Improved Data Curation and Exploration: Timelines for Visualizing Data Inventory

Date and Time: 
Monday 2018 Apr 2nd
CG Auditorium
Aaron Sweeney

Timelines are a very effective way of visualizing data inventory. They lead to the improvement of both data curation and exploration. Here, we present timelines for archived ocean-bottom pressure data and coastal tide gauge data at the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). Metadata about the inventories are expressed in Javascript Object Notation (JSON) format and visualized on a timeline through an open-source Javascript library (VisJS). Through these timelines, gaps in coverage immediately become apparent. Within the first two months of the DART timeline going live, NOAA's National Data Buoy Center, our primary data provider, used this inventory visualization to identify and submit for archive 17 at-risk data packages from the backlog of data collection that were not previously submitted for archive. Given the high cost of collecting these data, this represents a significant return on investment. Dates and heights of reported tsunami waves, as recorded in NCEI's historical tsunami hazards database, have been superposed on this timeline to draw attention to events of interest. Broader use of this approach to time-series exploration would benefit from the caching or predetermination of data inventories at different gap thresholds and providing these inventories using web services.

See,, and

Speaker Description: 

Dr. Sweeney is the water level (coastal tide gauge and deep-ocean bottom pressure recorder) data manager at the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, in support of the NOAA Tsunami Program. He uses a variety of software tools and programming languages, among them Python and Javascript, to make it easier for people to discover and access data. He also has had the pleasure of teaching introductory physics to undergraduates for several years.

Event Category: