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Automated, High Resolution Terrain Generation for XSEDE


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Computer science & e-learning

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A significant body of high resolution satellite imagery has been made available to the scientific community, which has the potential to transform Earth science research. While these data are freely available, they are not in a form that an average user can access. This project will use high performance computing facilities and new software to convert images to a format that is more easily accessible to researchers and the public. Access to high resolution (sub-meter scale) commercial imagery through NSF-sponsored research centers is driving a revolution in Earth observation, redefining what can be measured from space. Currently, however, there is no efficient system for producing and distributing Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) from the vast amount of archived imagery, and this impedes utilization by the polar research community. This project will establish a service for on-demand polar DEM production and distribution utilizing the XSEDE High Performance Computing framework and the NSF-funded Polar Geospatial Center (PGC) data services. The PGC holds a large and rapidly-growing archive of sub-meter WorldView stereoscopic satellite imagery covering the globe from which high resolution DEMs can be extracted and openly distributed at no cost. Enabling on-demand generation of high resolution and precise DEMs at no cost will offer a powerful new capability for a wide spectrum of scientific, engineering and planning activities. This project will support both graduate and undergraduate education in high performance scientific computing and will create Earth science datasets of high educational value.