Ever-Est: The Platform Allowing Scientists to Cross-Validate Data
EVER-EST provides a platform for Earth Science research and operational applications lifecycle management, based on the innovative use of research objects. The project is led by the European Space Agency (ESA) and involves some of the major European Earth Science data providers and users including the Natural Environment Research Council, the German Aerospace Center, the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, the National Research Council of Italy, and the European Union Satellite Center.
The project is funded by the European Commission H2020 program for three years starting in October 2015. Iolanda Maggio, Long Term Data Preservation Project Manager working for the European Space Agency (ESA), has used EVEREST platform as part of her Master thesis in Data Science. The study, sponsored by RHEA Group, is a yearly Master organized by the University of Tor Vergata in Rome, Italy.
"The EVER-EST platform is organized as a virtual research environment, allowing scientists to use already validated research objects and to create cross-validation between research object and virtual research environments. It enables transparency, sharing, reproducibility, and accountability of research results, and this is very important for the science community to create new knowledge" said Maggio.
The platform’s infrastructure allows access to different Earth Science catalogues, with a specific focus on Earth Observation data, and provides computing processing capabilities. Datasets can be accessed via the platform and also as a Datacube, allowing choosing a pixel or a polygon on a map to obtain a relevant space data time series.
The charts, statistic models and workflows can be loaded and executed on the EVEREST platform and shared with the community. “The information can be reused and reproduced in different working environments by other users. The resulting research object is then validated regarding the content of attributes compiled and a DOI for the citation is applied,” said Maggio.
Following this approach, a new application can be integrated using virtual machines and run on shared private or commercial cloud infrastructures. “This kind of approach is pivotal in allowing adaptation and customization, which are specifically needed for the master activities,” added Maggio.
The platform is currently addressing communities for ocean monitoring, natural hazards, land monitoring, and risk management. It recently supported a study trying to identify correlations between a map of detected anomalies on the Mediterranean Sea and the quantification of deterministic and stochastic components of environmental change that lead to outbreaks of maritime species: in this specific case, the jellyfish.
“The study was a good example of joint work between two communities that were not strictly connected before – Earth Observation researchers and maritime biologists. The adoption of the EVER-EST infrastructure as working environments facilitated the common use of research objects between these two groups,” concluded Maggio.
The final result has been graphically represented using an EVER-EST geographic information system overlapping all information produced by both studies.