The Virtual Observatory and Ecological Informatics System (VOEIS – "voice") is a collaborative project between the EPSCoR jurisdictions of Montana and Kentucky with partners from industry and the public sector and is funded by the National Science Foundation. We are developing an integrated sensor and ecological informatics system through the use of research-based lines of inquiry and an informatics framework that manages workflow from streaming sensor data to the application of those data in simulation models and visualizations.

The consortium is composed of faculty, students and technicians on the Montana Field Sensors and Computing Integration Team at Flathead Lake Biological Station (MT), the Kentucky Field Sensors and Computing Integration Team at Hancock Biological Station (KY), the Computing, Data Framework and Data Management Development Teams at Montana State University and the Computing Simulations and Visualization Development Team at the University of Kentucky, as well as research and education centers at four universities in Kentucky (University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, Murray State University, and Eastern Kentucky University) and two in Montana (The University of Montana and Montana State University). The VOEIS informatics system, designed in collaboration with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, is being developed to manage vast amounts of legacy data, as well as new data generated by the environmental sensor network. The combination of these resources will form a that will be extremely useful in exploring fundamental questions in environmental science, including the effects of climate change, the imposition of human activities on the environment, and the resilience of the nation's water resources.

A critically important part of VOEIS is the training and expansion of students' expertise in sensor development, deployment and system simulation. A special effort is being made to include students from the Tribal Colleges in Montana and the students from the Appalachian counties of Kentucky. Interaction with the public and K-12 students will be channeled through the outreach programs at the Kentucky Water Resources Research Institute (KWRRI) and the Montana Water Center (MWC) that are both part of the national network of water centers. This will raise the awareness of how human activities have impact on the environment. There can be no more important educational activity than to make the public appreciate the trade-offs that must be faced in the near future.


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Grant: VOEIS EPS-0919557 (2009-2012)
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