Scalable Information Networks for the Environment (SINE) Workshop Overview

The SINE workshop, hosted by the Partnership for Biodiversity Informatics (PBI), will assemble research scientists, directors of field stations and marine laboratories, as well as experts in computational and information sciences to discuss the technical requirements for building local, regional, and national-level networks designed to deliver continuous, integrated high-quality data in real or near real time. Each of these audiences will contribute to and learn from the information exchange. Scientists will share their experiences in expanding site-specific science to broader spatial scales, and will discuss future information infrastructure needs in light of new sensors (field and satellite) and data collection capabilities. Directors of field stations and marine laboratories will ground the workshop in the present-day realities of existing infrastructure and capabilities, and will contribute to a new vision of how field stations and marine laboratories can expand to meet the needs for a national capability for observing and understanding environmental complexity. Computational and information scientists will present state of the art developments in sensor technologies, networking, information delivery, and knowledge generation.

Workshop presentations, discussion, and working group sessions will focus on three topics:

  1. Building distributed sensor networks: design and implementation issues.
  2. Enabling technologies and user requirements for data and information management and delivery.
  3. Building scalable environmental information networks--data, computers, and people.

As environmental research becomes more complex and multidisciplinary, gains in our understanding of ecosystem biocomplexity can be furthered through the application of technologies that improve data management and delivery; enhance modeling and prediction capabilities; and facilitate communication among individuals, environmental sensors, computers, and databases. This workshop will be the first attempt to envision a scalable national environmental information infrastructure that meets the needs of scientists working at local and broader sales, as well as decision-makers and educators that may require information at regional to national scales. Consequently, the discussions and working group reports are anticipated to be of broad interest to many disciplines. To meet this information need, several means will be used to disseminate the workshop products to the broader community including:

  • A webcast and web archive of the presentations
  • A white paper of the proceedings and recommendations which will be posted online
  • Peer reviewed article(s) outlining present technical capabilities and best practices for designing scalable environmental information networks

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