A Tour of Glacier Data Sets via Google Earth and GeoServer

Posted in Companies, Development on February 21, 2009



Two widely used glacier data sets are the World Glacier Inventory (WGI) and the Glacier Photograph Collection (GPC). Both data sets are available from the National Snow and Ice Data Center. The WGI encompasses over 100,000 records of glacier data and the GPC houses approximately 10,000 digitized photographs. The online GPC has doubled in size this year due to significant updates from the USGS Ice and Climate Project collection and also many contributions by Austin Post.

These updates bring photographs from the past to the forefront by enabling users to view Alaskan glaciers from the 1960s through the 1990s. The GPC KML files are updated intermittently. Because the WGI contains over 100,000 data records, a PostgreSQL database with a PostGIS extension was selected to store the data. GeoServer, an open source server, supports PostGIS and produces KML output automatically. By facilitating access to the KML files, data users can locate their region of interest and search for glacier data in a spatial context. The KML files are presented in Google Earth.

Presenter: Lisa Ballagh
National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), University of Colorado at Boulder.

Lisa Ballagh's background is best characterized as an amalgamation of science and technology. In 2001, she received a Bachelor's degree in Management Science and Information Technology from Virginia Tech. She completed a Master's degree in Geography at the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 2007. Sea ice thickness in the Arctic was the theme of her thesis work and involved running spatial interpolations of two disparate data sets in a GIS environment. As Acting Program Manager for the NOAA-funded work at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), Lisa leads a team that publishes data sets from scientists. An additional responsibility includes coordinating the Virtual Globes effort at NSIDC (http://nsidc.org/data/virtual_globes/).

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Tags: Google, KML, Google Earth, geoserver, glacier, wgi, gpc, alaska, nsidc, cires, lisa, ballagh, photograph, keyhole, markup, agu, Development, Companies