EarthCube Building Blocks: Collaborative Proposal: GeoLink - Leveraging Semantics and Linked Data for Data Sharing and Discovery in the Geosciences

Lead PI: Dr. Suzanne M. Carbotte , Dr. Kerstin A. Lehnert , , Robert A. Arko

Unit Affiliation: Marine and Polar Geophysics, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO)

September 2014 - August 2017
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: The proposed work addresses a challenge central to the EarthCube program's success: How to employ state of the art technology for geoscience data discovery, access, and integration. The project brings together significant geosciences holdings in the ocean, earth and polar sciences to demonstrate how innovative technologies can be robustly applied to these facilities to enhance the capabilities for scientists to discover and interpret relevant geoscience data and knowledge. The end product, GEOLink, will lower barriers to cross-repository data discovery and access, while respecting and preserving repository autonomy and heterogeneity. They will demonstrate the approach through a portal that allows searching and browsing of integrated content from multiple repositories. A key challenge for EarthCube is to enable data discovery, access, and integration in a sustainable way. Existing data repositories and networks must be linked, while retaining their independent missions and services to existing disciplinary communities. Cultural, conceptual, and infrastructural heterogeneities must be respected in order to maintain different perspectives and differing priorities and thus foster inclusivity in the EarthCube endeavor. In particular, individual choices made by providers of data or repositories will need to be respected in an inclusive manner, and approaches to integration must reflect this. At the same time, however, the diversity and heterogeneity of geoscience data presents a significant barrier to its discovery. In this project, the researchers involved will develop a demonstration called GEOLink based on: 1) digital publication of geoscience data and knowledge as "Linked Open Data"; combined with 2) semantic integration using design patterns and vocabularies shared among federated repositories; and 3) an underlying cyberinfrastructure extendable in both depth and breadth, that can become a central building block for EarthCube data harmonization. The cyberinfrastructure underlying the approach is extendable, sustainable, and affordable - leveraging state of the art developments in Linked Open Data and formal semantics, grounded through shared Ontology Design Patterns. GEOLink-enabled repositories will support discovery of related resources, including Rolling Deck to Repository (R2R), the Biological and Chemical Oceanographic Data Management Office (BCO-DMO), Integrated Earth Data Applications (IEDA), the Long-Term Ecological Research Network (LTER), DataONE, and the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP), as well content from other EarthCube Building Block projects and collaborators.


National Science Foundation (NSF)





Gille, S.T. and McKee, D.C. and Martinson, D.G. "Temporal changes in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current: Implications for the Antarctic continental shelves," Oceanography, v.29, 2016, p. 96-105.  doi:10.5670/oceanog.2016.102


cyberinfrastructure open data earthcube technology geoscience geolink