Blog

January 23, 2017

More sightings and partners for Cook Inlet Belugas catalog

The endangered Beluga population of Cook Inlet has been in the news this past month with the release of a new recovery plan. Axiom Data Science has been continuing work on both the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Ecosystem Portal, and the Scientific Sightings Mapper, which compiles professional beluga observations from multiple private and public organizations in Cook Inlet. This fall Axiom added thousands of beluga sighting locations to the mapper. Some of these came from our existing partners at the National Marine Mammal Laboratory, LGL Alaska Research Associates Inc. and Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, but we’re happy to have worked with several new partners:

  • Friends of the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge
  • Alaska Pacific University and AECOM Port of Anchorage Modernization program
  • the Alaska Energy Authority’s Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project

This Friday afternoon (January 27th) Axiom Data Science CEO Rob Bochenek will discuss this project, and future opportunities for collaboration on Cook Inlet Belugas, at the Alaska Marine Science Symposium workshop on Cook Inlet Beluga Management, Research, and Partnership Opportunities. Come find us there or contact us to work with us on this unique population of whales.

January 11, 2017

Arctic Sea Ice

Arctic Sea Ice extent is a “hot” topic in Alaska for climate scientists, subsistence hunters, and resource developers. Axiom Data Science and the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS) serve multiple sources of sea ice data:

Shell has withdrawn operations from Alaska, but not before making their full-resolution SIWAC ice maps available to Axiom Data Science. The AOOS Ocean Data Portal is the only access point for SIWAC full-resolution sea ice maps, and now includes maps through October 2015.

January 3, 2017

Reflections on Axiom's 10th year!

The end of 2016 marks the end of Axiom Data Science’s 10th year in business. From humble beginnings in Rob’s East Anchorage garage, we’ve grown into an agile, innovative data science company supporting environmental research efforts across North America:

  • Staff of 19 (including Francis the Therapy Dog)
  • Posh headquarters in Anchorage, Alaska, with satellite offices in Providence, Rhode Island, and Portland, Oregon
  • A high-performance computing center with 1,400 processing cores and 1.4 petabytes of storage, configured to enable data throughput at over 160 gigabytes/sec
  • Data management partnerships with over 2 dozen organizations, including the Integrated Ocean Observing System and 3 of its regional associations (AOOS, CeNCOOS, and SECOORA), as well as the North Pacific Research Board, the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council, and more.

We’re proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish over the past decade. It’s taken a lot of unsung heroics, quick thinking, and good old-fashioned hard work, none of which would’ve been possible without the efforts our dedicated, talented staff and the support of our many data partners.

And we’re just getting started! Looking ahead to 2017, we have a lot on the horizon, including new partnerships, major upgrades to our data center, a suite of more sophisticated data management tools, and the eventual upgrade of our office espresso machine.

Many thanks to everyone who’s been a part of helping Axiom grow and evolve so far. We’re proud to support important research efforts in vital and sensitive areas such as the Gulf of Mexico, the North Pacific, and the Arctic. We’re looking forward to a great next decade and beyond!

December 10, 2016

Platforms for Shellfish Toxicity and Phytoplankton Data in Alaska

Axiom Data Science and the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS) recently presented at the Alaska Sea Grant’s Harmful Algal Bloom workshop about platforms for phytoplankton and shellfish toxicity data sharing. Here is a presentation synopsis:

Ready access to phytoplankton abundance and shellfish toxicity data is critical to supporting rapid response capabilities for harmful algal blooms (HABs). The Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS), in partnership with Axiom Data Science, packages coastal and ocean observation data in meaningful ways to support stakeholder needs. AOOS is in the early stages of developing tools to inform decision-making about the impacts of HABs to humans and the environment in Alaska. Among those available to the Alaska HAB network, the Ocean Workspace is a web-based collaboration tool used to securely centralize scientific data and elect files to be published openly on public data portals. The Ocean Data Explorer and Gulf of Alaska portals provide public access to hundreds of data layers, allowing users to visualize and integrate different types of data from many sources. The Kachemak Bay Harmful Algal Bloom Information System(http://www.aoos.org/k-bay-hab/) includes information on current water temperatures in Kachemak Bay and how these temperatures may affect the development of HABs and resulting shellfish toxicity. Additionally, under development is a data collection and distribution system for phytoplankton and shellfish testing information in Southeast Alaska (via Southeast Alaska Tribal Ocean Research (SEATOR) and SoundToxins.org) that aims to give tribes, researchers, shellfish growers, and managers a data-driven resource for HAB warnings to inform selective harvesting of shellfish to reduce human health risk. This system may provide an important platform for serving the new Alaska HAB network’s statewide need for centralizing data and disseminating it in useful ways to managers and the public.

