tions of the concepts and their associated data structures, and criteria for establishing approximate equivalence among such representations (i.e., equality within permitted tolerances). The mathematical equations are replaced by finite transformation algorithms acting on those representations and are expressed in a programming language that minimizes hidden side effects. Such a science concept model would extend the object-oriented modeling used in the ECS Data Model12 to the metadata and scientific theory surrounding operational processing. By isolating how and where qualitative judgments were inserted by the algorithm developer or production scientist, such a model would aid the design of effective oversight procedures, which in turn could be described and recorded similarly.

  • Interactions of personnel. The operations of the EOS Information Federation would involve delicate relationships among professional research scientists and information systems specialists. It is more likely that a variety of advantageous role models would be developed, rather than a crisp formula for success. Regardless of the size of the data-processing operation, leaders and managers must be sensitive to both the importance of addressing critical underlying issues and to the personal motivations and professional aspirations of all groups of specialists.

  • Cost benefits should accompany the effort to produce trustworthy information.

A thoughtfully integrated processing environment leads to a higher-quality, better-documented product, with greater prospects of accurately recording the state of the Earth system and of surviving the sieve of time as a trusted source of useful long-term information. Immediate benefits come from more effective use of skilled people. Long-term benefits accrue to society through the existence of reliable information about the Earth, on which economic and policy decisions can be based. Though quality assurance appears to be costly, the alternative is the effective loss of expensive and irreplaceable data about the state of our planet.


1. NRC (1995b).

2. NRC (1982).

3. NASA (1984).

4. NASA (1986).

5. Dutton (1989).

6. Ibid.

7. NRC (1995a).

8. NASA (1986).

9. Handy (1992).

10. NRC (1997).

11. Weibel et al. (1995).

12. Dopplick (1995).

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