ESIP Update: Hello from Incoming Executive Director, Public-Private Partnerships Cluster, and more

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ESIP UPDATE: 08.24.2020

Hello ESIP!

It was wonderful to meet many of you at the Summer Meeting. I have to applaud Erin, Annie, Megan and so many others for all the hard work that went into making the transition to a virtual meeting so seamless and successful. I have attended a number of virtual events in recent months and I can tell you that the format of the ESIP meeting enabled many more personal connections and conversations than any other virtual meeting I have experienced. This interactivity doesn’t happen by accident, it takes skilled planning and facilitation and it is clear that ESIP is known for this. Thank you to all of you who attended for bringing your energy, passion and voices to the meeting. I will hold out hope that a year from now we will be able to once again shake hands and share a meal or a beverage in person in Vermont, but if that isn’t possible I have 100% confidence in the ESIP team and community to deliver the best virtual experience possible. 

For those of you who I have not yet met, I am Susan Shingledecker ESIP’s incoming Executive Director. Today marks three full weeks with ESIP for me. I am a newcomer to ESIP. As I said at the Summer Meeting, if we were in person, my name badge would have had a “First Time Attendee” ribbon on it. When I first learned of ESIP – the tagline, “Making Data Matter” really caught my attention. I have spent 20 years in the environmental management field and specifically the last 15 years in nonprofit management. Additionally I bring experience working in consulting, state government, and the private sector. Most recently I was Vice President of Chesapeake Conservancy, a regional organization focused on bringing data-driven solutions and the latest GIS technology to the restoration challenges in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Dan Morris from Microsoft actually highlighted some of the organization’s work in his plenary presentation with this video. Prior to my time at the Conservancy, I spent 12 years with BoatU.S./Geico Marine Insurance and the BoatU.S. Foundation looking at how end users, specifically boaters use data including nautical charts, water level and coastal inundation models. I also spent much effort using data to run the business operations of the organization. Throughout my career I have had the opportunity to work on a broad range of issue areas including: coastal management, climate change, ocean policy, energy efficiency and renewable energy, outdoor recreation, precision restoration, land conservation, public access and parks. 

I am excited to bring my breadth of experience and focus my energy on making data matter in all facets of ESIP, internally as well as externally. I am grateful for the opportunity to lead this incredible community. Erin and I have a thoughtful transition planned through the end of September. I am looking forward to meeting each of you. I want to hear from you about your ideas for ESIP and your perspectives on the challenges and opportunities ahead for us. Your voice and perspective is very important to me. Please reach out anytime.  


Susan Shingledecker
Incoming Executive Director

This Week's Collaboration Area Telecons:

  • Monday: Cloud Computing; Documentation; Partnership
  • Tuesday: Information Quality; Semantic Tech
  • Wednesday: Public-Private Partnerships
  • Thursday: Marine Data;; Air Quality

See the full telecon calendar here. Select the meeting you'd like to attend, login instructions are included in description.


Public-Private Partnerships Cluster 2nd Meeting (8/26 at 11 am ET)
ESIP's newly formed Public-Private Partnerships Cluster welcomes your participation in their next meeting, this Wednesday 8/26 at 11 am ET. Find connection details on the ESIP telecon calendar. You can also join the cluster mailing list here. This cluster is focusing on two high-level activities:

  1. Sharing experiences around the development and maintenance of effective public-private partnerships in an effort to develop a set of best practices and reference materials that support the development of new partnerships. This will include: a. Developing a repository of partnership case studies that illustrate strategies and practices for the development and maintenance of effective partnerships b. Based on the collection of case studies, build an inventory of best practices and tools related to partnerships c. Identifying particular areas where partnerships might have the greatest impact on increasing the societal impact of Earth observation data.
  2. Working with other ESIP collaboration areas to facilitate the development of new partnerships that are in support of the subject area interests of those collaboration areas.

More News

OGC Considering Zarr as Community Standard: Seeks Public Comment by 9/11
The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) is considering the Zarr v2 Storage Specification for adoption as an official OGC Community Standard. A new Work Item justification to begin the Community Standard endorsement process is available for public comment. Zarr is an open-source specification for the storage of multi-dimensional arrays of data (also known as N-dimensional arrays, ND-arrays, or tensors). Such arrays are ubiquitous in scientific research and engineering. Zarr stores metadata using .json text files and array data as (optionally) compressed binary chunks. Zarr can store data into most storage systems, including databases, standard ‘directory based’ file systems, and cloud object stores, such as Amazon S3. This flexibility allows implementations to experiment with novel storage technologies while maintaining a uniform API for downstream libraries and users.

