Catharine van Ingen
The ecological sciences are rapidly becoming data intensive sciences. Several groups have been pioneering the use of databases, datacubes, and web-services to address some of the data handling challenges caused by the avalanche/tsunami/flood of data. Science happens only when the data are actually analyzed and today that very often happens with one of the common scientific desktop analysis tools such as Excel, MatLab, ArcGIS, or SPlus. The challenge then is how to connect the data in the cloud to the analysis tool on the desktop without requiring full data download. This article describes our prototype connection between one such service and one such tool. We describe how this approach can be generalized across a number of different science questions and tools. We also explain why this is a good solution from a scientist’s perspective.