The project will tackle the two CLASP challenge areas of automated ecosystem monitoring and carbon emissions by focusing on monitoring tropical forests, which contain half of all carbon in terrestrial vegetation. The difficulty is accessing the required (existing) data. Astronomy faced similar data access issues. For the last decade, astronomers have been developing the concept of the Virtual Observatory (VO) - a technology layer that sits between the user and astronomy data archives and provides homogeneous access regardless of data type or storage. This solves for astronomy the same problem faced by global change scientists. Reusing this technology will thus provide tropical forests monitoring capability.
29 members of the continuing AstroGrid network together with 54 UK tropical forest researchers in the TROPGLOBE network will work together to create a system that shares and combines single attribute data/information and use the resulting multi-attribute information to simulate the functions of a pan-tropical forest observatory.
By repurposing Virtual Observatory (VO) technology a technology layer that sits between global change scientists and earth observation data archives will be created that provides homogeneous access regardless of data type or storage. This will enable comprehensive and highly focused research that was previously impossible. The system will combine earth observation and ground data to create virtual global environmental observatories, from which global change scientists can download via the World Wide Web the global empirical spatial information they need for their research.
Astrotrop is funded by the STFC External Innovations runs a Challenge Led Applied Systems Programme (CLASP). This programme supports the application and commercialisation of STFC research in the key global research challenge areas of energy, environment, healthcare and security.