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An update on LTERMapS

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Spring 2010

Adam Skibbe (KNZ), Jonathan Walsh (BAL), Theresa Valentine (HJA), Jamie Hollingsworth (BNZ), John Carpenter (GCE), John Vande Castle (LNO) and Marshall White (LNO)

As the Information Managers GIS committee originally conceived it, LTERMapS (LTER Map Services) was envisioned as a means for creating a focused set of mapping tools to be made available across the LTER network. This has spawned a two-phase approach to accommodate both the needs of the general populace as well as those of researchers interested in a more robust system.

Phase one of LTERMapS provides a valuable information portal for the LTER community and can be accessed at http://www.lternet.edu/map/. This phase was built using the Google Maps API and offers a network-wide mapping solution targeted at a broad user group. The map dynamically harvests information from the LTER Network's SiteDb to reflect real time changes in the system. Information from SiteDb is displayed via a popup balloon for each site, with clickable links for various outside resources, viewable and downloadable KML and Shapefile geographic data (for site locations [view only], boundaries, ecoregions, gauging stations and weather) and a shadowbox popup photo utility.

The first phase of the project concluded this spring with a successful migration to the LNO during a funded post All Scientist Meeting Working Group meeting in Albuquerque. This migration centralizes the resources of the application at the LNO and should provide a better experience to the user in both speed and usability. An additional outcome of this meeting was the further development of requirements for Phase two. Two videoconferences were held with the IM community during the meeting to continue planning and receive feedback on the current product.

Phase two of the project is focused on site level data with an emphasis on creating a more robust set of tools, both cartographic and analytical, aimed at the scientific community. Phase two is in the testing phase, using three ESRI ArcGIS Server APIs: .NET, JavaScript and Flex.

The final platform will ultimately depend on performance tests, functionality, ease of development, and the user experience. This product is intended to employ a standardized set of data and tools for all LTER sites (DEM, infrastructure, hydrography, structures, and high resolution aerial photography), as well as be modifiable to fit each site's specific needs. In addition to development of analytical tools (as yet to be determined), phase two of LTERMapS will also allow for user submitted queries to harvest information and data and will integrate closely with the Network Information System (NIS) modules.


In the coming months we will be soliciting each site for further input (both content and data) to help us fine tune our specifications for phase two of LTERMapS. We encourage feedback on phase one and help guiding us in our efforts with phase two. Please look for future emails regarding LTERMapS and what you would like to see.

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