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A virtual observatory in a real world: building capacity for an uncertain future-the UK pVO

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


Publication date2010
Number of pages1
Original languageEnglish


ConferenceAGU Fall Meeting, 2010
CountryUnited States
CitySan Francisco


The scientific community, environmental managers and policy makers face a challenging future trying to accommodate growing expectations of environmental well-being, while subject to maturing regulation, constrained budgets and a public scrutiny that expects easier and more meaningful access to data and knowledge. The pilot Virtual Observatory (pVO) is a new initiative funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) designed to deliver proof of concept for novel tools and approaches. During an initial phase, the pVO aims to first evaluate the role of existing ‘observatories’ in the UK and elsewhere both to learn good practice and to define boundaries. The aim of the two year pilot project is to investigate novel methods of linking data and models and to demonstrate scenario analysis for both research and environmental management, using effective communication tools such as portals to provide cost effective answers to vital questions in the water resources / soils area. The project will exploit cloud computing to develop new applications for accessing, filtering and synthesising data to develop new knowledge and evaluation tools. As such the cloud enables the integration of a variety of information sources (including disparate data sets, sensor data and models) at different granularities and scales together with associated information services to provide both interoperability between such services and encourage the flow from data to knowledge to policy setting in the quest for answering big science questions. A wide range of possible management and environmental futures will be expl