OLAP Cube Visualization of Environmental Data Catalogs

  • Bora Beran
  • Catharine van Ingen
  • Ilya Zaslavsky
  • David Valentine

MSR-TR-2008-70 |

Systems like SciScope and Data Access System for Hydrology (DASH) rely on data catalogs to facilitate data discovery. These catalogs describe several nation-wide data repositories that are important for scientists including US Geological Survey’s National Water Information System (NWIS), Environmental Protection Agency’s STOrage and RETrieval System (EPA STORET) and National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) data collections which contain a wealth of information reflecting the history and geography of environmental data collection efforts in the US.

OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) is an approach to organizing and querying large data collections. End user applications can request slices from OLAP servers and provide multi-dimensional visualizations that involve aggregations, ranking and algebraic/statistical calculations to gain greater insight into the data. We have applied the OLAP technology to environmental data catalogs using SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services and used Excel and Virtual Earth to visualize the query results.