Using Informatics Tools to Enhance the Productivity of Canopy Researchers

The Canopy-2009 international conference organizing team is glad to announce that a session for the Canopy Database Project group from The Evergreen State College, Olympia to conduct a hands-on training session on "Using Informatics Tools to Enhance the Productivity of Canopy Researchers" has been arranged on Thursday 29th October 2009, from 10:30 to 12:30.

The Canopy Database Project (CDP) brings together canopy researchers and computer scientists to address issues of data acquisition, management, analysis and exchange relating to canopy studies at all stages of the research process. The scientists at The Evergreen State College, Olympia develop informatics tools for canopy scientists, document and publish datasets that demonstrate these tools, and characterize forest canopy structures. With support from the National Science Foundation, they have developed three prototype tools:

  1. a database design and warehouse tool (DataBank), which aims to help ecologists design, archive, and mine field databases without having to know how to build databases from scratch, using forest canopy structure representations ("templates") as database components;
  2. a visualization tool (CanopyView), which easily creates data-driven visualizations from datasets represented in DataBank databases; and
  3. a reference website for canopy research, the Big Canopy Database (BCD), which consolidates information of interest to forest canopy researchers (http://canopy.evergreen.edu/bcd). Using these tools ecologists can reap the benefits of databases and visualization without learning a computer programming language.

These informatics tools will be presented in a hands-on workshop for canopy researchers, who can then use these tools to enhance their research productivity.

As such we invite participants to this half-day informatics workshop. The workshop will start by motivating the use of databases in research, and their potential advantages over more traditionally-used spreadsheet programs. The CDP team will then demonstrate the functionality of DataBank for creating an MS Access database package, which 'automatically' creates the database along with data-entry forms. An added benefit is that documentation about the database that can be used for archiving is generated along with the database (in the ecological metadata-language EML). They will also present CanopyView for visualization using a sample dataset. This workshop will enhance each participant's ability to carry out his/her research, including synthetic research, which demands combining of data from multiple sources.

For the course schedule, please visit the Canopy-2009 conference website www.canopy2009.org. All those interested to participate in the training session are requested to get in touch with Mr.Mrugank, mrugankvp@gmail.com at the earliest, as this session will be open for limited number of participants.