Transforming Geosciences Research

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EarthCube Tool “Sparrow” Allows Geoscientists to Easily Share and Archive Data Sparrow standardizes data for access by a web-accessible frontend, giving labs sophisticated off-the-shelf capabilities to manage and showcase their data.


Sparrow standardizes data for access, giving labs off-the-shelf capabilities to manage and showcase their data

Primarily known as a diverse but recognizable family of birds that are friendly and able to naturally blend into human environments, “Sparrow” is quite fitting for the user-friendly tool being developed by EarthCube’s Geochronology project. “Sparrow” has specifically been developed to assist laboratories in managing their analytical data products while at the same time creating metadata and seamlessly exposing lab products to end-users and archival data facilities.

“Our open-source approach was designed for supporting both geochemistry labs and community-curated databases,” said Daven Quinn, Sparrow’s lead developer and project scientist at University of Wisconsin–Madison. “We’re making great progress toward a small, sophisticated data system for geochronology and geochemistry labs and hope to streamline research approaches for labs across the field.”

Read the full article.

Graduate Students Contribute a Novel Open-Source Forecasting Verification Tool to the Pangeo Community Verification of ocean pH forecasts using climpred. Credit: Riley Brady,and Aaron Spring


climpred climate prediction tool joins Pangeo toolset

Riley Brady, graduate student at University of Colorado at Boulder, and Aaron Spring, graduate student at the Max Planck Institute in Hamburg, Germany, recently collaborated to create an open-source python-based Pangeo library that allows worldwide researchers to easily analyze forecasts using weather and climate models. Coined “climpred” (climate prediction), the new tool has been developed in conjunction with EarthCube’s Pangeo community so that geoscientists can post-process, analyze, and visualize the results of climate prediction systems.
“Some of these models are more than 500 terabytes - that’s 500,000 gigabytes! - and that is a lot of data to analyze,” said Brady, who is a Department of Energy computational science fellow. “Our climpred tool lets geoscientists evaluate how well the forecasts and hindcasts do when predicting the observed world.”
Full article.

National Microbiome Data Collaborative


New platform design to benefit from long-term EarthCube work and progress

The National Microbiome Data Collaborative (NMDC) is a new initiative funded by the Department of Energy to support microbiome data exploration and discovery through a collaborative, integrative data science ecosystem. The NMDC seeks to address fundamental roadblocks in microbiome data science and gaps in transdisciplinary collaboration by making microbiome data findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable (FAIR) (Wood-Charlson et al. 2020).

The NMDC is gathering information to understand how members of the microbiome research community work with microbiome data. The collected feedback will be used to guide the iterative development of the NMDC towards addressing the community’s current and future needs for discovery and access to microbiome data. Members of the microbiome research community are encouraged to share input by completing this 10-minute survey:

This latest development highlights a long-term trajectory common to some EarthCube projects. Initially, a National Science Foundation (NSF) End-User Workshop gathered priority research questions and challenges of a specific geoscience research community (in this case, ocean 'omics), and formed the basis of an EarthCube Research Coordination Network (RCN) called ECOGEO, focused on ocean microbial 'omics and environmental data, and led by Ed DeLong and Elisha Wood-Charlson from the University of Hawaiʻi. The RCN concluded with a supplement to develop a prototype open source workbench with training videos which are still highly watched. The RCN's outcomes meshed with software progress by Bonnie Hurwitz and her team at the University of Arizona; a new project, iMicrobe, developed further as Planet Microbe, focused on creating frictionless data packages for pipeline processing, and supported by NSF EarthCube and other funding. Project leaders, community research priorities, and an approach of cyclic iteration between community engagement and infrastructure development, have all been carried into the work's latest fruition as the NMDC.

EarthCube Office Launches New Website

Check out the enhanced EarthCube website! We’ve not only redesigned the site, but reorganized it for easier reading. If you have suggestions for additional improvement or would like to have your EarthCube project featured, please contact Lynne Schreiber at

ECO is Here to Help


Here's how:

  • With many proposals due in January, do you need a letter of collaboration? Submit a request here.  (Note: we cannot provide letters for the EarthCube solicitation.)
  • Outreach assistance via conference presence or the Data Help Desk, website, newsletters, science writer, and more.
  • Tech support for Resource Registry and implementation.
  • Interaction with and learning from other projects through the governance working groups and annual meeting.
Please contact

EarthCube at AGU 2020 Recap

agu 2020

Recordings will be available to watch on the AGU meeting platform until February 15, 2021


Missed some EarthCube presentations at AGU? It's not too late...