November 23, 2016

Axiom Partners on Web-Based Data Platform for Marine Mammal Health

Marine mammals face an increasing number of health threats. The increasing frequency of emerging diseases, harmful algal blooms (HABs), and human interactions suggest a decline in marine mammal health. However, scientific publications about these events are not a reliable indicator of underlying health trends (Simeone et al 2015). Access to centralized, standardized marine mammal health data is important to help highlight and understand the connections between oceanography, ecosystem processes and marine mammal health. The Marine Mammal Commission and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Office of Protected Resources, in collaboration with Axiom Data Science and other partners, have been developing a nationally centralized, ultimately near-real-time, system for reporting data on marine mammal health called the Marine Mammal Health Monitoring and Analysis Platform (MMHMAP). Beginning in October 2016 a project led by Axiom Data Science is working to develop the user interface, visualization and analysis tools for Health MAP.

More information can be found through the MMHMAP website here.

November 17, 2016

Welcome to the Team, Jesse Lopez!

Axiom is pleased to announce the hire of Jesse Lopez, as the Scientific Computing Technologist for the Portland, OR office. In this position, Jesse will serve in an infrastructure engineering and numerical science capacity to contribute to the advancement of Axiom's web-based data management tools. Jesse will also be working to maintain and cultivate Axiom’s high performance computing infrastructure located in Portland. Jesse’s professional interests lie at the intersection of environmental science and computational science. He studied History and Mathematics at the University of Washington (BA), Computational Mathematics at Brooklyn College (Post-Bac), and Environmental Science and Engineering at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). His dissertation work at OHSU was focused on developing and applying high-resolution numerical models and observations to study circulation and sediment dynamics in the Columbia River estuary. Jesse also has extensive experience teaching Mathematics and Computer Science from middle school, as a member of AmeriCorps, to upper-level undergraduate courses. Away from his laptop, Jesse enjoys listening to records and drinking tea with his orange cat.

October 25, 2016

Using Ocean Technology to Capture Hurricane Matthew in Real Time

As Matthew moved from the Bahamas to the Carolinas, ocean observing technology – such as buoys - captured waves over 20 feet and wind speed of over 50 knots along its’ path. Buoys, coastal stations, forecast models and other ocean technology transmit data – such as wind speed and wave height – in near real time to data servers and portals. Near real time data is used by weather forecasters and Emergency Response Managers to confirm what the models are predicting and report the true conditions. It helps them accurately decide the best way to respond to dangerous situations.

The Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing System (SECOORA) Data Portal, developed in partnership with Axiom Data Science, allows visualization of data from multiple sources in near real-time. To view the Hurricane Matthew track as measured by wave and ocean buoys, and for the full article click here.

October 25, 2016

Dynamic Reusable Workflows for Ocean Science

In a recent Journal of Marine Science and Engineering publication, co-authors from U.S Geological Survey, Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association, and Axiom Data Science describe a workflow that automates the skill assessment of water temperature forecasts from multiple ocean forecast models, allowing improved forecast products to be delivered. These workflows are designed to adapt as new data enter the data system, facilitate reproducible science, provide templates from which new scientific workflows can be developed, and encourage data providers to use standardized services. The full article can be accessed here.

October 24, 2016

Axiom Attends EVOS Annual Meetings in Cordova, Alaska!

AOOS and Axiom Data Science are partnered in two five-year monitoring grants by the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council to provide data management services for long-term research and monitoring in the region of the Gulf of Alaska affected by the 1989 oil spill. These long-term programs are the Herring Research and Monitoring Program and the Long Term Monitoring Program, also known as GulfWatch Alaska.