Because it can represent very large array datasets in a simple, scalable way, and is compatible with cloud object storage, Zarr is an ideal format for analysis-ready geospatial data in the cloud. Indeed, Zarr has already been adopted by several OGC communities as a format for cloud-optimized, analysis-ready geospatial data. The proposed Zarr community standard work item justification is available for review and comment on the OGC Portal. Comments are due by 11th September, 2020, and should be submitted via the method outlined on the Zarr community standard work item justification’s public comment request page.

New from the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) managed by CIESIN
The Food Insecurity Hotspots Data Set consists of gridded data identifying the level of intensity and frequency of food insecurity over ten years between 2009 and 2019, as well as hotspots of consecutive food insecurity events, for five regions: Central America and the Caribbean, Central Asia, East Africa, Southern Africa, and West Africa. New Publication: “Using Disaster Outcomes to Validate Components of Social Vulnerability to Floods: Flood Deaths and Property Damage across the USA,” in a Special Issue of the journal Sustainability. Authors are Beth Tellman, Cody Schank, Bessie Schwarz, Peter Howe, and CIESIN's Alex de Sherbinin. This Special Issue was guest-edited by de Sherbinin and Stefan Kienberger, comprised of 13 articles on the topic of climate risk and vulnerability mapping.

Webinar Series: Serving Society with Space Data
Co-hosted by the Space Enabled Research Group (MIT Media Lab) and the Secure World Foundation, this virtual series engages a multi-sector audience in discussions on how space technologies and geospatial applications contribute to better outcomes in critical fields around the world, such as energy, food security, poverty, and governance. Held twice a month, the events bring together stakeholders working in companies, nonprofits, academia, and government to highlight initiatives taken to progress toward the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) using a truly transformative multi-stakeholder approach. The series highlights real-world case studies as well as opportunities and challenges for expanding the use of satellite data in efforts to achieve the SDGs.  This series seeks to look at ongoing work by a variety of actors, with a special focus on development and humanitarian projects. Learn more here. Upcoming webinars include:

  • 9/2  (10:00-11:30am ET) ALL SDGs: Monitoring and Evaluation

Help AGI Understand COVID-19 Impacts on Geoscience Workplace & Instructional Environments
The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) is conducting a year-long study to understand the impacts on geoscientists, employers and educational institutions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to discover which of these changes will become permanent. Over the next 52 weeks, survey participants will be emailed a brief online status survey twice a month. The survey will only take a few minutes to complete. For more information about the survey, visit

LTER Network Synthesis Working Group Proposals
With 28 active research programs going back 40 years and more, the Long Term Ecological Research Network (LTER) has generated a rich trove of data (including over 7000 publicly available long term datasets housed at the Environmental Data Initiative (EDI). To encourage reuse, synthesis, and integration of these data, the LTER Network Office is funding 2-4 new synthesis working groups for up to 2 years and up to $55K/year.  Proposals emphasizing LTER's core thematic areas are encouraged, as are novel applications of LTER data. Proposal PIs do not need to be current LTER investigators, but synthesis teams should involve some LTER researchers and must draw on data from at least 2 LTER sites. Proposal deadline is October 14, 2020, with decisions in early January 2021. Full details at

SGCI Science Ambassadors Program
Are you interested in a) sharing with others how the use of a gateway has changed your work; b)Training others on the use of your gateway of choice; or c) Presenting your experience of using a gateway for education? COVID-19 is changing the ways we communicate about our science. Given that current outreach to communities is being done virtually or via publications, the Science Gateways Community Institute (SGCI) has redesigned the Science Ambassadors Program to provide funding of up to $1000 per year to scientists who have an appointment or affiliation with a US university. These funds can be used for virtual meeting registration costs, publication costs, and more. Learn more about this opportunity and apply on a rolling basis at the end of each month (starting 6/30) at

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ESIP is funded with support from NASA, NOAA, and the USGS. 





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