Soliciting Submissions of Interest for Arctic GIS Workshop

11 August 2000

Dear Colleague:

The Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. (ARCUS), on behalf of the
National Science Foundation's Arctic Research Support and Logistics
program, is inviting submissions of interest from researchers who are
interested in participating in a workshop to discuss potential uses and
requirements for an integrated web-based Geographic Information System
(GIS) to support Arctic research activities. The NSF has asked ARCUS to
help gather community input at this early stage and prepare
recommendations to guide a development plan. The workshop is planned for
fall 2000, possibly in mid-to-late-November. The venue for the workshop
has not been determined.

The purpose of the workshop will be to assess what Arctic science issues
would benefit from an improved GIS capability, what path might be taken
to develop a GIS to address those issues, and an assessment of the
pay-off in terms of research, and the broader societal benefits, e.g.,
outreach and informing the public of current issues and knowledge. One
expected product will be a "white-paper report" with recommendations for
the National Science Foundation.

Recent developments in GIS have made it much easier to run them over the
world-wide web. The potential is high for GIS to be used to improve
collaboration between researchers; make new links between researchers
not currently collaborating, perhaps from different disciplines; and
provide public access to results of past and current research, possibly
to be used in educational opportunities. This draws on one of the key
benefits of using GIS, which is to help users visualize data or

Web-based GIS has potential to be the core system in providing both
simple and complex sets of information related to Arctic science over
the web in geographic format. For example, a simple use could be to
provide logistical information, showing where projects have worked, when
they are in the field, and what resources they use. With a GIS, this
could be presented at a variety of scales, ranging from an Arctic-wide
summary, say by discipline, to site maps of research plots, with the
management plan of the sites, and with information on the history of
each the plot. Research sites can be linked to project web-sites for
more information about the science. A more complex use may be to provide
geographically referenced data, and analysis results from the research
itself. This may include basic map-type data, e.g., satellite imagery or
digitized aerial imagery, or tables and graphs of physical parameters
and analyses at a given research site.

Thus an anticipated proposed goal, to be tested at the workshop, is to
significantly increase the flow of geographically based information
through the arctic research community and to the broader community. The
NSF Arctic Research Support and Logistics program and the workshop
organizers envision an incremental approach to implementing a GIS
system, but consider it important to have a vision of the end-point. We
believe that the envisioned end point should be derived from the arctic
research community's assessment of what will best support Arctic

Questions to be addressed in the workshop discussions include:

- What key issues in Arctic science could be enhanced by using GIS,
particularly one operating over the web; data-sharing, logistics
planning, model control, outreach?

- What basic geographic data is available that would be key to many
applications, e.g., digital elevation models, coastline data, regional
vegetation data, bathymetry, regional satellite imagery, meteorology?

- What other GIS activities related to Arctic science are underway, and
could assist the implementation of this activity?

- How much training is needed for people using the system, and how can
this be best delivered?

The white paper report resulting from the workshop will recommend a
series of activities that would lead to one or several linked pilot
projects that are likely to provide tangible demonstrations, or test the
value, of web-based GIS to arctic research. The white paper report will
be available for broad community review and comment prior to its
submission to NSF.

Please send to ARCUS (; fax 907/474-1604) no later than
8/31/00 a brief email or one-page letter describing:

* your interest in and availability for the fall 2000 meeting,
* your scientific specialties and current research areas and how you
use GIS in your work, and
* how you envision benefiting from an Arctic-wide, web-based GIS

ARCUS will work with the National Science Foundation Arctic Section
staff to select 25-30 participants for the workshop. You will be
notified in September of the status of workshop invitations. All
individuals who submit an expression of interest, as described above,
will be invited to review the draft white paper before its submission.

Please pass this message on to any colleagues that might be interested
in this opportunity. Thanks for your interest and we look forward to
hearing from you.

Wendy Warnick,
ARCUS Executive Director

and the Workshop Organizing Committee:
Brian M. Barnes,
Institute of Arctic Biology
University of Alaska Fairbanks

Christopher N. Kroot,
Enterprise Information Systems, TREESystems

William Manley,
Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR)
University of Colorado

James Moore,
Joint Office for Science Support (JOSS)
University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR)

Glenn W. Sheehan,
Barrow Arctic Science Consortium

Donald (Skip) A. Walker,
Northern Ecosystem Analysis and Mapping Laboratory
University of Alaska Fairbanks