IT Brief New Zealand - Technology news for CIOs & IT decision-makers
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GeoNet partners with AWS in providing valuable data globally
Fri, 16th Sep 2022
FYI, this story is more than a year old

GNS Science and its GeoNet programme, New Zealand’s leading geoscience and data provider, has become the country's first organisation to release its research datasets on the Registry of Open Data on Amazon Web Services (AWS). 

It has done this using the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Open Data Sponsorship Program. This program covers the storage cost for publicly available cloud datasets to make them accessible for analysis on AWS and encourages the development of communities that can benefit from shared data.

This means GeoNet's entire archive is available to download for the first time. 

The GeoNet programme is a geohazards monitoring service that produces data capturing earthquakes, volcanic activity, large landslides, and tsunamis. 

GeoNet also collects data between geohazard events, such as ambient noise tomography, which records seismic noise waves from Earth's vibrations, and allows imaging of the planet's subsurface.

Making data freely available to researchers has been an underpinning philosophy of the GeoNet programme since its inception in 2001. Now, its datasets are faster to download, especially for large dataset requests, and more accessible to researchers, learning institutions, and the general public globally via the Registry of Open Data on AWS, which exists to help people discover and share data.

Using the AWS Open Data Sponsorship Program, GeoNet is able to eliminate unexpected costs associated with users downloading large datasets while providing end-users with free and open access to its entire archive. This data can leverage machine learning services to improve natural disaster monitoring that benefits the broader global community.

“Machine Learning is opening up new research avenues all over the world. Enabling access to our large and fundamental geohazard datasets and helping users bring their compute to the cloud is a key step forward because of quicker and easier access to information,” says Jonathan Hanson, GeoNet Data Manager, GNS Science. 

“Being part of the AWS Open Data Sponsorship Program is a great opportunity for us to step boldly forward, supporting research that could have wide ranging dividends, like training algorithms to detect currently unknown trends that could potentially predict future events.” 

Calum Chamberlain, a geophysics lecturer at the Victoria University of Wellington, adds, "GeoNet's high-quality seismic data is at the heart of research projects around the world. By making their data open-access, GeoNet will help researchers apply cutting-edge methods to long-duration seismic datasets and develop a better understand of the earthquake processes."

“Personally, having cloud access to GeoNet's seismic data has helped me work on problems of long-term earthquake interaction and aftershock forecasting.”

Tim Dacombe-Bird, Country Manager for Public Sector, AWS New Zealand, notes, “Datasets are exponentially increasing and require technology systems that can easily scale to provide fast, valuable, and actionable insights into the data. It’s great to see organisations like GNS leveraging the cloud and making their valuable data freely available. We hope other organisations will also see value in joining the AWS Open Data Sponsorship Program.”