Dr. Jack Smith, a senior research staff member of Marshall University’s Center for Environmental, Geotechnical and Applied Sciences, was part of a research team that received a five-year, $4.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to build GeoEDF, a “plug-and-play” platform to allow researchers to easily access and process geospatial data.

The team was led by Dr. Carol Song, a senior research scientist at Purdue University’s ITaP Research Computing. Song describes GeoEDF as a successor to the Geospatial Data Analysis Building Blocks (GABBs), a project Song led that developed web-based geospatial data visualization, analysis and modeling tools and made them accessible to users on a science gateway called MyGeoHub.

Since these tools have become available even to non-programmers, improvements have been needed, including standard interfaces that make data ready to use. GeoEDF’s data processing pipeline will help researchers retrieve and process the data they need, even as field sensors become increasingly common and create large volumes of streaming “crowdsourced” data generated by citizen scientists. GeoEDF can retrieve and transform data into standardized formats.

Marshall’s Smith is among the scientists working with Song as co-principal investigators. He will use GeoEDF to process water quality data from field sensors in Appalachia and convert it into standard EPA format for processing.

“This grant offers a great opportunity to build on the success of two other NSF grant-funded projects that Marshall participates in that address water quality issues in the Appalachian region,” Smith said. “These projects share a collaboration portal similar to MyGeoHub for collecting and sharing data with researchers across the region. GeoEDF will allow such portals to exchange and analyze data on a national scale using a common framework.”

The GeoEDF team also will collaborate with partners in industry and government to develop the GeoEDF tool. Research scientists at the EPA’s National Exposure Research Laboratory who do large scale hydrologic modeling are interested in collaborating with GeoEDF to incorporate remotely sensed field and satellite data.

Smith is also an employee of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission’s West Virginia Science & Research.

Originally from Jean Hardiman for Marshall University Communications