As scientists are confronted with increasingly massive datasets from observations to simulations, one of the biggest challenges is having the right tools to gain scientific insight from the data and communicate the understanding to stakeholders. Recent developments in web technologies make it easy to manage, analyze, visualize, and share large data sets with the public. Web technologies, intelligent systems, artificial intelligence, and virtual and augmented reality techniques provide advanced capabilities for big data analytics, knowledge discovery and smart communication platforms. This talk provides an overview of developments in web systems for hydrological analysis and communication, and presents real-world applications of these techniques in water resources and disaster mitigation.
The visual representation of data is at the heart of science. From weather forecasts, to hazard maps, to the topography of planets, the choice of colors is critical to conveying information. Yet, largely due to historical usage, default software options, and an apparent attraction to multiple bright colors, color maps such as rainbow-like “jet” are still widely used. These color maps are problematic from both a scientific and societal perspective. For instance, they can distort data because they use uneven color gradients, which lose meaning when printed in black and white, and color combinations are often applied that are unintuitive to the data they are trying to represent. From an inclusivity standpoint, such rainbow maps are also unreadable for the population with some form of color-vision deficiency. Here, we present the work that has been accomplished by the scientific (inc. visualization) community, as well as the readily available solution - “Scientific Colour Maps” (Crameri 2018, Zenodo; Crameri et al. (2020; Nature Coms); www.fabiocrameri.ch/colourmaps). This initiative features freely available, citable color map downloads for an extensive suite of software programs, and handy how-to guide, and discussion around data types and coloring options. There is a pot of scientific gold at the end of every rainbow. Crameri, F. (2018). Scientific colour-maps. Zenodo. http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1243862 Crameri, F., Shephard, G.E. Heron, P.J. The misuse of colour in science. (2020 v11; Nature Communications) https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-19160-7
Lack of high-resolution observations at the inner-core region of tropical cyclones introduces uncertainty into the structure’s true initial state. More accurate measurements at the inner-core are essential for accurate tropical cyclone forecasts. This study seeks to improve the estimates of the inner-core structure by utilizing background information from prior assimilated conventional observations. We provide a scheme for targeted high-resolution observations for platforms such as the Coyote sUAS. In an effort to identify potential locations of high uncertainty, an exploratory investigation of the background information of the state variables pressure, temperature, wind speed, and a combined representation of the state variables given by their linear weighted average is presented. A sampling-based path planning algorithm that considers the Coyote’s energy usage then locates the regions of high uncertainties along a Coyote’s flight, allowing us to maximize the removal of uncertainties. The results of a data assimilation analysis of a typical Coyote flight mission using the proposed deployment scheme shows significant improvements in estimates of the tropical cyclone structure after the resolution of uncertainties at targeted locations.
Undergraduate research internship programs are generally expected to teach interns about research ethics and research misconduct, often using case studies on plagiarism, data falsification/fabrication, and issues around authorship and intellectual property. While these are vital topics to discuss, this approach ignores the fundamental way in which Western science developed in tandem with European imperialistic expansion, and the ethically questionable way in which science historically has been and is often still conducted. For example: 1) How was the ideal of “discovery” in pursuit of knowledge used to justify European imperial expansion, and how did that history shape the current culture of science? 2) When collecting data in the field, do researchers consistently seek permission from the indigenous/international communities that reside on the land? And 3) Do Western scientists tend to disregard Traditional Ecological Knowledge from different cultures as a result of this history? In our 2021 Geosciences REU Workshop Series, we developed an ‘Ethics in the Geosciences Workshop’ that covers the traditional ethics topics, but also shines a light on the dark history of colonialism and racism that underpin Western science. We discussed prominent historical figures such as John Wesley Powell and Captain James Cook. Both men are greatly celebrated in academic/scientific spheres as explorers, cartographers, and scientists . However, their historical contributions reveal blatant racism towards indigenous people, the dismissal of indigenous knowledge and culture as being primitive and delusional, and for Cook, involved brutal slaughters around the world. Their values were aligned with Western imperialism, military expansion, and racism. The workshop included a discussion of examples of ‘parachute’ or ‘helicopter’ science, and the colonial undertones of modern day research in the Geosciences. Examples of racism, sexism, and safety in the field were examined through both a lecture and open-dialogue on a virtual platform. We acknowledged the many identities that we bring to science (race, gender, sexual identity, ability, nationality & citizenship, etc.), the relative privilege and power that these different identities may hold, and discussed addressing slurs and slights by using bystander strategies, as well as finding support in affinity groups. In tandem with this approach of broadening the scope of ethics discussions, it is hoped that intentionally creating safe, inclusive spaces in science for people of various and intersecting identities has the potential to change the ethical framework and social atmosphere in which we do science.
