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MU Internet 2/vBNS Projects

A Collaborative Information Spreadsheet for Digital Libraries of Geospatial Information

Project Leaders: K. Palaniappan, X. Zhuang, S. Chen, and A. Joshi, CECS

The CISS (Collaborative Information Spread Sheet) Project is concerned with the accessing (query, search, retrieval), application, communication, computation, indexing, storing and visualization of geospatial information for collaborative research, research training and education activities in the scientific community. A test bed using NASA EOS image data will be established among three locations: University of Missouri-Columbia, NASA Goddard and JPL.

The U.S. Global Change Program over the next decade (beginning in 1997) will produce an enormous volume of observational and processed data each day. NASA's component of the U.S. Global Change Program is Mission to Planet Earth utilizing satellite remote sensing instruments that will produce several terabytes of data per day. The need to develop automatic algorithms that take advantage of parallel supercomputers and distributed processing, using heterogeneous distributed remote sensing data archives, with new interactive visualization techniques for combining 2-D and 3-D displays is essential to make effective use of the anticipated terabyte data volumes from the Global Change Program.

The collaboration with NASA Goddard requires accessing, processing and analyzing meteorological data from the GOES-8 and GOES-9 geostationary satellites (2GB/hour). Access to this real time data is needed at the MU to do processing and analysis for extracting cloud structure and motion information. The data is currently not being archived at Goddard and is overwritten approximately every 24-hours with new satellite information. Consequently, the full GOES datasets need to be transferred to the MU using a high speed network in a timely fashion during the short duration that the full resolution data is available on the GOES server (camille.gsfc.nasa.gov) at NASA Goddard. When the MU Regional Validation Center is fully established (see project 3.2.2 above), there will be bi-directional flow of data between Goddard and MU as the regional sectors of interest are shared (i.e., East Coast and hurricane alley at Goddard and Great Plains at MU).

The goal of the CISS Project is the research and development of a collaborative computing and communications environment for learning, managing, reasoning, and visualizing a broad spectrum of networked geospatial and remote sensing information. A multi-window architecture will be developed using OpenGL on Silicon Graphics workstations extending previous work in developing the IISS (Interactive Image SpreadSheet) Environment to our proposed CISS Environment for the networked visualization of geospatial information space. Instead of the usual database indexing and single screen visualization of geospatial information, our CISS supports heterogeneous database management, collaborative multi-window visualization and collaborative work indexing. A collaborative immersive workbench (e.g., the Fakespace Workbench) will be used to prototype an innovative scientific visualization environment by extending the cellular multi-window display architecture of the IISS to a cellular collaborative Virtual Reality (VR) architecture.

Supporting interactive collaborative VR sessions across three sites in different parts of the country will require very high bandwidth. The model datasets are typically hundreds to thousands of megabytes in size. These will need to be replicated and shared during a collaborative session. Furthermore, real-time video and audio streams need to be managed during the collaboration.

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