Rescuing at-risk data on the Jornada Experimental Range

TitleRescuing at-risk data on the Jornada Experimental Range
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication1994
AuthorsWallace W., Havstad K
Conference NameInternational Symposium and Workshop on Desertification in Developed Countries: Why Can't We Control It?
Date Published10/1994
Conference LocationTucson, AZ
Keywordsat risk, converting, data, digitized format, Jornada Experimental Range, techniques

The Jornada Experimental Range is an Agricultural Research Service site consisting of 78,266 hectares, about 37 km north of Las Cruces, New Mexico, in the northern Chihuahuan Desert. The site is contiguous to the 25,900-hactare, New Mexico State University ranch. The Jornada Experimental Range is a prime research site for investigating the processes leading to desertification of semiarid grasslands and the changes in ecosystem properties that accompany desertification. Key ecosystem changes involve the replacement of grassland by creosotebush and mesquite shrub populations. Data related to soil, vegetation, precipitation, and livestock have been collected on the Jornada Experimental Range almost continuously from 1915 to the present. Although some of the data collected are now archived in digital format, either as a spreadsheet or geographic information system data layer, a great deal of the data is maintained in the original hardcopy format and is in serious danger of being lost due to deterioration. The Jornada Experimental Range, in conjunction with the New Mexico State University Physical Science Laboratory and the Consortium for International Earth Science Information Network (OESIN), has embarked on a pilot project to demonstrate the feasibility of converting the original hardcopy data into a digitized format and examining means of visualizing the digitized data in a way that enhances data usage by researchers. This paper addresses the design of the "data rescue" pilot project, describes the technology and methodology being used to digitize the hardcopy data, and describes "lessons learned" to date. Techniques being considered to visualize the digitized data will also be discussed.