Glacier velocity reflects the dynamics of ice flow, and its change over time serves a key role in predicting the future sea-level rise. Glacier feature tracking (also known as offset tracking or pixel tracking) is one of the most widely-used approaches for mapping glacier velocity using remote sensing data. However, running this workflow relies on multiple empirical parameter choices such as correlation kernel selection, image filter, and template size. As each target glacier area has different data availability, surface feature density, and ice flow width, there is no one-size-fits-all parameter set for glacier feature tracking. Finding an ideal parameter set for a given glacier requires quantitative and objective metrics to determine the quality of resulting velocity maps. The objective of our Glacier feature tracking test (gftt) project is both to devise a set of widely applicable metrics and to build a Python-based tool for calculating them. These metrics can be thus used for comparing the performance of different tracking parameters. We use Kaskawulsh glacier, Canada, as a test case to compare the velocity mapping results using Landsat 8 and Sentinel-2 images, various software packages (including Auto-RIFT, CARST, GIV, and vmap), and a range of input parameters. To begin with, we calculate random error over stable terrain, a metric that has been used for evaluating the uncertainty of the velocity products. We develop two other workflows for exploring new metrics and validating existing metrics, including the test with synthetic pixel offsets and the comparison with GNSS records. These existing and new metrics, calculated through the gftt software, will help determine optimal parameter sets for feature tracking of Kaskawulsh glacier and any other glacier around the world. This work is supported by the NSF Earth Cube Program under awards 1928406, 1928374.
The current technology used by the Extratropical Surge and Tide Operational Forecast System (ESTOFS) on the East of the US and Gulf of Mexico coasts uses a sub-optimal unstructured grid, that over-resolves some straight portions of the coastline, under-resolves complex estuaries and coastal features, and employs roughly uniform resolution depending on the different water depths. The ESTOFS model is very efficient in terms of computational run time because it was designed for operational use, but accuracy is sub-optimal as the details of the complex inland water bodies is not captured with the 200 m minimum mesh resolution. ADCIRC is a robust high-fidelity depth-integrated model, widely used for the coastal community, including ESTOFS, for tides, storm surge, and wave-induced coastal setup. ADCIRC is a continuous-Galerkin based finite element unstructured grid framework that allows using meshes with a heterogeneous resolution to better represent the complexity of the ocean, shelf and nearshore regions. Recent advances on mesh generation tools now allow generating replicable high-resolution grids in times much shorter than the hand-edited processes used to develop the current version of ESTOFS. This opens the opportunity to study the effect of the different resolutions to represent topo-bathymetric and far inland water body features, in order to reduce the computational cost and improve the accuracy of the models. Thus, the objective of this research is to develop an ADCIRC-based model to accurately and efficiently simulate the dynamics of the ocean and riverine system in the Atlantic coast of the US and Gulf of Mexico for tide/storm predictions. The new ADCIRC-based model will incorporate a representation of the riverine system far up to the point where the ocean has no effect on water levels, efficiently use the resolution to reduce the minimum grid-size from 250 m to 50 m, with no significant increase in the number of nodes, and will combine pseudo-quadrilateral elements to efficiently represent narrow channels. This new generation of ESTOFS will represent a significant enhancement of the current technology for tides and storm surge prediction, but also will set up the required conditions for future approaches focused on coupling inland hydrology to the coastal modeling.
Planetary scientists can face challenges in effectively interacting with audiences. To help address their needs, the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) conducts professional development for planetary scientists through seminars and workshops. LPI also enables scientists to participate in public events, and connects them to requests for speakers. LPI’s Sharing Planetary Science seminars include current educational research and incorporate the participants’ own knowledge and experiences in engaging public audiences. Participants attend in-person or online. Post-session surveys indicate that all participants (100%) have found at least one aspect of each seminar valuable. Resulting resources are available online. www.lpi.usra.edu/education/scientist-engagement. In March 2019, working with the Volatiles, Regolith and Thermal Investigations Consortium for Exploration and Science (VORTICES) program, LPI conducted the first Planetary Scientist Engagement Institute. This 2-day training was attended by 23 planetary scientists from across the U.S. who learned about audience needs, common solar system misconceptions, resources for engaging audiences, addressing controversial topics, partnering to reach diverse audiences, and more. In the follow-up evaluation, all (100%) of participants found that the program met their goals and was useful. LPI has conducted a variety of scientist engagement activities at conferences, including sessions and workshops on communicating with audiences, using social media to share their science, and communicating with news media. All have proven popular. LPI hosts a variety of public events, and enables planetary scientists to participate as speakers and as activity facilitators. LPI connects scientists with requests for presentations, both locally and virtually. Future plans include developing a mechanism for evaluating the process and the perceived impact by the scientists. This poster will include further details of these professional development sessions, their resulting resources, the evaluations, and future plans.
The Undergraduate Student Instrumentation Project (USIP) was a NASA program to engage undergraduate students in rigorous scientific research, for the purposes of innovation and developing the next generation of professionals in space research. The program is student led and executed from initial ideation of research objectives to the design and deployment of scientific payloads. The University of Houston was selected twice to participate in the USIP programs. The first program (USIP_UH I) ran from 2013 to 2016. USIP_UH II ran from 2016 to 2019. USIP_UH I (USIP_UH II) at the University of Houston was composed of eight (seven) research teams developing six (seven), distinct, balloon-based scientific instruments. This project was a for-credit course two years in duration. The program has been so successful in terms of improved student career outcomes the University has decided to continue the project with purely local funding. The pandemic has produced a substantial instructional challenge since this project is a lab class! The virtual classroom that we designed to meet this need provides tools for ongoing collaboration, revisions, storage, project planning, systems engineering, and a tool to request immediate feedback from faculty and fellow researchers. Additionally, the classroom provides an ongoing place to store data from different students for many years. New students can use this continuity in a consistent and secure way. We also provided tools for conferencing and communication. A combination of several tools were selected and customized to meet this need. These tools include Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams, Slack, Git, Groupme, and Zoom.
The world has changed, and the role and responsibilities of scientists have changed as a consequence. Not only is there an increasingly urgent need for scientifically informed multi-scale responses to the global problems we face, but there is also a need to address to the obstructive attitudes toward evidence accumulated and presented through scientific activities. What skills will allow future scientists to continue extending the frontiers of knowledge, to cooperate in response to the wicked problems we face, and negotiate the complexities of denialism? These questions go to the very heart of what it means, and is likely to mean in future, to be a scientist. This in turn goes to the heart of the educational process that will deliver graduates able to address these conundrums. The implications of these considerations will be explored from curriculum design, learning outcomes, and pedagogic perspectives. We start by considering the value of longitudinal curricula, problem based learning approaches and authentic assessment strategies. We demonstrate the utility of an enhanced graduate profile framework as a tool for planning educational interventions across the scales at which they occur -- institution, programme, module, session and individual learner. Based on our experiences in formal teaching, informal student support, and research training at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels, we will reflect on the value of such an approach to science education in this brave new post-truth world.
