ANDS Logo

Project promotion materials:

Project Homepage:

http://research.jcu.edu.au/enmasse

Software is available at:

https://github.com/jcu-eresearch

Software categories:

Sensor Networks

Integration metadata from various systems which are internal to an institution

Project Members:

Ian Atkinson (Project Contact, ian.atkinson@jcu.edu.au)

Marianne Brown (Project Manager, marianne.brown@jcu.edu.au)

Nigel Sim (Developer, nigel.sim@ jcu.edu.au)

Casey Bajema (Developer, casey@bajtech.com.au)

Nigel Bajema (Developer, nigel.bajema@my.jcu.edu.au)

ANDS Contact:

Andrew White (andrew.white@ands.org.au)

Project Status:

Completed

Tropical Data Hub – Automated Rich Data Capture

James Cook University

Project Description:

James Cook University is ranked in the top 4% of universities world wide (Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) 2012); a large part of this is in the fields of ecology, conservation biology and climate change research. A key part of the research in these fields (and others) is environmental monitoring. Data collection involves both manual recording of observations and automated recording of sensor data including environmental, audio and video; such data often remains with individual researchers or research groups who use it for a specific purpose (analysis, publications, reports, etc) and then it often remains hidden in the proverbial filing cabinet. There is a trend toward open data whereby data is used for its intended purpose but then made available for others to “recycle”. The aim of this project is to provide an institutional solution for storage of environmental data for researchers to use and reuse.

Until now, it has been left up to individual researchers or research teams to deal with the issue of data storage – both in terms of data formats and long term storage. This is lead to an ad-hoc approach of storing data in formats making re-use or sharing virtually impossible or on devices such external drives, USB keys and SSD cards with the unfortunate, but not uncommon, occasional loss of data. This project alleviates much of these by providing consistent format of data, long-term storage and aids re-use by providing sharing options (e.g., open access, embargoed for some time or closed access) and forcing researchers to provide appropriate metadata.

The system alleviates the issue researchers have with data storage and backup. Researchers obtain long-term storage for data by simply setting up a project in the EnMaSSe system. As part of the set up, metadata about the project as well as more specific metadata about the data feeds is collected. This enables the system to not only configure the storage space and ingesters for the data but to also generate metadata records for both the project and the individual datasets that will be created. Previously, a project might generate hundreds of datasets but only one metadata record at the project level due to the work involved. These records are then automatically loaded and published in the JCU Research Data repository and published to RDA. This allows for a much higher visibility of the datasets being collected and will hopefully lead to increased collaborations and research data re-use that in turn will lead to more citations.

Thus far, manual and automated collections of species and environmental data for the Australian Wet Tropics regions have been ingested; the data was aggregated by the Centre for Tropical Biodiversity and Climate Change (CTBCC). Lead by Prof Stephen Williams, the data represents a long-term (>14 years) of observation records for birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates, and automated collection of microclimatic data using a variety of sensors; this work is still ongoing and represents one of the best long-term rainforest collections in the world. It is currently the focus of many projects; within the CTBCC, this data forms the basis of > $3 million in current research funds, > 50 research articles in the last 5 years, numerous governmental reports, and feeds into current and future regional planning. Currently, access to the datasets requires interested parties to contact the principle researcher, Prof Stephen Williams; recent discussions have suggested that all data but the species abundance information will be open access under a CC-BY-AU licence (species abundance data is the focus of current research and will be embargoed).

All software developed as part of this project is available from the JCU eResearch Github site:
• Provisioning system code base:
https://github.com/jcu-eresearch/TDH-rich-data-capture
• Ingester API:
https://github.com/jcu-eresearch/jcu.dc24.ingesterapi
• Ingester platform:
https://github.com/jcu-eresearch/TDH-dc24-ingester-platform
• Deployment script:
https://github.com/jcu-eresearch/EnMaSSe-Deployment
• Documentation:
https://github.com/jcu-eresearch/TDH-Rich-Data-Capture-Documentation

ANZSRC-FOR code:

9605 ECOSYSTEM ASSESSMENT AND MANAGEMENT
9608 FLORA
FAUNA AND BIODIVERSITY
9609 LAND AND WATER MANAGEMENT
9611 PHYSICAL AND CHEMICAL CONDITIONS OF WATER
9612 REHABILITATION OF DEGRADED ENVIRONMENTS
9613 REMNANT VEGETATION AND PROTECTED CONSERVATION AREAS