Blog from December, 2018

Another month and another group of topics - stay informed!

Metadata Reviewers, 11/5/2018 - Guidelines for metadata review

The group, led by Tamar Norkin, had a discussion on the Guidelines for Metadata Review. They discussed ways to improve the usability of the document as an actual checklist, and what information would be good to include, such as “tips and tricks” for metadata reviewers. Looks like a great resource for anyone who is called upon to review metadata!

See more notes on their meetings page.

DevOps 11/6/2018 -

In addition to regular updates on the USGS Git Hosting Platform and the USGS Software Management website, in November the DevOps group heard about recent activities from Shums Hoda and Martin Folkoff of Booz Allen Hamilton. is a gateway to discover America's Outdoors and more, a place for trip planning, information sharing and reservations with information from 12 federal Participating Partners.

The website is at  API documentation of the RESTful services for the Recreation Information Database are at Other topics covered included microservices and domain driven design, and high level architecture.

What's the tech behind reserving your campsites at

Tech Stack 11/8/2018 - Intake

Martin Durant (Anaconda) presented on "Intake: Lightweight tools for loading and sharing data in data science projects"

Intake has a nice tag line: “Taking the pain out of data access and distribution”

Intake is a set of free open-source Python tools that help load data from a variety of formats into familiar containers like Pandas dataframes, Xarray datasets, and more. Boilerplate data loading code can be transformed into reusable Intake plugins. Datasets can be described for easy reuse and sharing using Intake catalog files. Martin will gave an overview of Intake and demonstrated use via Jupyter Notebooks. You can check out the video here.

eDNA, 11/13/2018

Austen Thomas presented data on a backpack-style eDNA acquisition device, including aspects of flow regulation and filter pore size. Austen also presented data on the performance of a field test for specific targets relative to conventional laboratory approaches. A paper describing some of these results is available here:

Thomas, A. C., Howard, J., Nguyen, P. L., Seimon, T. A., & Goldberg, C. S. (2018). ANDe™: A fully integrated environmental DNA sampling system. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, v. 9(6), 1379-1385.   

Semantic Web, 11/15/2018

The group had a discussion about what's happening with the FAIR Principles (here is just one explanatory website about FAIR), the CDI Proposal Process, the CDI 2019 Workshop (June 4-7, 2019 in Boulder, CO).


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In November, we heard more about the CDI Request for Proposals and commenting and voting in this year’s process. The proposals process is one of the major ways that we are able to share our ideas and comments as a community of practice. We are using new tools this year, and so far the commenting on our wiki and the voting through SimplyVoting seems to be working. All CDI members should have received a ballot on November 30 and the deadline to vote is Friday, December 14 at midnight!

USGS Director Reilly dropped by to talk about Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning and opportunities for the USGS to capitalize on these techniques. JC Nelson and Pete Doucette will be leading a new CDI Collaboration Area in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, and they are having their first meeting on December 11, more details are on the group’s wiki page.

3DEP Lidar Products and Elevation Services

Rob Dollison from the National Geospatial Program presented on “The new 3D Elevation Program Lidar Products and Elevation Services from the National Map.” The National Map has a new web presence, map service notifications, and several viewers to browse the data, including the National Map Viewer, Elevation Viewer, and a Lidar explorer. They are moving to a system where you don’t need to download large volumes to your local drives, instead, basic visualization, analysis, and extraction functions are available through services on an open platform.

ESIP Lab Opportunities

Annie Burgess from ESIP spoke about ESIP Lab Opportunities - funding from the Earth Science Information Partners and ways that CDI members could participate. Their community and goals are very similar to the CDI, but within a larger context of other agencies and institutions. The latest ESIP Lab round closes on December 18. Check out previous projects and outputs on their webpage.

ESIP Lab - facilitating pathways for 'data people' to engagement with critical developer communities.

We're taking a break from monthly meetings in December and will see you on January 9, 2019!

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