Online FS portal for data viz?

Hi Bob and Cheryl (also CC’ing Cindy with CAP and John with WO R&D as I think they may find this of interest):

Thank you both for the opportunity to learn about landscape visualization tools available to / from the Forest Service at last week’s conference on “Exploring Visualization Tools for Communicating Natural Resource Management Information” at PSU.

I wanted to follow up on a point I raised in the discussion of potential outcomes of the conference:

A barrier to Forest Service employees applying some of the available software tools may be that a “technical approval” is required to install non-standard software on Forest Service Machines. I’d mentioned perhaps the Forest Service could have non-standard software for landscape visualization and assessment hosted on the Forest Service’s Citrix Server Farm.

That would ideally lower the barrier to Forest Service managers to have the opportunity to easily “try out” some of the software tools available. A list of non-standard software already hosted on Citrix is available on SharePoint; I think it would be a great to see more software developed by the research stations hosted / available to try on the Citrix Farm.

Also – Taylor Mutch from CBI voiced a second idea to perhaps host Forest Service software on “Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment” (XSEDE) platform for distributed / cloud computing and science applications. XSEDE offers the opportunity to develop “Science Gateways,” collections of domain-specific software and tools. “Science Gateways” are available here: The closest examples to illustrate the concept applied to natural resource management are probably these two:

This is beyond my area of expertise (I’m no software developer), but I had a thought that if PNW or the Forest Service in general had enough people with the skills to develop hosted versions of our desktop software applications, this could remove the impediment to Forest Service employees who might be intimidated by installing non-standard software on FS machines, and perhaps resolve a second issue of long-term disposition of software developed by Forest Service researchers.

As a new/temporary visitor to PNW, I was surprised to learn software is developed at PNW (and other research stations). I think it could be great addition to have some sort of online “science gateway” to gather these tools together, ideally with the option to try them out / run them online.

Thanks again,


Tanner Jessel, MSIS
Science Communications Research Fellow
Forest Service

Pacific Northwest Research Station

p: 503-808-2108
f: 503-808-2130
1220 SW 3rd Ave, Suite 1400
Portland, OR 97207
Caring for the land and serving people

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About Tanner Jessel

I am a recent M.S. in Information Science graduate from the University of Tennessee School of Information Science. I was formerly a graduate research assistant funded by DataONE (Data Observation Network for Earth). Prior, I worked for four years as a content lead and biodiversity scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey's Biodiversity Informatics Program. Building on my work experience in biodiversity and environmental informatics, my work with DataONE focused on exploring the nature of scientific collaborations necessary for scientific inquiry. I also conducted research concerning user experience and usability, and assisted in development of member nodes with an emphasis on spatial data and infrastructure. I assisted with research designed to understand sociocultural issues within collaborative research communities. Through August 1, 2014, I was based at the Center for Information and Communication Studies at the University of Tennessee School of Information Science in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Posted on April 26, 2017, in Uncategorized, USFS Research. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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