Greenland Ecosystem Monitoring

Greenland Ecosystem Monitoring

Greenland Ecosystem Monitoring (GEM) is an integrated monitoring program that monitors ecosystems and the impact of climate change on these in the Arctic. GEM is based on the data that gets collected during the summer months from the two stations Kobbefj ord at Nuuk in southwest Greenland and Zackenberg in northeast Greenland.

Highly inaccessible data

The Department of Bioscience at Aarhus University desired to share the data in a timelier manner making the data easily accessible to researchers across the planet.

The first ten years the mindset was primarily to acquire data and not so much how we should share it with the outside world. We were not good at that, because digitalisation was almost identical to what was in our notebooks. The quality of the data was good enough, but it was very inaccessible to others.

  • Niels Martin Schmidt, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University

We needed an efficient database solution that at the same time was adapted to the workflow in the field. Our ambition was that we could stand in the field and work directly into a validation module and from there, after validation, put it into the database and do it directly available to anyone on the web. We have to have a field part that works as ideally as possible, for that is logistically incredibly expensive to get a man up to Zackenberg in Northeast Greenland, so it must not go wrong when you first stand there.

  • Niels Martin Schmidt, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University

project goals

The Department of Bioscience desired to share GEM data through a web application with integration to the GEM database, including graphic visualization of data over time and presentation of data in data tables with the possibility to download the data of interest inside any interval of time. The technical goals of the project were summarized in the following:

  1. Integration of GEM data with web application using the Entity Framework making it possible to query the data via LINQ.
  2. Presentation of view-data in the frontend and query of view-data in MS SQL Server using server-side data tables jQuery plugin.
  3. Possibility of download of data and meta data as Excel Sheets
  4. XML caching of view datasets as well as ASP.NET caching
  5. Editing of content in Umbraco as well as tools in Umbraco back office for caching of datasets.

Value

The optimal solution is a reality today: The researchers at the two stations can now work in a common database. The database includes: Graphic visualization of data over time, so you can see which way development is going, making he database of great interest since it launched in April 2015.

Via an updated database it has become even easier to share data with researchers and authorities nationally and internationally. It is a a great leap forward for Danish scientists who started collecting data in Northeast Greenland 20 years ago. Important data on climate and environmental change in Greenland are now available, shortly after they are collected, and they are now included to a greater extent in the international research in a changing Arctic.

Our data is public domain and thus provides also major international networks researching the Arctic - that way we can better understand the climate effects on a large scale. Everyone can access data, and ours data is used in research, international assessments and the like.

  • Niels Martin Schmidt, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University

Conversely, we now have better control over how ours data is being used. The data controller is notified, when someone uses our data and we can give message to users when we can see that there are many, who are researching the same topic so they are aware of it.

  • Niels Martin Schmidt, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University

In the media

You can read more about the significance of the project in the Arctic in the scientific magazine Aktuel Naturvidenskab.

  1. The Greenland Ecosystem Monitoring (GEM) Database
  2. Greenland Ecosystem Monitoring
  3. The significance of the project in the Arctic

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