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DIEHARD CODERS JUST RESCUED NASA’S EARTH SCIENCE DATA


This seems important and worth circulating among the educated crowd, a few of whom may be able to help.

cheers
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DIEHARD CODERS JUST RESCUED NASA’S EARTH SCIENCE DATA
MEGAN MOLTENI. 02.13.17 - 

http://fortune.com/2017/01/22/climate-data-trump-admin-hackers/


ON SATURDAY MORNING, the white stone buildings on UC Berkeley’s campus radiated with unfiltered sunshine. The sky was blue, the campanile was chiming. But instead of enjoying the beautiful day, 200 adults had willingly sardined themselves into a fluorescent-lit room in the bowels of Doe Library to rescue federal climate data.

Like similar groups across the country—in more than 20 cities—they believe that the Trump administration might want to disappear this data down a memory hole. So these hackers, scientists, and students are collecting it to save outside government servers.

But now they’re going even further. Groups like DataRefugeand the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative, which organized the Berkeley hackathon to collect data from NASA’s earth sciences programs and the Department of Energy, are doing more than archiving. Diehard coders are building robust systems to monitor ongoing changes to government websites. And they’re keeping track of what’s already been removed—because yes, the pruning has already begun.

Tag It, Bag It

...

Future Farming

Later that afternoon, two dozen or so of the most advanced software builders gathered around whiteboards, sketching out tools they’ll need. They worked out filters to separate mundane updates from major shake-ups, and explored blockchain-like systems to build auditable ledgers of alterations. Basically it’s an issue of what engineers call version control—how do you know if something has changed? How do you know if you have the latest? How do you keep track of the old stuff?

...

There was still so much work to do. “Climate change data is just the tip of the iceberg,” says Eric Kansa, an anthropologist who manages archaeological data archiving for the non-profit group Open Context. “There are a huge number of other datasets being threatened with cultural, historical, sociological information.” A panicked friend at the National Parks Service had tipped him off to a huge data portal that contains everything from park visitation stats to GIS boundaries to inventories of species. While he sat at the bar, his computer ran scripts to pull out a list of everything in the portal. When it’s done, he’ll start working his way through each quirky dataset.
PG_AntiochSou
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Comments

  • Horrible that it's necessary, but good to hear nonetheless. Trump and co. will try to twist everything to their own ends, so having the originals backed up for safety is a really good idea. Biggest problem I can see on the horizon: if the guv'mint says the data has to go, doesn't keeping backups become illegal? There's a good chance the people who are making the redundant databases might get into a lot of trouble. Well, more so than everyone already is, I suppose.
    Sou
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