ESA 2015: A Hands-On Primer for Working with Big Data in R: Introduction to Hierarchical Data Formats, Lidar Data & Efficient Data Visualization

When: August 09, 2015
Location: Baltimore, MD

Ecologists working across scales and integrating disparate datasets face new data management and analysis challenges that demand tools beyond the spreadsheet. This workshop will overview three key data formats: ASCII, HDF5 and las and several key data types including temperature data from a tower, vegetation structure data, hyperspectral imagery and lidar data, that are often encountered when working with ‘Big Data’.  It will provide an introduction to available tools in R for working with these formats and types.

In the first half of the workshop, we will learn how to (1) access and visualize large datasets in these formats using R, and (2) to use metadata to efficiently integrate datasets from multiple ecological data sources for analysis. In the second half of the workshop, we will apply the knowledge from the first half to work through a practical example of integrating field-collected vegetation structure data with remotely sensed LiDAR data. For this example, we will use data collected by the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), a continental-scale, NSF-funded effort to collect and freely serve terabytes of data per year (stored in a diversity of formats) over the next 30 years to enable ecological research.

Participants should have some basic working knowledge or R and will leave the workshop with a basic understanding of the data that NEON and other large projects offer and some basic tools that support the use of Big Data to enhance their own research.

If you have questions or comments, please reach out to Leah Wasser.

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