Interoperability Workshop and Assessment Process

polar connections logos

7 - 10 November 2016

European Space Agency ESRIN
Via Galileo Galilei
Casella Postale 6400044 Frascati (Roma)


Related Events

  • EU-PolarNet Task 3.3 Annual Meeting (Open) : Afternoon and evening of November 7th Agenda
    • Gathering at 14:45 at the Old Reception in Building 1
  • Interoperability Workshop: November 8th, 9th Draft Agenda: Polar Connections Interoperability Workshop and Assessment Process
    • Registration from 8:30 at the reception desk close to the Big Hall in Building 14
  • Third Meeting of the Arctic Data Committee (Open) : November 10th (Draft Agenda)
    • Gathering at 8:20 at the Old Reception in Building 1

Access to the ESRIN site is restricted to persons pre-registered using the online conference registration system, presenting a print of the email sent on 2 November and  an original valid form of ID; as you are already registered, security has received your name on the list of participants for the conference. For security reasons, cars cannot be parked inside the ESRIN premises. A private parking area (open until 23:40) is available close to ESA/ESRIN in Via delle Perazzeta (Frascati) in front of the Train Station Tor Vergata.

General info for participants / Map of ESRIN campus

Workshop Summary Report

A summary report outlining the discussion and results of the Polar Connection Interoperability Workshop and Assessment Process was created.  A more detailed report is under development and will be published as part of a larger report to be submitted under Arctic Science Ministerial deliverable statement submitted to the Second Arctic Science Ministerial held in Berlin on the 26th of October, 2018


The importance of data and its proper management are increasingly being recognized by governments, the science community, and society. The polar science community has unprecedented opportunities for science based on open, networked, digital, and ubiquitous communication technologies. This presents an urgent need for the community, Arctic residents, and other stakeholders to establish a clear global vision, strategy, and action plan to ensure effective stewardship of and access to valuable Arctic and Antarctic data and information resources.

The International Polar Year 2007-08 initiated significant momentum with respect to polar data management. More recently, a number of meetings and reports have clarified the issues and priorities in this domain. Specifically, the Second Polar Data Forum held in October of 2015, the Arctic Observing Summit and a soon to be published report from the European Space Agency’s Polaris project have made significant contributions to the field. In all cases, data and system interoperability has been identified as one of the primary goals and challenges of interest to the broader polar and global community.

Interoperability can be defined as properties of data and information systems that allow them to work and share with other information products or systems, present or future, without unintended restrictions. Moving towards interoperable polar information systems that are connected to the global information system is important and urgent considering the rate of environmental and social change being observed in the polar regions. Data and information systems are evolving rapidly and there are many existing, maturing and new projects, models and paradigms (e.g. Cloud Computing, Big Data, Semantic Web). Understanding and harnessing the most appropriate projects, models and paradigms is a high priority for the polar data community and decisions made now may have implications for decades to come.

Background Resources


General Background on Status and Requirements of Polar Data Management


Report of IPY Data Management Workshop (2006)

Report on SAON Data Management Workshop

Workshop on Arctic Data Coordination (2012 IPY Conference)

NSF Workshop on Cyberinfrastructure for Polar Sciences

Communiqué of First Polar Data Forum

Communiqué of Second Polar Data Forum

Data Management for Arctic Observing

Response by the Polar Data Community to the OGC Request for Information on Arctic Spatial Data

OGC Arctic Spatial Data Pilot Phase I Report


Organizational and Technical Resources


Arctic Observing Viewer Guide to Interoperability

Data Curation Centre - General Data Management

SeaDataNet Standards and Software

Research Data Alliance Working Groups

Research Data Alliance Interest Groups


Objective and Questions

The objective of the Polar Connections workshop and assessment process is to provide the science community, data managers, policy makers, Arctic residents, and others with a significanly improved understanding of:

  • what interoperability is in the context of different stakeholders (e.g. scientists, Arctic residents)?
  • how interoperability can benefit the polar and global community
  • what initiatives, standards and tools can be used to enhance interoperability?
  • what are the gaps in interoperability?
  • who are the actors needed to enhance interoperability (individuals, organizations, governments etc.)?


