Report of the 2008 eGY General Meeting

Held at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder Colorado, March 5-6, 2008.

Prepared by Bill dot Peterson at, eGY Secretary

Attendees: Daniel Baker, Charles Barton, Rajendra Bose, David Clark, Emily CoBabe-Ammann, Alisdair Davey, Barbara Emery, Peter Fox, Abebe Kebede, Siri Jodha Khalsa, Eric Kihn, Jeffrey J. Love, Gang Lu, Alem Mebrahtu, Chuck Meertens, Meghan Miller, Rajul Pandya, Mark Parsons, Bill Peterson, Monique Petitdidier, Aaron Roberts, Marissa Rusinek, Ray Walker, Ron Weaver, and Greg Yetman

Group Photograph

The final agenda


The 2008 General meeting of eGY brought together eGY Participants interested in promoting the ideals outlined in the eGY Declaration. The meeting started with overviews of some recent successes enabled by modern data management practices and an overview of eGY. The rest of the meeting consisted of reports and discussion, outlined below.

In the extensive discussions attendee's developed a list of eGY accomplishments and further actions. These are listed at the end of this report.

A meeting of the eGY Africa Working group followed the meeting.

Full Report

Dan Baker opened the meeting with remarks noting significant contributions that eGY has so far made. The partial list given by Dan was expanded by meeting participants. The list of eGY accomplishments is available here.

Dr. Tim Killeen, Director of NCAR, welcomed eGY. In his presentation, Dr. Killeen illustrated the importance and power of modern data management techniques applied to the very practical problem of global climate change.

Dr. Lawrence Buja of NCAR gave us a talk about the data challenge in preparing the model runs for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) done at NCAR, which resulted in a Nobel Prize.

Charles Barton, Chair of the eGY International Committee gave a short overview of the structure and functions of eGY for people new to the meeting.

Mark Parsons chaired a session entitled "The World Scene-1"

Dr. Kebede chaired a session on eGY Africa

Dr. Ray Walker chaired a session on Fresh Perspectives

Dr. Charles Barton chaired a session addressing the question: What happens after eGY ends on December 31, 2008?

Eric Kihn discussed plans for the CODATA working group on Science Data Stewardship that will assume the work of the eGY Best Practices Working Group and could become the eventual repository for the eGY web site.

Peter Fox discussed recent progress in forming the IUGG Union Commission on data and informatics that, in conjunction with similar recently formed groups associated with AGU, EGU, GSA, are organizing meetings and symposia focusing on data and informatics issues addressed by eGY.

Charlie Barton suggested that there is a need for coordination of data and informatics efforts at the international / interdisciplinary level. He proposed that several (~8) of the international scientific unions associated with ICSU focusing on geophysics (the so-called GEOUNIONS) band together and form a commission on data and informatics to meet this need. Not all persons present agreed that there was a need for such high level coordination at this time. Others argued that action was premature until the ICSU SCID report (See note about Peter Fox's presentation in the World Scene session above) has been presented and extensively discussed.

Charlie Barton noted that the astronomers have come up with a data manifesto, which is quite similar to the eGY Declaration.

In the discussion, Dan Baker suggested that it might be time for the US National Academy to reintroduce a standing panel on data and informatics similar to the Committee on Data Management and Computing (CODMAC) that was disbanded several years ago.

There was a general discussion of the "legacies of eGY" that continued throughout the meeting. A summary of all of them is given at the end of this report.

Dan Baker chaired a session on planned publications

Peter Fox reported that selected papers from the eGY-sponsored Virtual Observatories in Geoscience meeting (VOiG 2007) will appear in the first issue of the new Springer journal: Earth Science Informatics
He also reported on the status of an AGU monograph on Virtual Observatories and a possible book on informatics solicited by a well respected academic publisher. There was a lot of discussion about the book. Mark Parsons, and Jeffrey Love agreed to work with Peter on it.

Charles Barton noted that the eGY series in the AGU EOS publication has now been accepted. The lead paper is ready for submission. There was a lot of interest from the community to write these articles. Several new articles and authors were identified at meeting, including Monique Petitdidier on the European Grid. Here are lists of EOS Spotlight articles and information for Spotlight Authors.

Bill Peterson noted that the EOS Spotlight Series and the book noted above will be the primary legacy of eGY. He also reported that he is considering holding a press conference in conjunction with the eGY-sponsored session "eGY - Towards a Global Earth and Space Science Informatics Commons" to be held at the COSPAR meeting in Montreal in July.

The collegial conversations about informatics issues and eGY continued into a social hour held after the first day's meeting. In these discussions, Peter Fox was tasked with developing a consensus definition of informatics.

The second day of the meeting began with a session chaired by Jeffrey Love on the International Science Years.

Mark Parsons chaired a session of eGY Working Group Reports

  • Bill Peterson reported on the activities of the secretariat and eGY Finances.
  • Charlie Barton reported on the activities of the international committee including preparations for the Earth and Space Science Informatics (ESSI) Summit to be held in Rome March 13-14.
  • Peter Fox reported on the many activities of the Virtual Observatory Group, including the very successful VOiG 2007 and planning for the VOiG 2008. He also discussed the sessions organized by the Informatics sub sections of AGU, EGU, and GSA.
  • Jeffrey Love reported on the article on Data Rescue and Preservation he is preparing. This article uses specific examples from geomagnetic observatories to illustrate the scientific importance and difficulties in rescuing and preserving data. Several persons at the meeting complimented Jeff on his recent article in Physics Today on geomagnetic observatories and their long history.
  • Eric Kihn reported that the Best Practices Working Group has developed a Wiki site for data center managers to exchange information and develop community best practices for data management. Interested eGY participants who want to contribute to the discussions on the site should contact Eric.A.Kihn at The site is at:
  • Bill Peterson reported on the eGY Showcase projects.
  • Bill Peterson led a discussion about eGY participation in Conferences for the rest of 2008

    A list of conferences and cognizant eGY participant is here. For more information about specific conferences this person should be contacted. Bill Peterson can provide contact information if you don't have it.

    There was discussion about maintaining a list of informatics specific, but cross discipline, meetings that have been on the eGY web site after eGY ends on December 31. Alisdair Davey agreed to take on the task.

    Charlie Barton led the discussion on the eGY legacy and further actions

    The group identified the following eGY legacies:

    Further actions identified and open discussion topics in the final sessions of the meeting

    The order of items in the list below is chronological: