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Learn More! A Layerscape resource guide 

This page: What is Layerscape? What is the geoscience resource story at MSR?

Layerscape is a data visualization toolkit built around the Worldwide Telescope earth/planetary/astronomy engine. Layerscape is free to install and features the following capabilities:

  • Geospatial data support: Check!
  • Large datasets: Check! One million plus data points
  • Time-dependent data: Check! Including a time slider, time-looping playback and time playback rate control
  • Three spatial dimensions: Check!
  • Abstract data: Check! We support inserted Cartesian / Spherical / Orbital / Trajectory reference frames
  • API Interface: Check! We have an extensive REST-like Layer Control API
  • External data sources: Check! WMS, OData
  • Point-like data: Check!
  • Vector data: Check! Via the Well-Known Text (WKT) formalism
  • Raster data: Check! Import and adjust raster overlays, including opacity
  • Story-telling: Check! The Tour-authoring software is built directly into the Worldwide Telescope application
  • Sharing: Check! We operate the website as a YouTube-like repository for WWT-related content
  • Simple Data Import: Check! Cut-and-paste tabular data from Excel or install the Excel Add-In for Worldwide Telescope

To begin working with Layerscape start here; or to dive in to data visualization see our FAQ and Content Viewing pages. 

More Resources

“How can technology help us cope with the environmental science data deluge we face?”

This page is the Layerscape train station to help you find and explore our resources, organized around five broad data task categories: Get, Save, See, Think and Say. Layerscape visualization and sharing around Worldwide Telescope is based on our home page. Interested in computational ecology at Microsoft Research? Click here to visit their Tools page; or read on! 

Get! (Data Acquisition)

  • .NET Gadgeteer: Rapid prototyping of embedded sensor systems: Fast component integration, fast programming, and fast prototype building. This is where you'd look if you were interested in placing computer intelligence out in the field or into the upper atmosphere.
  • CLEO: Location-based sensor network technology with cloud-based data management, CLEO is about "cultivating the Longtail for Environmental Observations".  CLEO is both low power autonomous hardware and mobile phone-integration via your audio jack. 
  • FetchClimate: A standardized resource for getting gridded climate data across multiple data types and time intervals. Includes source metadata and error estimate; provided over any grid spacing you would care to stipulate.
  • SciScope: A demonstration search engine of one-stop-shopping for hydrological and contaminent field data. Includes source code and instructions to build your own at CodePlex.
  • F#: A language that enables data discovery as you type; explanation and link needed.

Save! (Data Management)

  • Data Up helps you with NSF Data Management Plans by connecting you directly with the NSF-initiated Data Observation Network for Earth (DataONE). DataUp is a simple direct way of archiving datasets complete with Digital Object Identifier assignment.
  • Distribution Modeler: Work flow, complete explanation and link needed!
  • Swavesey: The WordPress version of a Database: Fast and powerful. Explanation and link needed!

See! (Data Visualization)

  • Layerscape: Research tools for visualization and sharing of complex geospatial datasets.
    • Excel Add In for WWT: Use Excel to get your data into Worldwide Telescope for visualization
    • Narwhal: From the .NET platform Narwhal helps Developers connect data applications to Worldwide Telescope.
  • DataSet Viewer: A simple standalone menu-driven tool for quickly exploring and comparing time series, geographic distributions and patterns within scientific data: Selection, filtering and slicing tools, various chart types (scatter plots, line graphs, heat maps, tables), geographic mapping (using Bing Maps).
  • D3JS: Dynamic Data Display (Javascript-based). Further information needed.

Think! (Data Analysis)

  • Filzbach Bayesian Inferrence: For the .NET development environment: Filzbach is a flexible, fast, robust, parameter estimation engine. Parameterize arbitrary, non-linear models against multiple, heterogeneous data sets: Bayesian parameter estimation, maximum likelihood analysis, priors, latents, hierarchies, error propagation and model selection.
  • Scientific DataSet (software): For the .NET development platform, SDS is a set of compiled code libraries to facilitate the use of multidimensional datasets in diverse formats and sizes from within code. SDS does away with the traditional distinctions between files of different formats, and between input, creation, manipulation and output of datasets held in different locations.

Say! (Publication)

  • Data Up allows you to publish data into the NSF DataONE archive; and receive a corresponding Digital Object Identifier.
  • Microsoft Academic Search is a publication search engine.  MAS can find publications, build co-author association graphs, calculate your Erdos and Feynman numbers and help you trace back from a paper you cited to a derivation of the Planck Radiation Law.
  • OData: A standards-based communication protocol for creating data services. Link and explanation needed!