Blog from October, 2016

Recording, slides, and Q&A from the October 12 Monthly Meeting are available at CDI Monthly Meeting 20161012.


Model Archive Update

With the October 1, 2016 implementation of the Public Access Plan, there are more examples of model archives, which was the topic of our May Scientist’s Challenge


CDI Working Group Overview of goals and activity

See an overview of all of the CDI Working Groups, goals, and upcoming events: (Slides)

Working Group Wiki Page: 

Funding and Collaboration Opportunities through the Innovation Center and the Powell Center

We welcomed presentations by Jonathon Stock of the USGS Innovation Center and Jill Baron of the John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis

This page describes differences between CDI and these two programs.

CDI Keywords: data integration, scientific data life cycle, applications, data access, data handling and stewardship, scientific computing, knowledge delivery, "in the near-term, produce new and reusable ideas, methods or tools that have an impact beyond a single Program, Center, Region, or Mission Area" (from the RFP Guidance)

Innovation Center Keywords: measurement, monitoring, sampling, sensors, data acquisition, hardware, industry partnerships, "Successful proposals address issues of national importance where a technology partner can bring an emerging tool or technique (often with in-kind funding) that solves a problem aligned with USGS science strategy plans and private and public interests." (from the About page)

Powell Center Keywords: synthesis, working groups, publications, "leveraging existing research efforts to produce powerful new insights and move scientific understanding and its inclusion into management" (from the About page)

While the CDI proposal process is closed for FY17, both the Innovation Center and Powell Center have upcoming opportunities for funding collaborative, innovative ideas. 

Upcoming Dates:

  • December 9, 2016: Innovation Center workshop in Menlo Park - Theme: Ecosystems
  • January 31, 2017: Powell Center Working Group Proposal submission deadline
  • February 10, 2017: Innovation Fund proposal deadline

Contact John Stock (  or Jill Baron ( with any questions about their opportunities.  

mdEditor: a modern, accessible tool for creating metadata

Joshua Bradley presented progress on the mdEditor tool, an open source client-side web application for authoring and editing metadata for spatial and non-spatial data. CDI has provided support for the development of this tool.

You can fork it on Github and automagically host your own instance using GitHub pages: More information at and 

The Data Management working group call on December 12, 2016 at 2pm Eastern will have a more in-depth demo and Q&A period with Josh, join us for a deeper look!

More CDI Blog posts  

AKA Your role in guiding the course of CDI funded projects
AKA Where the CDI coordinator makes a plea for you to vote


The FY17 Community for Data Integration Statements of Interest are in, and voting is open

Why you should comment and vote

  • A project might be proposing a tool that you could use, and you want to support it.
  • You might know of existing solutions that you want to make the PI aware of, so that they can take that into consideration.
  • You will get an idea of what practitioners need, and might get an idea for your own future proposal.
  • You will help steer the future direction of CDI.


Last Friday, we closed the submission portal for the Community for Data Integration Request for Proposals Phase 1. The portal was open from September 14 to October 14 and the initial registrations vs. completed submissions (PDF Statement of Interest (SOI) uploaded) looked like this:



This trend gave the CDI facilitators a panic attack about whether there would be a decent number of statements of interest submitted, but follows the typical pattern of PIs using “all of the available time” “efficiently.” Still, next year we will probably recommend that PIs start registering earlier, as there were some eleventh hour (or fifty-ninth minute) issues...

What you can do

  1. Vote: Community voting is open from now until Wednesday, November 9, 2016, and you can see the announcement and instructions for getting set up to vote on the CDI forum.
  2. See the results: Join us for the Closing Voting Session on November 9 during the CDI Monthly Meeting. During that session, we will take a look at the statistics, determine the cut off for Phase 2, and reveal the list of projects that made it to the next round.  

