OpenTopography has received a Windows Azure for Research Award from Microsoft Research. The Windows Azure for Research program "facilitates and accelerates scholarly and scientific research by enabling researchers to use the power of Windows Azure to perform big data computations in the cloud".
The award grants OpenTopography a one-year allocation of Windows Azure cloud resources, which we plan to use to evaluate distributed, on-demand, scalable compute infrastructure solutions for processing data from the OpenTopography facility's growing archive. We will start by deploying IaaS (Infrastructure as a service) large memory Windows based virtual machines that will be used to run Windows platform dependent algorithms and tools for processing lidar data .
The initial collaboration that will leverage the Azure allocation is the zCloud Tools project, which is developing analytical and processing tools for airborne and ground-based lidar data. The zCloud Tools project is a collaboration between Boise State University, Utah State University, USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station, and OpenTopography with funding from the National Science Foundation.
OpenTopography's proposal to Microsoft was entitled: Integration of cloud based on-demand geospatial processing services into community earth science data facilities
Abstract: OpenTopography is an NSF funded earth science facility that provides online access to high-resolution topography data and tools. By leveraging the underlying SOA design of the OpenTopography system, we plan to develop a pluggable services infrastructure that will allow processing routines developed by the community on external cloud resources like Azure to be plugged into the existing OpenTopography system workflow so that the entire community of users can benefit from the new functionality e.g. change detection, differential analysis and time series analysis between datasets.