Science Archives in the 21st Century
The Earth Observing System (EOS) Data and Information System (EOSDIS) is a comprehensive distributed system designed to support NASA's Earth Science missions. Designed in the early 1990's, EOSDIS has been archiving, managing, and distributing Earth science data since 1994. Over the life of EOSDIS, an on-going process of technology updates and improvements in user access, distribution mechanisms, and archive management has attempted to keep the system current. However, data volumes have grown rapidly and the science community has gained experience and capability in processing and analyzing their data. The result is a growing desire to re-examine the current operations for gains and improvements in a variety of areas. In 2004, NASA Headquarters (HQ) chartered a study, called the Evolution of EOSDIS Elements Study, to look at how change could be made to the EOSDIS system. The charter established an independent Study Team to provide recommendations and offer guidance. This team consisted of members from academia and NASA research organizations with experience in using or managing data systems for Earth Sciences data. NASA HQ also convened a Technical Team to develop an approach and implementation plan that would put EOSDIS on an evolution path for the future. This Technical Team consisted of senior staff from the project managing the EOSDIS science system (i.e., the Earth Science Data and Information System (ESDIS) Project) and representatives from the various system elements performing the science data processing, archiving and distribution functions of EOSDIS. The result of the study team was to determine a vision for the evolution of the EOSDIS system and then develop an approach to achieve the vision. The objectives of this evolution of EOSDIS are to: increase end-to-end data system efficiency while decreasing operations costs, increase data interoperability and usability by the science research, application, and modeling communities, improve data access and processing, and ensure safe stewardship. Step 1 of the EOSDIS Evolution was proposed to NASA HQ in November 2005.
As of March 2007, EOSDIS has completed several of the objective proposed in Evolution and plans to be complete by the end of the year. In this presentation, we will describe the underlying goals of EOSDIS evolution, the study and analysis process used to facilitate that evolution, the resulting phased implementation approach with a focus on the initial step to be implemented in the immediate future, and the expected benefits.