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  • Abstract: Supporting Geospatial Fellows for Advancing COVID-19 Research & Education, Y1
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The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has placed the US and the world into an extremely challenging situation as populations and businesses experience massive impacts. During this worldwide fight against COVID-19, the geospatial data being rapidly collected are increasingly complex and broad in their coverage. Harnessing such geospatial data poses tremendous challenges to geospatial software, advanced cyberinfrastructure (CI), and related research communities, due to the complexity of the geospatial software ecosystem and the inherent interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary nature of COVID-19 problems. The challenges posed are both social and technical in nature, including finding the right tools, building interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary partnerships, and ensuring that research findings are readily accessible and reproducible. The National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Geospatial Software Institute (GSI) conceptualization project has created a new Geospatial Fellows program to strategically and synergistically engage researchers and educators from diverse geospatial-related science communities (e.g., public health, geosciences, geography and spatial sciences, and social and environmental sciences) to contribute to advancing COVID-19 research and education in significant ways. The Geospatial Fellows program will advance two goals derived from the GSI conceptualization process: (1) to enable researchers and educators to harness geospatial software and data at scale, in reproducible and transparent ways; and 2) to increase the nation’s workforce capability and capacity to utilize geospatial big data and software for knowledge discovery. The Geospatial Fellows will conduct cutting-edge COVID-19 research and education, resulting in geospatial software modules, data, computational notebooks and research publications, all of which will become publicly available on the Geospatial Hub that will be based on CyberGISX (https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://cybergisxhub.cigi.illinois.edu/__;!!Mih3wA!V5WHw-062ta-lFT0FPbBq_qOtefcj3n4_bbz5AK7CW2rJx5nRM5Tevle0Qxb89M$ ).

The call for proposal that was released to invite applications received tremendous response with us receiving 40 proposals and 14 fellows have been selected to be supported. The fourteen fellows selected represent a diverse group of institutions, areas of studies, as well as ethnic and professional background. We expect these follows not only to conduct their individual research but work as a team to advance the geospatial software community. They are also expected to develop education and training materials. With XSEDE resources we anticipate fellows using XSEDE resources to advance their research but more importantly we will use this as an opportunity to work with the Fellows to develop tools and educational materials for enabling the use of XSEDE by the larger geospatial software community.

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