The recent boom in the volume of digital data returned by international planetary science missions continues to both delight and confound users of those data. In just the past decade, the Planetary Data System (PDS), NASA’s official archive of scientific results from U.S. planetary missions, has seen a nearly 50-fold increase in the amount of data and now serves nearly half a petabyte. In only a handful of years, this volume is expected to approach 1 petabyte (1,000 terabytes or 1 quadrillion bytes). Although data providers, archivists, users, and developers have done a creditable job of providing search functions, download capabilities, and analysis and visualization tools, the new wealth of data necessitates more frequent and extensive discussion among users and developers about their current capabilities and their needs for improved and new tools. A workshop to address these and other topics, “Planetary Data: A Workshop for Users and Planetary Software Developers,” was held June 25–29, 2012, at Northern Arizona University (NAU) in Flagstaff, Arizona. A goal of the workshop was to present a summary of currently available tools, along with hands-on training and how-to guides, for acquiring, processing and working with a variety of digital planetary data. The meeting emphasized presentations by data users and mission providers during days 1 and 2, and developers had the floor on days 4 and 5 using an “unconference” format for day 5. Day 3 featured keynote talks by Laurence Soderblom (U.S. Geological Survey, USGS) and Dan Crichton (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, JPL) followed by a panel discussion, and then research and technical discussions about tools and capabilities under recent or current development. Software and tool demonstrations were held in break-out sessions in parallel with the oral session. Nearly 150 data users and developers from across the globe attended, and 22 National Aeronautics and space Administration (NASA) and non-NASA data providers and missions were represented. Presentations (some in video format) and tutorials are posted on the meeting site (http://astrogeology.usgs.gov/groups/Planetary-Data-Workshop).
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USGS Numbered Series
Summary and abstracts of the Planetary Data Workshop, June 2012