NASA’s Improved Web-Resource on the World’s Changing Climate

March 1, 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.

Internet users can access the directory at http://globalchange.nasa.gov or http://gcmd.nasa.gov. The re-launched website is easier to navigate, with 9 tabs running atop the home page, including: Home, Data Sets; Data Services; Portals; Authoring; What’s New; Community; Calendar; and Links.

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 advisories.

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 own contribution.

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 resources.

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) Clearinghouse.

Questions can be directed to Lola Olsen, GCMD Project Manager, Code 902, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. 20771 Phone: 301-614-5361 E-mail: olsen@gcmd.nasa.gov

To access the Global Change Master Directory, please visit on the Internet:
http://globalchange.nasa.gov or http://gcmd.nasa.gov

For more information, please visit on the Internet: http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/topstory/2004/ 0301gcmd.html

Rob Gutro
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
Phone: 301/285-4044

Informant: NHNE


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März 2004

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