James Frew Named President of ESIP

Bren School Professor to Lead Earth Science Information Group

James Frew begins 1-year term as president of Federation of Earth Science Information Partners

Bren professor James Frew has been elected president of the Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (“ESIP  Federation”) during the organization’s annual January meeting in Washington, D.C. Professor Frew will serve a one-year term lasting through the end of the 2010 Winter Conference.

As ESIP Federation president, Dr. Frew, who was the group’s founding vice president, will preside over the Assembly and its Executive Committee. “As the ESIP Federation enters its second decade, the original vision for the ESIP Federation is being realized,” he said. “With a community of more than one hundred partners, multi-agency involvement, and robust distributed governance, the ESIP Federation is both an incubator for and an exemplar of the kinds of multidisciplinary collaborations essential to addressing the grand challenges in Earth science.”

“From an information provider's perspective,” Frew said from his Bren School office “the grand challenge of Earth science is to build information systems that seamlessly integrate observations, analyses, and decisions.”

To illustrate the importance of that goal, he mentioned an existing limitation related to satellite imagery in the context of snow and/or ice-covered terrain. “A change in snow-covered area leads to a change in runoff, which leads to a change in reservoir management as managers decide to ‘save or spill’,” he said. Currently, he continued, each link in that chain of events “represents a transition to a completely different data system and community-of-practice, with a concomitant loss of context and increase in uncertainty. Integrated systems foster two-way communication, so that feedback from environmental decision makers directly influences the ways in which scientific results are presented and problems prioritized.”

The ESIP Federation is a consortium of more than 90 organizations comprising Earth science data centers, scientists, technologists, educators, and applications developers that develop applications for remotely sensed Earth observation information. The Federation promotes increased accessibility, interoperability, and usability for Earth science data and derivative products. Initiated by NASA in 1997, the Federation provides data, products, and services to decision makers and researchers in public and private settings.