in the Science, Medical, Legal and Risk and Business sectors, which is jointly owned by Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV. The ticker symbols are REN (Euronext Amsterdam), REL (London Stock Exchange), RUK and ENL (New York Stock Exchange).

Media contact
Harald Boersma
Director Corporate Relations, Elsevier
[email protected]

SOURCE Elsevier

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