DSTCCP Project

Decision Support Tools Catalog and Community of Practice


Top, solar-PV panels at the 45 megawatt Avenal facility in Kings County; bottom, blunt-nosed leopard lizard, a federal endangered species that occurs only in the San Joaquin Valley. Credit: Defenders of Wildlife.

Current Challenges

One of the challenges Federal agencies face today when reviewing renewable energy related projects (e.g. wind power and solar power site selection) is a method to assess risks associated with those projects. Project proponents and NGOs evaluating environmental impacts have similar concerns. Some issues facing the users and stakeholders today are:

  • Lack of transparency of tools in terms of models used and underlying data
  • Inadequate understanding of value proposition and potential interoperability among tools
  • Absence of a suitable framework for further improvements of tools by the developers based on user feedback, changing and diverse stakeholder needs and policies, and overall knowledge advancements.

Decision-making stakeholders must be engaged throughout the “scientific knowledge lifecycle” in order to establish comprehensive and sustainable frameworks and methods for access to actionable information. Greater institutional commitment is needed from data and tool owners, and coordination as well as user collaboration with developers, to keep data platforms and services as close to state of the art and open as possible.

Project Goal and ESIP Role

The DST Catalog and Community of Practice (DSTCCP) project is intended to provide a forum to address these challenges by (a) providing a dynamic catalog of currently available decision tools, updates, and a preview of forthcoming releases and new offering, and (b) by establishing a community of practice that involves developers, users and stakeholders in a constructive dialog to enable transparency, interoperability, and further improvements. Once operational, ESIP is committed to provide regular updates to the catalog, and moderate forum discussions to ensure content accuracy and relevance.

ESIP is playing a coordinating role by engaging universities and industry along with the Federal agencies and NGOs in a cross-sector understanding of the needs, maintaining such a catalog of decision support tools, engaging the community of stakeholders, users, and developers in a dialog and discussion, and facilitating partnerships in further tool development and application. ESIP development team is leveraging Drupal and Semantic Web technologies and previous projects experience (including the current ESIP testbed) in accomplishing these objectives.

Community Benefits

Expected benefits of this project to the community of developers, users and stakeholders are:

  • Builds transparency into the decision tool architecture, data, and functionality.
  • Identifies opportunities for interoperability among tools and data sharing.
  • Aids decision makers in tool selection and use appropriate to their planning goals.
  • Engages the developers, users and stakeholders community in a constructive dialog.
  • Provides a framework to identify gaps and facilitate opportunity for improvements needed to the kit of decision tools.

DSTCCP Prototype


Scientists have found that wind turbines are causing fatalities of certain species of migratory insect-eating bats.
Credit: USGS.

A prototype of this information system is being developed in the first phase of this project for wind energy site selection application, and the latest update is illustrated on this website.

The prototype is intended to demonstrate key capabilities. Some relevant tools currently in use have been selected to populate the catalog with various search capabilities, tool attributes and data sources, interoperability scenarios, and gap analysis based on user feedback. It is intended to provide a framework and a forum for dialog among the user, developer, and stakeholder community members.

The community’s participation through comments and feedback is critical in enhancing the value of this prototype and would be highly appreciated.

ESIP - DSTCCP Prototype Planning and Development Team

Name/Organization/Email
Laurie Allen USGS lkallen@usgs.gov
Taber Allison AWWI tallison@awwi.org
Richard Eckman NASA richard.s.eckman@nasa.gov
Alvaro Graves RPI gravea3@rpi.edu
Shailendra Kumar Consultant skumar@energy-environment-climate.com
Carol Meyer ESIP carolbmeyer@esipfed.org
Erin Robinson ESIP erinrobinson@esipfed.org
Eric Sproles ORISE PostDoc/EPA eric.sproles@gmail.com

Wildlife preservation is a priority in site selection for wind farm installations. Credit: AWWI