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GeoSoft: Software Stewardship for the Geosciences

Title: GeoSoft: Software Stewardship for the Geosciences

 

Presenters: Chris Duffy (Penn State University), Yolanda Gil (University of Southern California), Scott Peckham (University of Colorado Boulder), Erin Robinson (Foundation for Earth Science)

 

EarthCube Affiliation: EarthCube GeoSoft Building Block

 

Description:

The goal of the GeoSoft project is to empower geoscientists to manage their software as valuable scientific assets in an open transparent mode that enables broader access to that software by other scientists, software professionals, students, and decision makers.  Scientific software stewardship requires a combination of cyberinfrastructure, social infrastructure, and professional development infrastructure. 

We will demonstrate how GeoSoft facilitates software sharing in the context of the Critical Zone Observatories (CZO).  To test that groundwater and forest life-cycle are important agents in the shaping of landforms over time scales of 103 to 107 years, a student wants to create an integrated model for landscape evolution.  He looks for a hydrologic model and GIS tool in GeoSoft, decides to use PIHM and QGIS.  He first builds a prototype in MATLAB, and gets advice from GeoSoft to share and describe that code.  Other CZO researchers can reuse that code to study other sites.  He then ports the code to C and integrates it with PIHM to develop a coupled landscape evolution-hydrologic model (LE-PIHM).  He shares results in GeoSoft including Computable Document Format files with data, workflow, visualizations online. Other CZO scientists can then find the software and easily reuse it for new questions, e.g., how do evolving landscapes affect the water cycle and geochemical weathering for different geologic settings.

GeoSoft guides users through best practices of software publication.  Users choose the degree of investment they are willing to make in componentizing, describing, licensing, and maintaining their software.  GeoSoft assists users to capture crucial metadata about software function and features that support discovery and reuse. GeoSoft interoperates with existing software repositories and modeling frameworks in geosciences by importing descriptions of their existing content and in turn advertising to those frameworks new contributions to GeoSoft.  We will show this capability for CSDMS and the C4P RCN repository.  GeoSoft also supports software discovery through multi-faceted search through the metadata captured.