Check out nearly 40 EarthCube-related presentations : AMGeO, BALTO, CCHDO, CSDMS, Data Discovery Studio, EarthChem, GeoCODES, GeoDeepDive, GeoSciCloud, iSamples, Jupyter meets the Earth, LinkedEarth, MagIC, Pangeo, QGreenland, StraboSpot, and more.

 Here are a few featured highlights: Find all featured EarthCube at AGU highlights here.

AGU Virtual Data Help Desk


"What to do with large volumes of data" and "How to find an appropriate data repository" were popular themes

The Virtual Data Help Desk, sponsored by EarthCube and supported by AGU and Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP), provided researchers at (and beyond) AGU20 with opportunities to engage with geoscience-oriented volunteer informatics experts and learn about skills and techniques to benefit research and to help make data and software more open and FAIR.

Many thanks to all who made this such an engaging event!
  • 8 days open
  • 87 resources featured (videos & one-pagers) at
  • 60 data experts
  • 171 Twitter users
  • 617 Twitter posts
  • 1,382 retweets & likes (engagement)

Effective Virtual Efforts laptop with zoom call


Approaches by two EarthCube projects to reach communities in virtual spaces

Transitioning from in-person to exclusively virtual events has been a challenge for most people during the pandemic. Here are examples of recent successful virtual events from two EarthCube projects, with attention to their logistics and execution choices.

The Digital Rocks Portal (DRP) wanted to invite more people to use its platform’s packaged datasets, representing three-dimensional structures of porous materials. They offered an open competition for data visualization products with generous cash prizes from sponsors as incentives, and provided a virtual training session as well as example Jupyter Notebooks. Over half of the ~80 registrants were graduate students in a range of disciplines, especially geoscience and computer science fields, and some with primary experience in data visualization also participated. Jupyter Notebooks with functional workflows representative of the data resources and working code were created ahead of time, deposited into a GitHub repository, and made available to participants for demo, reuse, and modification. People were encouraged to use these to work alongside during the training, and later support was offered in a day of open “office hours” for consultation and technical advice. Trainings delivered by the portal team and third-party software providers were captured and published on YouTube for further use. Extended competition deadline: Jan. 17, 2021.

Sparrow held a three-day geochronology workshop to showcase its geochemistry data management software for labs. They brought together participants from geochronology labs and end-user communities, and helped additional labs get up and running with a basic instance of the Sparrow lab data management system. The workshop was structured for the first day to feature live and pre-recorded talks and discussion to convey background, hear perspectives from major labs, and consider lab workflows, analytical processes, user-developed plugins, and deployment variations (see recordings). The last two days focused on implementation breakouts, with organizers and the technical team using Slack to offer direct support to individual labs. Sparrow had over 50 participants in the introductory informational sessions of the workshop, and deeper involvement of over 20 community members during the following two days. Highlights included detailed conversations about the needs of labs in the optically-stimulated luminescence, thermochronology, and in-situ geochemistry fields, as well as conversations on interoperability with EarthChem and Collaborations explored at the workshop have since contributed to the preparation of several new implementation plans and supplemental grant proposals, and the virtual format enabled wider community participation.

Read the full blogpost for more details.



AMS Annual Meeting

American Meteorological Society

AMS: Jan 10-15, 2021   #AMS2021

Don't miss the AMS Town Hall on computational simulation data hosted by EarthCube project What About Model Data? on Wed., Jan. 13, 1 pm ET.

NSF EarthCube

Informational webinar on EarthCube solicitation

On Jan. 15, 2021 at 1pm EST, NSF will host a webinar providing an overview of the EarthCube solicitation and program, NSF 21-515. The solicitation will support science-enabling Data Capabilities and supplements. Full details & Zoom link.
earthcube focus

3D Data Viz Challenge

Digital Rocks Portal

Reuse 3D data from the EarthCube Digital Rocks Portal to create graphic, video, or 3D printed visualizations, and compete for cash prizes up to $1,000 thanks to event sponsors: South Big Data Innov. Hub, ORS Dragonfly, Kitware, & Dassault Systèmes. Entry deadline extended to Jan. 17, 2021. Details & training resources.

Open Storage Network

OSN Outcomes Update

Jan. 21, 2021, 9 am PT. A review of the OSN project, key features, and ways to leverage it in your research. The NSF-funded Open Storage Network effort seeks to build a community to guide and test replicable broad-scale solutions for storage infrastructure serving open scientific data. Details and registration.

ESIP Winter Meeting

Earth Science Info Partners

Virtual: Jan. 26-29, 2021. Great sessions include: Google Dataset Search &, physical samples, Science-in-the-Cloudcommunity guidelines, model data, Jupyter Notebooks, knowledge graphs, data management training, linking metadata, AI & ML, data publishing, data frontiers,, Research Showcase.

