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CZOData Proposal 2011


Integrated Data Management System for Critical Zone Observatories (EAR-­1332257)

Anthony Aufdenkampe, Jeff Horsburgh, Kerstin Lehnert, David Lubinski, Emilio Mayorga, Ilya Zaslavski and Mark Williams (2011)
Awarded Proposal to NSF   National

Plain English Summary

The objective of the project is to develop a comprehensive, integrated data management system for the NSF-funded Critical Zone Observatory (CZO) program, called CZOData. The overall goal for CZOData is to support, empower, and broaden the impact of CZO science and maximize the return on investment of the CZO program by transforming capabilities to easily share, integrate, analyze and preserve the wide range of multi-disciplinary data generated within and across CZOs.

The CZOData design is based on the experience of the collaborative project team in building the current CZOData prototype and on other foundational cyber-infrastructure systems. The principal investigators at the University of Boulder and the Stroud Water Research Center are Earth surface scientists who provided high-level oversight of the CZOData prototype and provide a direct link to the scientific community collecting and using CZO data. Team members at San Diego Supercomputing Center (SDSC) and Utah State University (USU) are primary developers of the Hydrological Information System (HIS) developed by the Consortium for the Advancement of Hydrological Sciences, Inc. (CUAHSI). Team members at Columbia University developed and lead the Integrated Earth Data Applications (IEDA), Geoinformatics for Geochemistry (GfG), EarthChem and the System for Earth Sample Registration (SESAR) projects. Team members at the Applied Physics Laboratory at the University of Washington developed and maintain the Northwest Association for Ocean Observing Systems (NANOOS) Visualization System (NVS).

This project combines state-of-the-art computer science and cyber-infrastructure technologies and international metadata standards with a strong effort to engage the science community in the process of developing and testing the CZOData system. This collaborative, community-based approach to developing scientific cyber-infrastructure has been actively encouraged by the NSF-supported EarthCube initiative and thus complements those goals ( The approach with CZOData is based on integrating site-based data with system capabilities' such as consistent data publication, cataloguing, discovery and access infrastructure. These new capabilities will strongly leverage other CI efforts described above. The resulting system will support new CZO research that was not possible before while easing the data management burden on CZO scientists.

The vision is that the proposed CZOData will serve as a model for the greater Earth surface science community. The CZOData project is a collaborative, community-guided cyber-infrastructure project for integrating multi-disciplinary data and providing interoperability with other systems. Thus, CZOData will inform the development of other large geoinformatics initiatives, such a the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), Long-Term Environmental Research (LTER) observatories, DataOne, OpenTopography, the Implementing Organization of the International Geosample Number (IGSN e.v.), and the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS). Also, by incorporating system research and development with graduate education, we will move towards cultivating a new generation of researchers skilled in both different facets of environmental research and in advanced information management and computing.


The “Integrated Data Management System for Critical Zone Observatories” (CZOData) Project was funded based on a solicited proposal submitted Aug. 1, 2011 by lead PI Mark W. Williams, (Univ. Colorado at Boulder) and with an originally proposed start date of Oct. 1, 2011 and end date of Nov. 2013.  The award (#1153164) was delayed but finally made with a start date of April 15, 2012.  However, in July 2012, only a few weeks after subcontracts had been issued, PI M.W. Williams stepped down and requested that the project award be transferred to Anthony Aufdenkampe (Stroud Water Research Center).  The effort to transfer the award to a new PI and institution (with a new award #1332257) unfortunately took until March 7, 2013 to be finalized.  This very significant delay in funding (20 months total) is noted because it required substantial alterations in the project timeline and a number of important alterations to the project scope, due to the evolving cyber-infrastructures of our project partners (i.e. CUAHSI and IEDA). 


Anthony Aufdenkampe, Jeff Horsburgh, Kerstin Lehnert, David Lubinski, Emilio Mayorga, Ilya Zaslavski and Mark Williams (2011): Integrated Data Management System for Critical Zone Observatories (EAR-­1332257). Awarded Proposal to NSF.

Associated Files

CZOData Proposal 2011
(2 MB pdf)
CZOData proposal submitted to NSF on Aug. 1, 2011

CZOData Proposal Addendum 2011
(166 KB pdf)
CZOData proposal addendum, in response to reviews, submitted to NSF in January 2012

CZOData Supplement #1: Website
(58 KB pdf)
CZOData Award Supplement #1: Expanding to 10 CZOs & Enhancing Functionality with Data Resources