Blog from October, 2018

Looks like October brought back collaboration area activity in full swing. Here are October’s topics and discussions in reverse chronological order!

Data Management 10/29/2018: Trust Repositories, but FAIR-ify, puns on FAIR data

The Data Management Working group held a special session - Wade Bishop of University of Tennessee presented his findings on a data fitness-for-use study. In his study he asked participants to consider a recent example of when they searched for data and decided if it was fit for them to (re)use. Then he asked questions related to each of the elements in the FAIR data framework (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable). Wade provided many fine puns on “FAIR” (if that is FAIR to say) and quotes such as “Deciding if data is fit for reuse is kind of like thumping on a melon or smelling bread before you buy it.” (Maybe you had to be there?) Participant quotes provided interesting insights, such as the metadata-data disconnect - do people understand how metadata and keywords are helping them to discover or use data? Perhaps if data providers do such a good job in making data FAIR, the data consumers will not even notice, they will just happily reuse the data. Slides can be found on the DMWG meeting page.

Software Development 10/25/2018: Discussing the USGS Git Migration Plan

The Software Development Cluster discussed a draft Git migration plan (link accessible by Dept of Int) for USGS. Last June, an announcement about the USGS Git Platform (link accessible on the USGS network) was distributed. Members of the Software Development Cluster are providing information to help USGS code repository owners meet the requirements on the announcement. Note that the plan is still in early draft and open to suggestions. The contact for the plan is Eric Martinez,

Subduction Zone Focus Group 10/18/2018: Cascadia Recurrence Project Meeting Notes

The Subduction Zone Focus Group posted notes from their October meeting, summarizing ongoing projects, new members, and other opportunities. Topics included land-level changes along the Olympic Peninsula, SZ4D Research Coordination Networks, a Cascadia Recurrence database, a Mendenhall Fellowship focused on Cascadia landslides now being advertised, automated turbidite analysis, tsunamis, and recent papers and reports from the M(agnitude)9 project.

Snapshot of a data compilation for a Cascadia 3D seismic model, summary of the locations of 34 individual controlled-source wide-angle seismic imaging experiments dating to the 1960s. (T. Brocher)

Bioinformatics 10/16/2018: CDI Request for Proposals Discussion

The Bioinformatics Community of Practice had a discussion about the newly released CDI Request for Proposals, including what is in scope, how to meet the 30% in-kind match, and how the two-phase selection process works. Notes can be found on the RFP Collaboration forum.

Tech Stack 10/11/2018: Building a SpatioTemporal Feature Registry

The Tech Stack group didn’t have a live meeting, but Sky Bristol made a video demonstrating some of the concepts behind a SpatioTemporal Feature Registry. The group was encouraged to ask questions about the video using our wiki page. Further discussion is at the ESIP-hosted IdeaScale ideation page.

Semantic Web 10/11/2018: semantic approaches to enable FAIR data at USGS

The Semantic Web working group discussed semantic approaches to enable USGS data to be FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable). They used the list of FAIR Principles at, which includes links to explanations. Notes can be viewed at their meeting page.

eDNA CoP 10/2/2018: Examples of recent eDNA data releases

The eDNA community of practice created a page sharing recent example data releases for environmental DNA.

DevOps 10/2/18: Develop Intelligence training opportunities

In FY19, DevOps will consolidate to one meeting per month with both Project Management and SysAd/Developer Topics. Sarah Battani from Develop Intelligence gave an introduction to their DevOps Academy training opportunities.

Metadata Reviewers 10/1/2018: the state of USGS Metadata

The group took stock of the state of USGS metadata: and challenges and needs.

Fran set up a wiki page at as a place to share resources on Metadata Reviewers training.

Learn more at the CDI Collaboration Area Page.

View the CDI Calendar to see upcoming meetings.

