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An update on LTERMapS: Phase 2

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Spring 2012

Adam Skibbe (KNZ) and Theresa Valentine (AND)

LTERMapS logo

LTERMapS (LTER Map Services) was designed to be a multi-phased approach for the development of mapping tools accessible across the LTER network.  Phase one of this concluded with the release of a Google Maps based tool for a quick look and SiteDB exploration at With its completion, the focus turned to phase two, a considerably more robust product for web-based cartography and data exploration. 

The goal of phase two is 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..., 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."  Due to the complexity of this project, five LTER sites were chosen as pilots.  This gave the team a manageable initial set of sites and data to develop standardized datasets.

A workshop was held at the LNO in November 2011 with the intent of building a beta application around these five pilot sites.  The goals for the meeting were:

  • Discuss options for integrating spatial data into PASTA
  • Develop map templates for a common symbology and cartography for LTER Sites
  • Design the backend database, and implement the software and hardware configuration at the LNO
  • Develop internet mapping Web application using ESRI tools
  • Construct web services and links to existing on-line resources

During the discussion of integration with PASTA it was decided to split LTEMapS Phase 2 into two products, the original on-line mapping tool, and a back end platform for dealing with these data, the GeoNIS.  For phase two we constructed what requirements and template for an alpha product.  A dedicated server was set up, with appropriate software, at the LNO with remote access for LTERMapS team members.  An Image service for pilot site Digital Elevation Models (DEM) is running on LNO server with all DEM data in the same projection.  A JavaScript API skin is in place, and widgets are being added.  

In addition to the work on phase two, LTERMapS phase one was upgraded to Google Maps version 3.0, though at the time of this release it has not yet been populated at the LNO. The team assisted the LNO staff by updating latitude and longitude data in SiteDB and updating the web entry form to reflect best practices.

The LTERMapS team met briefly at the GeoNIS meeting in Boulder, and continues to work in three major areas:

  1. Development of a standardized backend database, (in collaboration with the GeoNIS project)
  2. Application development with the Esri JavaScript API (front end web access to the data)
  3. Server software and hardware requirements/support.

Additional pilot sites were added to the project because of interest, and opportunities to meet at the GeoNIS workshop. The following sites have provided data for inclusion into LTERmapS: AND, BES, BNZ, MCM, KNZ, GCE, JRN, NTL, VCR.