Natural-like technosignatures candidates may represent a detection problem for both artificial systems and humans. We tested traditional computer vision models with natural formations with special characteristics, Ahuna Mons region in Ceres in this particular case. We looked if these artificial models may represent a trustful aid to human detection and identification of potential technosignatures in planetary surfaces. Ahuna Mons is a 4km particular geologic feature on the surface of Ceres of possibly cryovolcanic origin. The special characteristics of Ahuna Mons are also interesting in regard of its surrounding area, especially for the big crater besides. This crater possesses similarities with Ahuna Mons including diameter, age, morphology, etc. Under the cognitive psychology perspective and using current computer vision models we analyzed these two features on Ceres for comparison and pattern recognition similarities. Several algorithms were employed avoiding human cognitive bias. 3D analysis from images of both features characteristics are discussed. Results showed positive results for these algorithms about similarities of both features. Discussion is provided about implications of this pilot computer vision techniques experiment for Ahuna Mons and the potential cognitive bias problem of both human and Artificial Intelligence models and the risks for the search of technosignatures.
Virtual networking opportunities are becoming increasingly important as alternatives or add-ons to offline conferences to lower the academic carbon footprint and make academia more inclusive. Virtual conferences improve access to networking opportunities and knowledge exchange for researchers, e.g., from the Global South or those with disabilities or caregiving obligations. Virtual conferences may be especially important for early-career researchers (ECRs), who are more often excluded from the expensive participation in offline conferences and associated networking opportunities. Our study presents the outcomes from the 2020 online edition of ICYMARE (International Conference for Young Marine Researchers, www.icymare.com), which will use an innovative approach for online networking. ICYMARE is an ideal case for this study as it is organized by and for ECRs. With around 350 participants during the on-site meeting, ICYMARE has great potential to conduct a comprehensive survey on its online alternative and its focus on marine sciences is of high relevance. Following the 2020 online edition and the outcomes of this study, the approach of this conference series may be widened to a mixed conference approach where online participation is fostered in a live conference event (e.g., through live streams, video on demand, TED talk formats). Currently, most online substitute conferences are held in various online seminar formats that focus on sharing information from keynote speakers. ICYMARE will be using a different approach, focused on networking and creating personal connections. There will be online sessions in virtual meeting rooms of around 10 participants, which include scientific presentations and moderated discussions. Additionally, an open space for general networking and free exchange is provided. As this is an innovative format, no research has been done to determine the networking potential and success of such an alternative online format and we aim to address this gap. We will use a mixed-method approach using qualitative and quantitative methods, covering aspects about the advantages, disadvantages, and challenges of online conferences for ECRs. Our presentation will provide an overview of the preliminary outcomes from this study as well as the lessons learned during this first online edition.
In Peru, a group of scientists are investigating the main Amazonian rivers to understand all those physical variables that define their behavior and ecological importance throughout the Amazon basin. But what happens with this information? How does it connect with the citizens and become mechanisms of valorization and conservation? “Science for Rivers” is a comprehensive educational initiative that seeks to channel all the scientific knowledge generated regarding rivers towards different actors who are linked to them. The communication strategies implemented have translated complex information in a way that is accessible and useful to all audiences. Therefore, many specialized courses and workshops have been developed for different government institutions in order to incorporate this type of knowledge into their development plans. Also, two free access web pages have been developed that show in an interactive way the multiple technical and social variables when intervening in rivers. Likewise, an educational graphic proposal was implemented through social media where information about the rivers is shared with a simple and playful language. Appropriating this knowledge at different levels is fundamental to guarantee policies coherent with this ecosystem, as well as to forge a citizenry that knows, values and cares for its rivers.