Science Gateways Community Institute

Free Sustainability Course

The Jumpstart Your Sustainability Plan mini-course will be March 1-3, 2021. Focused on practical and effective steps for developing a sustainability strategy, the course offers a way to kick-off sustainability planning, whether writing a new grant or moving to the next level with a mature project. Register by Feb. 24, 2021. Agenda and registration.
jumpstart your sustainability

2021 EarthCube Annual Meeting

Save the week of
June 14th for #EC2021

The EarthCube Annual Meeting for 2021 will again be virtual. Final dates and times during the week are to be determined.



EarthCube Team Meetings

Technology & Architecture Committee (TAC) - Mon., Feb. 1, 11 am PT
Science & Engagement Team (SET) - Tue., Feb. 2, 1 pm PT
Council of Funded Projects (CFP) - Thu., Feb. 4, 9:30 am PT
Council of Data Facilities (CDF) - Fri., Feb. 12, 12 pm PT

Learn more on the EarthCube Governance page
or email us to join any of these groups:


NSF Opportunities and DeadlinesNSF



2020 Winter ESIP Lab - Request for Proposals

Seeking innovative project ideas in Earth science technology

The Earth Sciences Information Partners (ESIP) Lab supports the Earth science community in building innovative, applied technologies through funding and community input. We seek proposals that include both learning and technology objectives. Proposal teams should be explicit about a skill they want to learn or expand during the course of their project. Available support includes technology and data mentors as well as cloud credits in addition to direct funding. Through this Request for Proposals (RFP), the ESIP Lab seeks projects that last 6-8 months, with a maximum budget of $10,000. Due Jan. 29, 2021. Full details here.


Scientists in the Park - Paid NPS Internships

Over 100 opportunities for Spring/Summer 2021 - Apply by Jan. 24

Geoscientists in the Parks (GIP), led by the Geological Society of America (GSA), has united with related National Park Service (NPS) programs as part of Scientists in Parks (SIP). This new opportunity has been expanded to include even broader opportunities with the goal of providing science-related, career-building experiences in partnership with NPS. Use your skills to help protect resources at parks like Yellowstone, Denali, Grand Teton, or a National Seashore. Apply skills in GIS, research, or outreach, and work with coral reefs, fossils, swamps, volcanoes, or other special features and landscapes. The program provides immersive, paid work experiences in natural resource fields so the next generation of park stewards - especially those underrepresented in science - have a unique opportunity to work on important real-world projects while building professional experience and a life-long connection to America’s national parks. A few NPS internships are specifically for enrolled students; most are open to anyone 18-30 years of age (35 if a military veteran). Learn more and apply by Jan. 24, 2021.


GeoCorps America

Paid geoscience internships - Apply by Feb. 3

GSA also helps lead GeoCorps America for internships. GeoCorps America offers paid short-term geoscience opportunities in some of the most beautiful natural areas in the world. Topic areas include geology, hydrology, paleontology, mapping and GIS, minerals, soils, glaciology, geohazards, karst, education, and interpretation. GSA partners with the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and other organizations committed to science and stewardship in order to offer the program. Learn more and apply by Feb. 3, 2021.


Workshop Supporting Early Career Geoscience Faculty

To be held virtually July 25-29 - Apply by March 26

Join a multi-day workshop in a stimulating and resource-rich environment where you will participate in sessions on topics including effective teaching strategies, course design, establishing a research program in a new setting, working with research students, balancing professional and personal responsibilities, and time management. The Early Career Geoscience Faculty workshop is for faculty in their first three years of a tenure-track or equivalent position. Goals include:
  • Learn about setting course goals, strategies for active learning, and methods for assessment.
  • Share ideas and strategies for teaching one or more courses.
  • Consider successful strategies for maintaining an active research program and advising/supervising undergraduate and/or graduate research students.
  • Discuss life as an early-career faculty member and explore ways to balance teaching, research, and service responsibilities.
Learn more and apply by Mar. 26, 2021.


Open Source Infrastructure Engineer pangeo

Development and operation lead for cloud-based infrastructure within the Pangeo project

Pangeo is looking for an Open Source Infrastructure Engineer who will help shape the future of data-intensive scientific research and make a big impact on important problems shaping society. This engineer will lead the development and operation of cloud-based infrastructure, focusing on the Pangeo Project - a community platform for big data geoscience. Help build the next generation of cloud-native data science environments at 2i2c_org! If this role speaks to you, apply today! Full details and application link.
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EarthCube is a collaboration between the Division of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure (ACI) and the Geosciences Directorate (GEO) of the US National Science Foundation (NSF). For official NSF EarthCube content, please see: This newsletter originates under NSF EarthCube Office Award #1928208.
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