USFWS Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Project

Quick Facts

Purpose: The goal of the SharedGeo Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Project is to serve and share current and historical spatial data that are related to the Great Lakes area, surrounding watersheds and wildlife habitats.

Funders: US EPA GLRI and US FWS Habitat projects

Phase 1 Info Items:
Technical Overview: Download Technical Presentation
Project Overview: Download GLRI Presentation
SWS Presentation: Download SWS Presentation


The goal of the SharedGeo Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Project is to serve and share current and historical spatial data that are related to the Great Lakes area, surrounding watersheds and wildlife habitats. The SharedGeo project is funded by the US Environmental Protection Agency and administered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

To date, there have been two phases of the project.

Phase 1

In Phase 1 of the project which ran from 2010 to 2016, SharedGeo researched and developed techniques to use open-source tools to serve, catalog, map and distribute spatial data.  The project had 3 main parts: 1) spatial data web services & data download; 2) a spatial data catalog; and 3) a web map integration tool.

1. Spatial Data Web Services & Data Download

SharedGeo created a hardware and software system that has initial capacity to store and serve up to 50 terabytes of data. SharedGeo’s focus for this system is to serve large imagery and remotely-sensed datasets for the entire Great Lakes basin in fast and reliable services. The datasets include current and historical oblique photography, aerial imagery and remotely sensed data such as LiDAR and RADAR.

The datasets are loaded, indexed, tiled and then served in the most appropriate way for each data type. Many datasets are served as OGC-compliant Web Map Service (WMS) and/or Web Feature Service (WFS) services. The scalable software and hardware configuration ensures that the services are delivered with maximum speed and reliability. The services can be used by GIS and mapping desktop and web applications and so can be easily integrated into an organization’s work flow.

In addition to the data services, imagery and remotely sensed data are downloadable. Data may be clipped to a user-defined area of interest and downloaded for use on a local computer. This might be useful for project-specific needs or for field work where web connections are unavailable.

By delivering these spatial data web services and downloadable datasets, SharedGeo contributes to the base data necessary to inventory, evaluate, prepare remedies for, and monitor results of projects in the GLRI core focus areas such as combating invasive species, protecting watersheds and restoring wetlands and other habitats.

2. Spatial Data Catalog

SharedGeo set up a GeoNetwork data catalog node that aggregates metadata describing spatial data for the Great Lakes area. The GeoNetwork tool does this by “harvesting” existing data catalogs such as the Great Lakes Information Network hosted by the Great Lakes Commission. Other harvested data catalogs include those by State, Province and Non-Governmental Organizations doing work in and around the Great Lakes.

The harvested metadata provide a robust list of spatial data layers that can be queried by topic, geography or keyword. GeoNetwork outputs an Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC)-compliant catalog service (CS-W). This allows other tools (not just GeoNetwork) to be used to query the catalog. For this project, SharedGeo decided it would be most useful if metadata and layers could be searched inside the web map interface, so this is built within Co-map, the GLRI SharedGeo web map.

3. “Co-map” Web Map

2012 GLRI Co-Map Prototype Web Interface

Spatial data can be viewed, queried and browsed using the SharedGeo web map tool, Co-map. Co-map includes the SharedGeo-hosted imagery and remotely-sensed data services along with an OpenStreetMap basemap. In addition, Co-map allows a search of all the metadata inventoried in the GeoNetwork data catalog. If those data have map services available, then those data can be added right into the map. This allows potential integration of hundreds of Great Lakes spatial datasets and allows users to make custom maps. It is this flexibility that SharedGeo hopes will help both support and expedites user decisions on whether data layers are useful and appropriate for their needs.

Co-map also allows for data download. Imagery and remotely sensed data that are hosted by SharedGeo can be clipped to a user-defined area of interest and downloaded for use on a local computer. This might be useful for project-specific needs or for field work where web connections are unavailable.

 

Phase 2

In Phase 2, which began in 2017, SharedGeo is processing current and historical remote sensing data to create visualization of environmental change and the impact of those changes so other GLRI projects can be focused to maximize restoration efforts. A side product of these efforts already completed is a 4D Multi-Temporal Vegetation Ecological Digital Elevation Model at two meter resolution for the entire Great Lakes Basin using MAXAR Worldview commercial satellite imagery through the NextView program.  At times this effort is using 70% of the computing capacity of the Blue Waters Super Compter at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, one of the world’s most powerful super computers.

Research findings and products from this effort are anticipated to be released in 2021.