Building the Digital Earth

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Project Objectives:

The Cornell University's Geoscience Information System Project, started in 1995, is a major initiative that targets to develop a comprehensive Geoscience Information System for the geosciences. The initiative is largely due to acceptance that existing information systems and knowledge extraction techniques are inadequate. In order to handle the changing needs of the geoscience community that is striving to understand the Earth's complex system composed of myriad interrelated mechanisms drastic changes are needed. The ways geoscientists approach solving the Earth System Science problems require a new look. This is essential if we are to succeed in utilizing interdisciplinary studies in the geosciences.

The currently chaotic distribution of truly massive data sets, their uneven documentation, and the lack of easy-to-use access tools and computer codes for analysis are major obstacles for scientists and educators alike. These obstacles limit both scientific productivity and the quality of education, as well as depriving policy makers of vital information needed to make informed decisions about the natural processes that affect all of us.

Technological advancements in recent years have made it clear that information management systems will be a critical component of science as well as society. It is now time to adjust and re-evaluate our current approaches and the way we look at solving scientific problems. These efforts in building a Geoscience Information System is one of the most important steps that geoscientists could undertake in making the most use of new technological advancements. The potential of having all information and knowledge along with access, modeling, and visualization tools under the finger tips of a user represents a power that has never been practiced.

A TM mosaic in the Middle East

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