The even more fun part came in the afternoon. That is when we had the opportunity to speak with Stratos and the group in Melbourne followed almost immediately by Lyle in Canberra. We met up with Rama and the Jakarta group later in the evening. It was really fun to see, speak and learn from each of the various groups that we linked up with. The google+ hangout with Astronaut Ron Garan was also a ton of fun; truly brought the idea of international collaboration to light, when people from 10 cities and 5 continents connected simultaneously to watch as four cities in Australia presented their final products.
Our group decided to tackle the Satellite-based estimation of watershed-level evapotranspiration. The length of the challenge name itself tells you that it is a difficult but important solution to undertake. We began by a brief scientific briefing from the two organizers, both graduate students pursuing degrees in Hydrogeology. This is what I love doing, telling people about the importance of water and understanding the water budget and the huge impact that we have on such a precious NON-RENEWABLE resource, at least at the rate of our current water consumption. This was followed by identifying the participant’s skills and grouping them by their programming language skills and tasked their responsibilities accordingly. One group was in charge of data acquisition, one was responsible for data conversion and the last was tasked with data visualization. The final project will be a combination of Pearl, MATLAB, and C# languages. We decided on this format to make sure we included all the participants, even for those with only beginner programming skills (which was really just me).
We encountered a few issues while undertaking satellite ET and water storage challenge. Much of the conversation revolved around data collection and processing, as the Landsat 5TM data we used are large, multi-file datasets in addition to being in a difficult format to program for (at least using the expertise of our participants). My familiarity with satellite data and got us through the collection. The atmospheric corrections and ET modeling were done conjunctly with our Rocky Mountain participant in Boulder, the MATLAB expert, and me. However, we have encountered a problem with translating the output GeoTIFF to something that our data viz programmer can work with. We hope to take care of this issue, this morning April 22, 2012.
I have yet to get any sleep during the event (and the day before too), yet I am really excited about finishing our project tomorrow and showing our “Hydro” team off to the world! Our final submission will go in at 1600 Eastern (USA) time. I will leave you with this last photo taken at 0500 Sunday morning.