The OpenTopography Facility provides online access to high-resolution topography data and related processing tools through cyberinfrastructure developed at the San Diego Supercomputer Center at University of California, San Diego. The term “cyberinfrastructure” was coined by the National Science Foundation in 2003 to describe the computer networks and application-specific software, tools, and data repositories that support research in a particular discipline. OpenTopography’s cyberinfrastructure grew out of early research and development work in the NSF-funded GEON Project, and is now independently funded by NSF to support access to high-resolution data and processing tools for Earth science research.
OpenTopography (OT) cyberinfrastructure employs a robust and scalable multi-tier service oriented architecture (SOA) for efficient access to data and processing via a web interface. It includes an infrastructure tier, a services tier, and an application tier. The infrastructure tier contains dedicated storage and compute resources. Consistent with the vision articulated in the NSF GEO Priorities and Frontiers: 2015-2020 vision document, OT also harness the power of computational infrastructure by leveraging NSF XSEDE resources like the Gordon Supercomputer to allow users to run compute intensive algorithms (e.g. TauDEM). Most users access OT data and processing via the OT portal in the application tier. Access to data and processing is also available via the services tier. In general, we utilize open source software and libraries to build the OpenTopography system. Because the project is run out of the San Diego Supercomputer Center, we are also able to leverage the significant resources available through SDSC, including the SDSC Cloud, colocation services, managed virtual machines, etc.
Read our paper OpenTopography: a services oriented architecture for community access to LIDAR topography, COM.Geo for more detailed information on our SOA.
In addition to running the production OpenTopography Facility, we are also engaged in research and development activities that are related to, or significantly leverage, our existing cyberinfrastructure and data management and processing capabilities.