June 24, 2011
Today the Coweeta LTER Information Management Office (CWT IM) launched a new on-line portal for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data. Over the last few years, audits conducted by CWT IM demonstrated that our on-line map portal, COGENT, was experiencing a decline in use, indicating the need for a new strategy focused on rapid access to lists of data and regular updates of data sets. This portal addresses these needs by providing data that are higher resolution, more current, more easily accessible and accompanied by thumbnails and downloadable preview images and more complete metadata.
Information Managment Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) Richard Cary, compiled the data behind the portal. Over several months, Cary audited COGENT's holdings, culled and augmented them as necessary, and organized a new data set for publication. Joelle Freeman, another IM GRA, populated the database driving the portal and organized the research data for publication.
The previous portal was based on ArcIMS, a proprietary Environmental Systems Research Institute technology used for creating map based services. The new portal is based on technologies similar to those driving the Coweeta LTER web site. Drupal is used in concert with the same relational database and ASP code that the Georgia Coastal Ecosystems LTER uses to serve their reference GIS data sets. As with the Coweeta website, the database and ASP technologies appear at Coweeta thanks to a partnership between Coweeta IM John Chamblee and GCE's IM, Wade Sheldon.
At present, the GIS Data Portal provides both data generated from LTER research activities ("research data"), as well as data from other sources ("reference data"). In the near future, research data will be migrated to our Data Catalog and the GIS Data Portal will remain available to serve reference data sets. Questions concerning the new portal should be directed to the Coweeta LTER Information Manager.