ESGF (Earth System Grid Federation)

The ESGF initiative, of which CRIM is a co-developer, is recognized for its crucial contribution to climate research


ESGF (Earth System Grid Federation) is a concerted development effort in climate and Earth System science that brings together major partners such as NASA and various research centers in North America, Europe, Asia and Oceania, including CRIM.

ESGF is the first decentralized database in climate and earth sciences. This cyberinfrastructure built upon open source software provides each user with access to results and models produced by research teams around the world. ESGF currently serves 25,000 users and manages more than five petabytes (5,000 terabytes) of geospatial and geophysical data.  ESGF’s interoperability enables each user to access, through platforms or services, data and models generated by various research centers, universities and institutes, and to analyze them side by side.

ESGF is both a peer-to-peer data sharing space and a research network that facilitates and encourages collaboration between researchers in all corners of the world that have common or complementary goals and interests.

Over the years, CRIM's expertise in IT and geospatial analysis has enabled it to contribute to several projects related to Earth observation and climate science. For example, the PAVICS project, led by Ouranos in collaboration with CRIM, led to the creation of an open research platform that provides rapid access for the analysis and visualization of climate and scientific information.  PAVICS’s structure is based on the Birdhouse collection of tools, created by DKRZ (German Climate Computing Center), one of ESGF’s co-developers. By offering access to the open source research platform PAVICS to all ESGF co-developers, CRIM contributes to fulfilling the group’s interoperability goals.

Since 2016, CRIM has been working to increase the number of Canadian partners and researchers in the ESGF network,and has contributed to it by sharing the results of several of its projects, including the PAVICS platform and Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) testbeds. Furthermore, CRIM elaborates its development plan with ESGF’s global research objectives and fields of interest in mind, and takes the consortium’s larger scientific program into account when choosing its future projects in fields such as satellite imagery, artificial intelligence and cloud computing. In this way, CRIM seeks to support, through its research, the global goals of all ESGF international partners. CRIM’s contribution is also notably represented by the election of Tom Landry, senior advisor in CRIM’s Vision and Imaging Team, to the ESGF executive committee. 

ESGF was awarded a prestigious international prize in 2017. It was named one of the 100 best R&D projects of the year. The winners were announced by R&D Magazine during the 55th R&D 100 Awards gala in Orlando in November 2017. Since 1963, the R&D 100 Awards program, an integral part of the R&D Magazine brand, identifies and celebrates the top 100 revolutionary technologies of the past year.

The award presented to ESGF by R&D Magazine underscores the importance of developing information exchange networks in research areas that impact all regions of the world. CRIM's contribution to the cutting-edge research that will be created and shared over the next few years ensures that its expertise will be able to contribute to the most innovative and relevant projects in the crucial field of contemporary climate research.


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