Some Q&A about our community voting process

  • Why do we ask you to read and seriously consider all Statements of Interest before voting? For fair and consistent evaluation of all statements, we ask that you consider all statements, using the CDI Guiding Principles, Science Support Framework, and Evaluation Criteria.
  • Why did we implement Community Voting? Community voting is a pretty unique aspect of the CDI Request for Proposals. Implemented in the FY14 cycle, community voting was started as a way to involve and engage the membership so that we make sure to take into account our grassroots efforts, needs, and knowledge before moving forward with funding projects.
  • Why is voting open to anyone who is or becomes a member of CDI, including PIs? We want the most open process of evaluation possible, denying no one, and we want funded projects that meet the needs of the most CDI members. 
  • Isn't this just a popularity contest? No. It is about communicating a need and a solution, and convincing voters that your solution is worthy. Although this may seem idealistic, I do think that the CDI community wants to fund the most exciting and potentially useful ideas, that the CDI membership is logical, and that networking/communicating/convincing/campaigning do not need to have negative connotations. The commenting and Phase 1 cut off selection are public and open to any members, and PIs are able to comment and advocate for their ideas on the voting platform. 
  • How will the ability to comment on the voting platform help the process? Commenting by the community is a way to clarify or improve statements of interest in a way that is publicly viewable by all. In addition, existing solutions may be brought to light for incorporation, collaboration, or as something that is already usable. 

Each year, the CDI Request for Proposals evolves, whether it is modifying the Guiding Principles, implementing or discarding categories for proposals, changing the panel review process, or trying to streamline the cover sheet generation. Given this year’s experience, we’ll be considering several things for improving the user experience next year. We welcome your ideas at

Now go read some Statements of Interest and vote!


The following message was sent to FY17 CDI Lead-PIs and registrants on October 21, 2016:

Dear FY17 CDI Lead-PIs and registrants,

Since some of you may be new to CDI’s Community Voting process, I thought I would send a bit of an explanation since we often get questions about what is allowed/condoned, etc.

CDI has had community voting since FY2014 in an effort to engage the entire membership so that we make sure to take into account our grassroots efforts, needs, and knowledge before moving forward with funding projects. In FY2013, the proposals were evaluated only by a panel. Prior to FY2013, proposals were developed at in-person CDI meetings and participants would use sticky notes and discussions to lend their feedback. Now CDI has a Bureau-wide RFP and many members who do not attend the annual in-person meetings, so the online community voting phase is a way to preserve that aspect of proposal development and evaluation.

We sometimes get comments that the community voting system can be “gamed” by especially active PIs who solicit votes. To this, we have several responses:

  1. Community voting is just the first phase of the evaluations, there is a panel evaluation as well in Phase 2, that evaluates the Full proposals.

  2. We look at other metrics in Phase 1 like ratio of number of voters:number of votes, IP address participation that is overly skewed, etc. to see if there are any anomalies.

  3. The community voting indicates the community voice, but there is also the chance for CDI executive sponsors and CDI coordinators to point out SOIs that meet the criteria and add them to Phase 2, this has happened in past years.

  4. We do encourage PIs to spread the word about their proposal to colleagues that would be interested in the project and support the effort, and lend their voice to CDI.

  5. We do not support the solicitation of votes from “anyone off the street” who does not have any personal interest in the actual project or viewing the other submissions. Although, in our experience, this has not helped a project without merit to get funded, due to the other items listed above.

Since this topic has already come up this year, we decided that sending this explanation to all participating PIs was a place to start, and we will continue to do this in following years before the start of voting!

More CDI Blog posts  

Get to the parent page of all CDI Working Groups at

The Tech Stack Working Group

The Semantic Web Working Group

  • Sept 8: Check-in: individual members discussed semantic web efforts in our day jobs.

  • On-going themes: desire for semantic versions of gazetteers that provide geospatial relationships between places. Value of controlled vocabulary keywords in scientific metadata that identify observation or measurements that are included in the data. How can we effectively publish linked data in the USGS this year?