Axiom, AOOS, and program researchers recently attended the annual meeting held in Cordova, Alaska, which was hosted by the Prince William Sound Science Center. Key findings from the 5-year research and monitoring efforts were shared, with a focus towards ecosystem-level synthesis of scientific results. Time was also spent planning and coordinating the upcoming 5-year activities. The meeting culminated in an outreach event to spill-area community members to encourage their understanding about the state of the marine environment and injured natural resources.

Axiom would like to extend our gratitude to the Prince William Sound Science Center for such a fine welcome to Cordova. We look forward to our next 5 years supporting these programs!

October 5, 2016

Axiom Welcomes IOOS Directors to Alaska!

Last week the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®) held their fall meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, hosted by the Alaska Ocean Observing System. The meetings brought together directors from the IOOS Association, the IOOS Program Office, the 11 IOOS Regional Associations, and various NOAA offices. Discussions were focused on multiple facets of a national ocean data strategy, including future priorities, data gaps, and how to expand ocean observation capabilities. We were excited to participate in the meeting and had the opportunity to host an afternoon session in our office where we demoed some of our latest developments, including national products for the IOOS Program Office, interactive 4D ocean visualizations, and reproducible Jupyter Notebooks in a collaborative, computational workspace. The meeting culminated in an Axiom-IOOS ping pong match on the conference table. We won’t say who won; only that there is more in Axiom’s future than fine-tuning ocean data.

Thanks to the entire IOOS team for visiting us in Alaska. We look forward to many more prosperous years together!

September 16, 2016

Harmful Algal Bloom Information System to Aid Kachemak Bay Recreational Harvesters in Avoiding Shellfish Poisoning

Axiom Data Science, in partnership with the Alaska Ocean Observing System and the NOAA/NCCOS Kasitsna Bay Laboratory, are pleased to announce the release of the new Harmful Algal Bloom Information System for Kachemak Bay.

Harmful algal blooms (HAB) have long been a threat in some coastal Alaskan communities. As ocean temperatures rise over the next few decades, HABs are expected to occur more frequently. While the State of Alaska regularly tests commercial shellfish toxins, recreational and subsistence shellfish are not tested. Access to information about environmental conditions influencing HABs is important for making informed choices about shellfish consumption to reduce the risk of shellfish poisoning.

This Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Information System provides information on current water temperatures in Kachemak Bay and how these temperatures may affect the development of HABs and resulting shellfish toxicity. HABs are large increases in the amounts of toxic species of marine algae, also known as phytoplankton, that can cause human illnesses such paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP). PSP events can cause illness in people, primarily from eating shellfish that filter phytoplankton for food and may concentrate toxins in amounts dangerous to both people and marine mammals.

This HAB Information System provides information to help in making decisions about whether or not to recreationally harvest shellfish. It is NOT a direct measure of current shellfish toxicity. It is ALWAYS recommended to check advisories from the Alaska Departments of Health and Social Services (ADHSS) and Environmental Conservation (ADEC) before harvesting shellfish.

Access the tool HERE.

September 12, 2016

NPRB Launches Project Search and Database Tool for over $71m in Funded Research

Axiom Data Science has partnered with the North Pacific Research Board to launch a tool that allows access to information from over 638 annual research projects (totalling $71 million in funded research). The Project Search & Database tool is a newly designed feature to provide scientific information about NPRB funded projects in the Core Program. Users have the ability to search data by keyword, by all available data, or by filtering data by Large Marine Ecosystem or research theme. Every project NPRB has funded through the Core Program since 2002 has been uploaded to this database. The tool will continue to be expanded upon in this platform to offer more content for both general users and important stakeholders.

Check out the new tool on the NPRB website here.

August 1, 2016

Pajama Jammy Jam 2016

Axiom held its third-annual Pajama Jammy Jam staff retreat in Granite Point Mountain Lodge, on Resurrection Bay, outside of Seward, AK. We planned this yearly retreat as an opportunity to unwind and socialize with team members who work remotely in Rhode Island, California, Oregon, and Montana, while discussing our projects and priorities for the coming year. Despite the (almost) non-stop rain, we explored the coastline in kayaks, caught rockfish, leveled up our after-dinner party game skills, and set the agenda for the planning discussions later in the week.