Given the key role, wetlands play in climate regulation and shoreline stabilization, identifying their spatial distribution is essential for the management, restoration, and protection of these invaluable ecosystems. The increasing availability of high spatial and temporal resolution optical and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) remote sensing data coupled with advanced machine learning techniques have provided an unprecedented opportunity for mapping complex wetlands ecosystems. A recent partnership between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) resulted in the design of the NASA-ISRO SAR (NISAR) mission. In this study, the capability of L-band simulated NISAR data for wetland mapping in Yucatan Lake, Louisiana is investigated using two object-based machine learning approaches: Support Vector Machine -(SVM) and Random Forest (RF). L-band Unmanned Aerial Vehicle SAR (UAVSAR) data is exploited as a proxy for NISAR data. Specifically, we evaluated the synergistic use of different polarimetric features for efficient delineation of wetland types, extracting 84 polarimetric features from more than 10 polarimetric decompositions. High spatial resolution National Agriculture Imagery Program imagery is applied for image segmentation using the mean-shift algorithm. Overall accuracies of 74.33% and 81.93% obtained by SVM and RF, respectively, demonstrate the great possibility of L-band prototype NISAR data for wetland mapping and monitoring. In addition, variable importance analysis using the Gini index for RF classifier suggests that H/A/ALPHA, Freeman-Durden, and Aghababaee features have the highest contribution to the overall accuracy.
The emergence of technologies such as mobile devices, web-based analytical tools, social media platforms, open data and cloud computing have the potential to enable broader participation in science research experiences. We discuss how these capabilities were combined with a citizen science app and e-learning modalities to pilot a scalable model to extend the reach of an established high school internship program. STEM Enhancement in Earth Science High School Summer Intern Program is a nationally competitive program. In 2019, more than 600 qualified students applied for 50 positions. Those who were not selected were offered the opportunity to participate in a virtual cohort working with the GLOBE Mission Mosquito science team. Over 100 students elected to take part in the Mosquito Mappers virtual internship. A recently published meta-analysis of European citizen science projects demonstrated that the majority (90%) involved participants in data collection, 42% involved citizen scientists in data analysis, and only 10% of projects provided opportunities for participants to define their own research question (Turrini et al. 2018). A series of 5 research challenges posed during the 10-week program were designed to promote a sense of scientific collaboration amongst the participants and provide a structured research experience. Students identified an original research question, interacted with scientist mentors via live webinars and discussion boards. A virtual science symposium served as the capstone of the internship. The critical threat of mosquito vector borne disease makes student research examining local mosquito populations both relevant and compelling. While vector-borne diseases such as West Nile virus are actively transmitted in parts of the U.S., both a changing climate and the northern migration of invasive mosquito species pose a future threat of diseases such as Zika and dengue. As scientists, students are empowered as agents of change improving health in their community. The Mosquito Mappers virtual internship was created in partnership with NASA, Texas Space Grant Consortium, The University of Texas at Austin Center for Space Research, and the GLOBE Mission Mosquito Program, administered by Goddard Space Flight Center and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies.
Informal education can be a vital part of a person’s learning experience, thus it is important to continue studying its effectiveness and consider improvements. To that end, we studied participants who built their own AM radio at three School of Earth and Space Exploration open house events at Arizona State University. For this qualitative research study, we audio recorded and transcribed interviews of 41 adults after they completed the activity. Median duration of interviews was 3 minutes. Based on their responses, we categorized participants as either a parent who brought their children (Np = 23) or an individual (Ni = 18). This is consistent with previous studies since over 50% of participants are typically parents. We further grouped each category based on their Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) background: No STEM Background (NSB), Some STEM Background (SSB) and Expert Electronics Background (EEB). STEM backgrounds of parents were evenly distributed, with each group (i.e., NSB, SSB & EEB) accounting for about 30%. In contrast, about 60% of individuals were in the SSB group. Regardless of STEM background, the vast majority of parents stated that they came to the activity because of their children. Additionally, a majority of participants stated that they learned something from the activity, with only 4 of 41 participants saying they did not learn anything. Thus, this activity provides learning opportunities for people of all STEM backgrounds. As an example, one individual in the EEB group stated, “The design of the transmitter and the receiver itself is completely complicated based on me studying for 10 years trying to understand what a transmitter and receiver is. But just in five minutes I found that I could really built [sic] it by myself.” Yet, individuals who are either in the NSB or the EEB group may be overlooking certain informal education opportunities, since together they accounted for only 40% of individuals. To improve public understanding of science, informal learning centers should continue to consider ways to make events more accessible and more enticing for people who may not be experiencing these valuable learning opportunities.