The objective of the workshop and the process are:

  1. A focused, brief survey of the community aimed to help address questions above
  2. A workshop that provides time for presentations and face-to-face dialgoue to help address the above questions
  3. A summary assessment in the form of a report aimed at leaders in the science community, policy makers, government agencies, Indigenous organizations and other interested users.
  4. Contribution to the Mapping the Arctic Data Ecosystem project of the Arctic Data Committee

The summary assessment report will be delivered to the executive levels of IASC, SAON, SCAR, and SOOS and sponsoring partners, and will be made broadly available for interested parties.


In response to recommendations from the polar community, this workshop and process will bring together representatives from Arctic communities and Indigenous organizations, polar and global data centers, standards bodies, researchers and other relevant stakeholders to make tangible progress on better understanding interoperability and establishing strategies and mechanisms. The workshop and process will focus on a set of key themes that will be addressed by small working groups tasked with providing concrete strategies, recommendations and technical advice. Thematic areas currently identified include:

  1. Data discovery and metadata (Theme Lead: Dr. Julie Friddell)
  2. Data as a Service: including persistent identifiers, software as a service, brokering, and semantic interoperability (Theme Lead, Øystein Godøy)
  3. Representing and sharing Indigenous Knowledge, community based observations, and the social sciences (Theme Lead, Colleen Strawhacker)
  4. Cloud data and computing platforms (Theme Lead: Andrew Fleming (tent.))
  5. Governance and establishing sustainable systems (business models) (Theme Lead, David Arthurs)
  6. Connecting to the global data and information ecosystem (Theme Lead, Lynn Yarmey)

To ensure the broadest possible engagement, The Polar Connections Workshop is part of a larger process that will begin before and continue after the workshop.

Workshop and Process


All members of the community will be asked to complete a focused, brief survey of the community aimed to help address questions indicated under "Objectives and Questions" above.

Participants attending the workshop will be required to review a set of background material to ensure that they are familiar with the current state of the art and can work productively during the workshop.


The two day workshop will begin with context-setting presentations by theme leads or their delegates. Participants will then be tasked with considering the workshop questions established and generating recommendations that can be used to significantly enhance polar data interoperability.

A detailed agenda will be published here soon.


Results of the pre-workshop survey and a report from the workshop will be made publicly available soon after the workshop. These resources will be available for comment by the community through the end of 2016. A preliminary summary assessment report based on the results of the process will be published early in 2017. A more extensive report may be developed.


Access to ESRIN is restricted to registered participants. Registration is no longer possible.

Travel Information:

The recommended airport for most participants is Rome Fiumicino, the other option is Rome Ciampino (mainly Ryanair flights).

There are several travel options from the Fiumicino airport to Frascati.

During the time of the meeting, ESA will provide a shuttle bus from the Frascati City Center to the ESRIN campus where the meeting will be held.

It is no longer possible to book a hotel trough the reservation form. If you book a hotel we advice to book in central Frascati to take advantage of the shuttle bus.

Additional details will be sent to registered participants a week before the meeting.


Content and themes: Peter Pulsifer
Third Meeting of the Arctic Data Committee: Stein Tronstad
Communications and logistics: Marten Tacoma
EU-PolarNet Meeting: Jan Rene Larsen,

Organizers and Sponsors

The members of the Arctic Data Committee, a body of the International Arctic Science Committee and Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks program, the Standing Committee on Antarctic Data Management a body of SCAR, the Southern Ocean Observing System, European Space Agency, EU-PolarNetPolar View Earth Observations, GEO Cold Regions Initiative (GEOCRI), the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), IARPC Coordination Teams,  and other co-sponsors[1] are hosting the Polar Connections Interoperability Workshop and Assessment Process. 

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