2021 Cloud Hackathon Teaches Scientists How to Work with Cloud-Based Data

Mentors from the Distributed Active Archive Centers (DAAC) helped scientists improve their skills using NASA cloud-based Earth science data.

A virtual five-day hackathon helped scientists and researchers transition to using cloud-based NASA Earth science data. The 2021 Cloud Hackathon: Transitioning Earthdata Workflows to the Cloud took place virtually November 15-19 and was divided between learning with mentors from NASA Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) Distributed Active Archive Centers (DAACs) and hack time, where participants worked on projects collaboratively in small groups.

The primary goals of the hackathon were to explore NASA Earthdata cloud-based data products, tools, and services; engage hands-on with science workflows in the cloud; strengthen participants’ use of cloud data, tools, and services in support of open science and open data; and strengthen community engagement. The hackathon was limited to 50 participants to ensure adequate support and help. Tutorials created for the hackathon are available for self-paced learning.

Most hackathon participants were early and mid-career professionals, and included representatives from NASA, academia, other federal agencies, and nonprofit organizations. Almost 90% indicated they had either no experience or were beginners in using the cloud for data search, access, and analysis. Their primary disciplines spanned the sciences, with a majority indicating work in oceanography, hydrology, cryospheric studies, or land processes.

The hackathon was collaboratively led by NASA’s Physical Oceanography DAAC (PO.DAAC), National Snow and Ice Data Center DAAC (NSIDC DAAC), and Land Processes DAAC (LP DAAC), with additional support from NASA’s Atmospheric Science Data Center (ASDC), Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center (GES DISC), NASA’s Interagency Implementation and Advanced Concepts Team (IMPACT), and the NASA-funded Openscapes initiative. NASA Openscapes is a three-year project to support scientists using data from NASA’s EOSDIS DAACs as they migrate workflows to the cloud.

Through events like the hackathon, NASA's DAAC Openscapes Mentor Team works to build relationships with NASA Earth science data users and across the DAACs, identifying common cloud-specific aspects of data accessibility and use that the DAACs can share with their data users. For more information, see the 2021 Cloud Hackathon Notebook.


NASA Openscapes Champions Update

NASA Openscapes Champions is a mentorship program for environmental and Earth science research teams to explore open data science practices, specifically as these teams transition their research workflows to the cloud. Participants attend as a team with their research group and learn how to reframe data-intensive science as an open, collaborative effort. Between March 4 and April 29, 2022, Openscapes will lead a NASA Champions Cohort for seven research teams. This is a professional development and leadership opportunity for scientists who use data from NASA DAACs and are interested in migrating their workflows to the cloud with collaborative open data science practices. Nominations are open until February 1, 2022. Additional Openscapes Champions programs will be offered between 2022 and 2024.

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