Links: With regard to the distribution of data products by the DAACs, the committee recommends that the DAACs install more extensive web links to other global products that contain polar data, with brief descriptions of the holdings in the sites. These “pointers” should include available information about data sources, quality, and limitations specific to the polar regions. This information can be provided through literature references or through DAAC-initiated assessments.
Improvements in Tools: The committee recommends that data set providers better document their individual holdings as well as provide overview documentation of the broad spectrum of data sets available at their site. The addition of browse products to data sets would help users unfamiliar with the data to judge the utility of the data set for their uses. To help overcome obstacles faced when trying to combine data sets from different sensors, data set providers should increase availability of user-friendly software tools to help with tasks such as converting from one format to another and among standard grid formats. Attention should also be given to the issue of changing technology so that archived data will remain readable with future technologies.
Feedback: The committee recommends that data set providers provide additional opportunity for community feedback via the creation of web bulletin boards where users may comment on their experience using data at that site. This will encourage a more coherent user community where, for example, problems may be solved between users without direct intervention by the data site provider.
P-I Web Sites: The committee recommends creation of an archive of principal investigator-generated websites containing relevant data sets or information about these data sets. This type of archive will complement the data distribution activities of the DAACs and will enhance their utility as information resources for the polar community.
Alaska SAR Facility: While ASF received expressions of both praise and frustration from our survey respondents, the use of ASF products has been limited by data product availability, by costs, by ease of access, and by access and distribution restrictions. There has been some recent improvement in access to SAR products. Nevertheless, we share the concern of the 1998 DAAC review and reiterate the need to facilitate access to and utilization of ASF products. In particular, the committee recommends that ASF become more proactive in the assembly of pan-Arctic data sets.