EarthCube Building Blocks: Deploying Web Services Across Multiple Geoscience Domains

Lead PI: Dr. Suzanne M. Carbotte

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

October 2013 - August 2016
Global ; Global Ocean
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: The National Science Foundation (NSF) award to the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) supported the development and deployment of standardized web services enabling access to a variety of geophysical data from data centers funded both by NSF as well as other federal agencies.  IRIS partnered with the California Institute of Technology, Columbia University, University of California, San Diego, UNAVCO, and Unidata to provide access to seismological data, plate tectonics information, marine geophysical data, hydrological data, geodetic data, and atmospheric sciences data. GeoWS partners developed methods to access the data through web service techniques that rely on familiar URLs where query parameters can be specified directly in the URL using standard naming conventions. Additionally GeoWS provides Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) to actually build URLs with the query parameters a user specifies in the GUI. By using the GUI once to formulate the URL, anyone can easily change parameters in the URL to make a different request for data. Another complication with scientific data is that the format of the data can be difficult to understand for non-domain experts. GeoWS addresses this by enabling all information to be made available in Geoscience Comma Separated Values format (GeoCSV).  This is a text file that can be readily read by a human or by spreadsheet applications. It identifies the columns in an easily understandable manner and then presents measurement values in successive rows.  Even without fully understanding the scientific domain, GeoCSV format is normally easy to interpret by anyone or by a geoscientist from another domain.

OUTCOMES: All GeoWS partners support similar URL builders that can provide data to anyone invoking these URLs.  A full list of the URLs supported by GeoWS can be found at:


Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology


National Science Foundation




Robert Arko


IRIS, Caltec, UNAVCO, Unidata, UCSD



data access dark data cyberinfrastructure web services geoscience earthcube