Here we will provide an overview of the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON). Please carefully read through these materials and links that discuss NEON’s mission and design.
Data Institute participants: As you review this information, please consider the capstone project that you may want to work on at the Institute. At the end of week one, you will document an initial research question or idea and associated data needed to address that question, that you may want to explore while at the NEON Data Institute.
At the end of this activity, you will be able to:
- Explain the mission of the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON).
- Explain the how sites are located within the NEON project design.
- Explain the different types of data that will be collected and provided by NEON.
The NEON Project Mission & Design
To capture ecological heterogeneity across the United States, NEON’s design divides the continent into 20 statistically different eco-climatic domains. Each NEON field site is located within an eco-climatic domain.
The Science and Design of NEON
To gain a better understanding of the broad scope fo NEON watch this 4 minute long video.
Please, read the following page about NEON's mission.
Data Institute Participants -- Thought Question: How might/does the NEON project intersect with your current research or future career goals?
NEON's Spatial Design
The Spatial Design of NEON
Watch this 4:22 minute video exploring the spatial design of NEON field sites.
Please read the following page about NEON's Spatial Design:
NEON Field Site Locations
Explore the NEON Field Site map taking note of the locations of
- Aquatic & terrestrial field sites.
- Core & relocatable field sites.
Explore the NEON field site map. Do the following:
- Zoom in on a study area of interest to see if there are any NEON field sites that are nearby.
- Click the "More" button in the upper right hand corner of the map to filter sites by name, site host, domain or state.
- Select one field site of interest.
- Click on the marker in the map.
- Then click on the name of the field site to jump to the field site landing page.
NOTE: During summer/fall 2018 these field site pages are being updated, during this time the amount of information on each site may vary.
Data Institute Participant -- Thought Questions: Use the map above to answer these questions. Consider the research question that you may explore as your Capstone Project at the Institute or about a current project that you are working on and answer the following questions:
- Are there NEON field sites that are in study regions of interest to you?
- What domains are the sites located in?
- What NEON field sites do your current research or Capstone Project ideas coincide with?
- Is the site(s) core or relocatable?
- Is it/are they terrestrial or aquatic?
- Are there data available for the NEON field site(s) that you are most interested in? What kind of data are available?
Data Tip: You can download maps, kmz, or shapefiles of the field sites here.
How NEON Collects Data
Watch this 3:06 minute video exploring the data that NEON collects.
Read the Data Collection Methods page to learn more about the different types of data that NEON collects and provides. Then, follow the links below to learn more about each collection method:
- Aquatic Observation System (AOS)
- Aquatic Instrument System (AIS)
- Terrestrial Instrument System (TIS) -- Flux Tower
- Terrestrial Instrument System (TIS) -- Soil Sensors and Measurements
- Terrestrial Organismal System (TOS)
- Airborne Observation Platform (AOP)
All data collection protocols and processing documents are publicly available. Read more about the standardized protocols and how to access these documents.
Specimens & Samples
NEON also collects samples and specimens from which the other data products are based. These samples are also available for research and education purposes. Learn more: NEON Biorepository.
Airborne Remote Sensing
Watch this 5 minute video to better understand the NEON Airborne Observation Platform (AOP).
Data Institute Participant – Thought Questions: Consider either your current or future research or the question you’d like to address at the Institute.
- Which types of NEON data may be more useful to address these questions?
- What non-NEON data resources could be combined with NEON data to help address your question?
- What challenges, if any, could you foresee when beginning to work with these data?
Data Tip: NEON also provides support to your own research including proposals to fly the AOP over other study sites, a mobile tower/instrumentation setup and others. Learn more here the Assignable Assets programs .
Access NEON Data
NEON data are processed and go through quality assurance quality control checks at NEON headquarters in Boulder, CO. NEON carefully documents every aspect of sampling design, data collection, processing and delivery. This documentation is freely available through the NEON data portal.
- Visit the NEON Data Portal - data.neonscience.org
- Read more about the quality assurance and quality control processes for NEON data and how the data are processed from raw data to higher level data products.
- Explore NEON Data Products. On the page for each data product in the catalog you can find the basic information about the product, find the data collection and processing protocols, and link directly to downloading the data.
- Additionally, some types of NEON data are also available through the data portals of other organizations. For example, NEON Terrestrial Insect DNA Barcoding Data is available through the Barcode of Life Datasystem (BOLD). Or NEON phenocam images are available from the Phenocam network site. More details on where else the data are available from can be found in the Availability and Download section on the Product Details page for each data product (visit Explore Data Products to access individual Product Details pages).
Pathways to access NEON Data
There are several ways to access data from NEON:
- Via the NEON data portal. Explore and download data. Note that much of the tabular data is available in zipped .csv files for each month and site of interest. To combine these files, use the neonUtilities package (R tutorial, Python tutorial).
- Use R or Python to programmatically access the data. NEON and community members have created code packages to directly access the data through an API. Learn more about the available resources by reading the Code Resources page or visiting the NEONScience GitHub repo.
- Using the NEON API. Access NEON data directly using a custom API call.
- Access NEON data through partner's portals. Where NEON data directly overlap with other community resources, NEON data can be accessed through the portals. Examples include Phenocam, BOLD, Ameriflux, and others. You can learn more in the documentation for individual data products.
Data Institute Participant – Thought Questions: Use the Data Portal tools to investigate the data availability for the field sites you’ve already identified in the previous Thought Questions.
- What types of aquatic/terrestrial data are currently available? Remote sensing data?
- Of these, what type of data are you most interested in working with for your project while at the Institute.
- For what time period does the data cover?
- What format is the downloadable file available in?
- Where is the metadata to support this data?
Data Institute Participants: Intro to NEON Culmination Activity
Write up a brief summary of a project that you might want to explore while at the Data Institute in Boulder, CO. Include the types of NEON (and other data) that you will need to implement this project. Save this summary as you will be refining and adding to your ideas over the next few weeks.
The goal of this activity if for you to begin to think about the capstone project that you wish to work on while at the Data Institute. This project will ideally be performed in groups, so over the next few weeks you'll have a chance to view the other project proposals and merge projects to collaborate with your colleagues.
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