This presentation describes a vector-borne disease risk reduction project conducted in Brazil and Peru as part of USAID’s Combating Zika and Future Threats Initiative. The myriad factors contributing to vector borne disease risk stem from interactions in a system that includes local ecology and environmental parameters, urbanization, access to health services, economic resources, human behavior, and the presence of disease vectors and pathogens. The emergence of technologies such as smart phones, cloud-based data servers, and data visualization and analysis tools have fostered rapid growth in citizen science programs and tools. The phenomenon of citizen science is seen by many as an important sociocultural development that has the potential to democratize science. While a number of citizen science projects may be characterized as transdisciplinary research, in many cases stakeholder engagement is limited to participation in crowd-sourced data collection. In this project, the stakeholders- educators, students, community leaders and public health officials- all contributed to the project at levels of effort and in ways that were most meaningful for them. A key innovation employed in this project was a mobile citizen science app that enabled stakeholders to locate, identify and mitigate mosquito breeding habitats. While there are many data collection apps that enable citizen scientists to report environmental observations for use by the science community, the NASA GLOBE Observer Mosquito Habitat Mapper also enables users to tally their efforts as they eliminate mosquito oviposition sites. This app capability supports municipalities keen on promoting behaviors that reduce the risk of vector-borne disease. We discuss the transdisciplinary approach employed through each phase of the project: ideation, realization, experimentation and evaluation, and how prioritizing local stakeholder knowledge and experience resulted in recommendations that will be used to improve a citizen science app that is employed internationally.
Incorporation of Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) has greatly enriched earth science field data collection but the cost of acquiring UAVs, particularly those with customizable payloads, can be high, thus creating a barrier to using these valuable systems. We set out to design and build a low-cost ‘student budget’ drone and multispectral camera that could be customized for a variety of field, education, and outreach applications. UAV development followed an iterative design process guided by open-source plans resulting in a progressive series of 5 design iterations each incorporating lessons learned from previous versions. The final aircraft incorporates a flight controller for autonomous flight and a removable/customizable payload pod. Cheap components allow for easy and inexpensive repairs when damaged in the field. The final design cost is $625, but this is a max cost as a simpler system could be built based on the design for <$300. The multispectral camera was built with the popular Raspberry Pi 2 computer, standard and infrared cameras, and low-cost/well-characterized filter material. The resulting multispectral camera collects imagery in the visible and near-infrared spectrum, with a total cost of ~$230. The UAV and camera cost ~1/5 & ~1/10 that of commercial systems, respectively. Unfortunately, the camera did not yield research-grade results due to image inconsistencies. Despite the lower cost, there are additional considerations when choosing a UAV and imaging platform including data needs, data quality and repeatability, ease of data collection and processing, required UAV pilot skill, and time investment for UAV construction. Given the ease of use and minimal pilot training time, commercial systems (e.g. DJI quadcopter) provide the best fit for many research applications like aerial photography or 3D outcrop modeling. However, for more complicated data needs (e.g., multispectral imaging) and/or projects with small budgets, a low-cost UAV with a customizable payload can open up new data collection avenues and scientific inquiry that was previously unavailable. Additionally, this approach has applications in STEM education to teach engineering processes, aeronautics, remote sensing, etc., and is useful as an outreach tool to educate general audiences about UAVs and their responsible use.
Intensive meat production possess environmental and socioeconomical threats to the society. This study represents the identification of the suitable site of the intensive poultry farm production. Central Bio-physical region of South Australia is selected as a study site. The area of the study site is 2865 sq.km. It has a diverse land use type. The study includes study of land cover types, EPA activities, Conservation and Protection zones, Ramsar areas and slope for the selected study area. Methodology includes several predetermined use of ArcMap tools; such as, Buffer, Clip, Slope and Extract. Furthermore, the result shows eight elected areas. These areas are mapped using the google earth map after analyzing all the predetermined criteria. This study will help to present the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) for remote sensing analysis, urban planning and land conservation and management.