  • Semantic Web WG meeting page

  • Next meeting: October 13, 2-3pm Eastern

  • Contact: Fran Lightsom

The Data Management Working Group

  • Sept 12: New Process and Analyze pages on the Data Management Website - Steve Tessler, NJ Water Science Center; Michelle Chang, Core Science Analytics, Synthesis, and Libraries

  • Meeting page and recording

  • Next meeting: Nov 14, 2-3pm Eastern

  • Contact: Viv Hutchison

The Communication Working Group

  • Sept 6: Continuing discussion of the CDI Communication Plan, edits for FY17, and prioritization of tasks

  • Oct 4: Plan to analyze CDI membership for gaps and review of relevant September feedback from the interactive session for identifying Communication needs

  • Communication WG page

  • Next meeting: November 1, 3:30-4:30p Eastern

  • Contacts: JC Nelson and Marcia McNiff

Metadata Reviewers Community of Practice

Science Center Strategy Development Working Group

More CDI Blog posts  

The FY17 Annual Community for Data Integration Request for Proposals (AKA FY17 CDI RFP) is underway, with 2-page Statements of Interest accepted until October 14, 2016.

Participate in the CDI RFP this year by submitting a Statement of Interest, commenting and voting during our community voting period, or volunteering to be a reviewer for the full proposal panel. Contact with any questions or suggestions.

The RFP funds impactful data integration and management ideas. High marks are often given to proposals that implement or demonstrate innovative solutions that could be used or replicated by others. Thus, many projects produce methods papers to describe their implementation. Two examples of such publications that have come out of CDI funded work are:

From sbtools: An R package for ScienceBase:

Winslow, LA, S Chamberlain, AP Appling, and JS Read. 2016. sbtools: A package connecting R to cloud-based data for collaborative online research. The R Journal 8: 387–398.

From National Dam Removal Database: A living database for information on dying dams:

Duda, J.J., Wieferich, D.J., Bristol, R.S., Bellmore, J.R., Hutchison, V.B., Vittum, K.M., Craig, Laura, and Warrick, J.A., 2016, Dam Removal Information Portal (DRIP)—A map-based resource linking scientific studies and associated geospatial information about dam removals: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2016-1132, 14 p.,

If you were part of a past CDI-funded project and have a paper or product to link to your project page on ScienceBase CDI Community, let us know!

More CDI Blog posts  


The September Monthly Meeting excitingly coincided with International Data Week, where several CDI members were able to participate and meet each other in Denver. Still, we forged on with our regular monthly virtual meeting - the last of fiscal year 2016.

Slides and recording are available at the September Monthly Meeting wiki page.

CDI FY17 Request for Proposals

First, Kevin Gallagher, one of the executive sponsors of the Community for Data Integration, announced the FY17 CDI Request for Proposals. 2-page statements of interest are due by October 14! 

See here for more information about the CDI FY17 RFP, including the official guidance document, link to registering to submit your statement of interest, and recording of the information session. Resources & Paperwork Reduction Act and Development of a Generic Clearance

Alison Parker of the EPA and James Sayer of USGS presented on recent work and resources for citizen science and crowdsourcing projects. Importantly, there are efforts underway to make it easier to complete the paperwork to get a citizen science project up and running. 

James is leading this effort for a “Generic Clearance” that will help USGS citizen science projects. In order to help him collect information, please do contact him if you are planning a citizen science app in the future! He would like to know estimates of number of participants and observations.

CDI in FY17 - Interactive polling and feedback for the Annual Meeting and More


Finally, in preparation for FY17, we held a polling and feedback session to guide topics and activities for the upcoming year, especially for planning our in-person Annual Workshop

 These polls are still open if you’d like to contribute:

  1. Warm up, What is CDI to you?
  2. Working Group activities
  3. Trainings
  4. Hands-On Sessions
  5. Bonus Round



Some highlights are:

  • we can do more to let the wider community know about our CDI working group activities
  • we want to have more information about tools and data assets that are available to us through our agency 
  • we want to learn about web-based mapping and visualization tools


I may be biased, but I think it was a great way to wrap up FY16, and I’m looking forward to all of the events and activities in the year ahead.

More CDI Blog posts