August 1, 2016

Introducing Ian Gill as Axiom’s Metadata Technician

We are pleased to introduce Ian Gill as the new metadata technician at Axiom Data Science. Ian joined the team August 1 to focus initially on metadata services for NPRB annual projects. Ian has over 10 years of field experience and has most recently worked at Alaska Department of Fish and Game as the statewide editor for scientific and technical fisheries reports, where he coordinated reporting standards among dozens of biologists all over the state and curated a report archive that goes back almost 30 years. Additionally, Ian has spent many years working as a field biologist studying bear foraging behavior at the Anan Creek Wildlife Observatory and the McNeil River State Game Sanctuary. With his extensive science editing experience coupled with a research background, we believe Ian will make a strong addition to the Axiom-NPRB data management team. When not in the office, Ian, who is both an accomplished napper and a coffee snob, can usually be found writing haikus, hitting contested three-pointers at the buzzer, or reading Tumble Bumble to his daughter (again). Welcome to Axiom, Ian!

June 6, 2016

Arctic Integrated Ecological Research Program

We’ve been awarded a contract from the NPRB to provide data management support and services for the Arctic Integrated Ecosystem Research Program (IERP). The Arctic IERP is a multi-component, five year effort designed to study the northern Bering and southern Chukchi Seas to better understand the relationships between physical ocean and environmental drivers (e.g. …) and the structure and function of the biological components of the ecosystem, including human access to subsistence resources. This is a huge effort, with $7.75M in funding from the NPRB, BOEM, and the Collaborative Alaskan Arctic Studies Program (CAASP)1, and an additional $7.25M in in-kind support from other agencies.

The specific data management needs of such a program are many, but all are directed towards the goals of making the data broadly understandable, available, and ensuring it is preserved for future reuse. Our approach is split between data management support and the enhancement of some existing technologies. Data management personnel will provide assistance in creating data management plans; provide guidance and best practices on data formatting and metadata quality; and maintain data and metadata inventories and status reports. Some of the technologies we’ll leverage include:

  • the Research Workspace - a private application for organizing data, sharing it across the AIERP team, and documenting it with standards compliant metadata;
  • the AOOS data system - a robust, secure create system for ingesting heterogeneous datasets and creating intuitive, interactive map-based visualizations;
  • Axiom’s HPC resources - high performance and availability compute and storage resources replicated on the east and west coasts;

Look for updates about AIERP data availability and follow program wide progress here.

1 formerly the North Slope Borough/Shell Baseline Studies Program

June 1, 2016

Release of the New IOOS Environmental Sensor Map

Axiom helped publicly launch the new IOOS Environmental Sensor Map. This map integrates regional, national, and global real-time data across the IOOS enterprise. Data from observing systems operated by IOOS Regions and local data providers within these regional footprints can be directly accessed through the map. Overall, the map connects to over 31,000 stations providing the latest information on oceanographic and meteorological conditions. There are 71 unique parameters consolidated from over 115 national sensor that report more than 53 million observations weekly! Additional features included in the map are:

  • Individual stations are clustered in hexagonal bins to reduce clutter when zoomed out, and summary information is provided;
  • Individual stations and sensors can be selected when zoomed in;
  • Click to see the past week’s worth of data, and options for downloading recent data and finding source information;
  • Dynamic graphs provide overview statistics for individual sensors or regions;
  • Choose your base layer;
  • Toggle between metric and English units.

May 25, 2016

New! Biodiversity Indices in the Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) Portal

The Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) is composed of regional networks of scientists, resource managers, and end-users working to integrate data from existing long-term programs to improve our understanding of changes and connections between marine biodiversity and ecosystem functions. In the United States, MBON projects have been established in the Chukchi Sea (Alaska), Santa Barbara Channel (California), and the National Marine Sanctuaries in Monterey Bay (California) and the Florida Keys (Florida).