More CDI Blog posts

  • Data Management Working Group, 9/10/18 - connecting existing data assets and our new USGS websites

  • Semantic Web Working Group, 9/13/18 - potential future plans with the USGS Thesaurus and with FAIR data

  • Citizen-Centered Innovation Monthly Meeting, 9/17/18 - the upcoming Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Report to Congress

Data Management Working Group, 9/10/18

Lance Everette presented information to help update data managers and web masters on how to use new tools that are available for connecting the Science Data Catalog, ScienceBase, and the new USGS websites.

Raad Saleh ( from EROS sought ideas and examples of processes for transitioning research data to operational data.

Presentations given by Lance Everette and Raad Saleh found at the meeting page.

Semantic Web Working Group, 9/13/18

A small group talked about the history, status, and future plans of the working group. Some potential future plans included working on the USGS Thesaurus, as presented at the September CDI Monthly Meeting, and activities make USGS data more consistent with the FAIR Data Principles – not just focusing on integrating data to support a particular use, but improving our data practices so that all USGS data is findable, accessible, interoperable, and re-usable for multiple unanticipated uses. Contact Fran Lightsom ( if you are interested in participating. More information at the SWWG Meetings page.

Citizen-Centered Innovation Monthly Meeting, 9/17/18

Sophia Liu led the monthly meeting, addressing questions or issues that people had about the Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Report to Congress. She is working on getting the USGS contribution reviewed as it gets closer to the deadline - the final report will be submitted in January 2019 or later. Let Sophia ( know if you would like to schedule a meeting to discuss your report in more detail before she begins the review process.

Learn more at the CDI Collaboration Area Page.

View the CDI Calendar to see upcoming meetings.

More CDI Blog posts

At the September 12, 2018 CDI Monthly Meeting, topics included sedimentary geology data, online python training, the CDI request for proposals, a spatiotemporal feature registry challenge, STEP-UP student opportunities at the USGS, Bayesian networks, and the USGS Thesaurus. View the recording, slides, Q&A, and highlighted links on the meeting page.

Field and Outcrop Data Challenge

September’s Scientist’s Challenge came from Anjali Fernandes at University of Connecticut - “do you know of an open access database that offers archival of outcrop scans (geo-referenced point clouds) & surfaces mapped on said scans, as well as geo-referenced grain-size distributions, geochemical analyses, sedimentary facies descriptions, etc.?” Initial answers include OpenTopography, Safaridb, and resources at

Learn Python for Data Science Together

After August’s successful foray into online learning with DataCamp’s Git tutorial, we’re going to try the Introduction to Python for Data Science module next. It is about a 4-hour commitment and I will send reminders from the period October 3-October 24. Read more here and sign up here.

What is the CDI Request for Proposals all about?

We’ve updated the 2019 Proposals wiki space in preparation for the next round of CDI project ideas!

SpatioTemporal Feature Registry

Sky Bristol presented a challenge in finding the appropriate and best sources for spatial features including boundaries, identifiers, and associated information. Read more and add your ideas at the ESIP-hosted IdeaScale site.

STEP-UP Student helps with a legacy data management challenge

Sue Kemp presented on the experience working with a STEP-UP student to remotely work on a legacy data management challenge - the SageMap site. If you think your center has a STEP-UP opportunity for a student, you can submit it at this Google Form.

Empowering Decision Makers

Erika Lentz presented some lessons learned through the ongoing conversion of a probabilistic modeling framework from proprietary to freely available open-source software. The project goal is to create a portable interactive web-interface to demonstrate how interdisciplinary USGS science and models can be transformed into an approachable format for decision-makers, such as those making decisions about impacts of sea level rise.

Using and Improving the USGS Thesaurus

Peter Schweitzer presented on the USGS Thesaurus: what it is, how you can use it, and how you can improve it. The USGS Thesaurus is an important resource that helps us to categorize, browse, and compare the data and science at USGS by using a controlled vocabulary. It is incorporated into multiple USGS data management tools, and is accessible here:  

Peter described opportunities to correct, refine, and extend Thesaurus concepts; create cross-walks to other controlled vocabularies; build more web services and application interfaces; and help other people use this resource effectively. The presentation led to an extensive Q&A which can be found on the meeting page. Contact Peter ( if you are interested in learning more.

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