This portal provides real-time, delayed-mode, and historical data for in situ and remotely-sensed physical, chemical and biological observations. Additionally, the portal now features a Biodiversity Index visualization tool on species catch surveys. The available indices vary from simple richness (the number of distinct species), to more computationally advanced Shannon-Wiener diversity and Pielou’s evenness.

Biodiversity can be explored per-sample or per-region, with the regions as either automatically generated hexagons or user-defined polygons. Alpha indices are calculated from the average of the sampling events within the selected area. Gamma indices combine all samples within the selected area and treats them as though they were collected as a single sample. Beta indices are the ratio of gamma/alpha indices. The diversity measurement can also be refined by selecting other filters, including taxonomy. For example, you can visualize the diversity of all samples containing a selected common name, or taxonomic rank, e.g., all samples within the order Perciformes.

Beyond the biodiversity feature, the portal provides visual access to:

  • Biodiversity observations of organisms from microbes to whales, including presence, abundance, productivity, genomic, phenology, and other relevant ecological process measurements or indices;
  • Habitat characterization and habitat diversity measures, including satellite data and added-value data derived from satellite observations, and neural network model results, such as biogeographical seascape classifications.

Visit the MBON portal to check it out: http://mbon.ioos.us/

May 23, 2016

Axiom hires Senior Software Engineer Jessica Austin

We are pleased to announce the addition of a new Senior Software Engineer to the Axiom team - welcome aboard Jessica Austin! Jessica has a background in math, physics, mechanical engineering, and control systems from Caltech and Carnegie Mellon where she worked on robotics. She was also a software developer and development/operations engineer at ThoughtWorks and GrubHub. At Axiom, she’s helping us reinvent how our backend systems store, serve, and monitor our big data holdings. This will help harden our software infrastructure to make it more scalable and reliable, and ultimately increase the speed of data access through our clients’ web-based tools.

May 4, 2016

Axiom Partners with AOOS to Launch the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Ecosystem Portal

Government agencies and the public can now find information on the endangered population of Cook Inlet beluga whales on an easy-to-use public data portal through the Alaska Ocean Observing System’s website at AOOS.org. Extensive data on beluga whale sightings and environmental conditions in Cook Inlet has been collected over the past decade, but most of it is not easily found or used by both the public and agency experts. The new Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Ecosystem Portal is intended to correct that by integrating and visualizing beluga whale sighting data with other biological, physical, and socio-economic data in the Cook Inlet region. The portal is freely accessible and aims to improve the management and public awareness of Cook Inlet beluga whales.

AOOS has developed the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Ecosystem Portal in cooperation with NOAA, the agency that manages beluga whales, the Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council (CIRCAC), and Axiom Data Science to provide a tool for ecosystem-based management of the Cook Inlet region. The portal was funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, with additional support from CIRCAC.

This portal is intended to help with several planning efforts including:

  • Alaska’s Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plan
  • National Fish Habitat Action Plan
  • Strategic Plans Prepared by Alaska-based Fish Habitat Partnerships
  • Landscape Conservation Cooperatives
  • Alaska Coastal Impact Assistance Program
  • Alaska Sustainable Salmon Fund
  • Partners for Fish and Wildlife Strategic Plans
  • US Fish & Wildlife Service Priority Species Plans

“Having all the pertinent data for managers, the public, local and regional governments, and industry in one accessible location would be of great use to all of us in our future planning and decision-making.” - Port of Anchorage Director Stephen Ribuffo

“A tool that specifically improves access to information related to the endangered Cook Inlet beluga whales will aid in targeting and filling data gaps and will aid in future research and policy decisions.” - CIRCAC Executive Director Michael Munger

“The proposed ecosystem portal will include information not only about the sightings of beluga whales, but will integrate information about natural (e.g., environmental, predator, and prey data) and anthropogenic (e.g., current and proposed development projects) stressors.” - Former NOAA Assistant Regional Administrator for Protected Resources, Jonathan M. Kurland

Photos: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0Bw8AO00ezFjGWElzLU9mWW54NGc https://drive.google.com/open?id=0Bw8AO00ezFjGNDFQd3UyT0pqYUE

April 22, 2016 - Axiom In the News! Rob Bochenek, the CEO and founder of Axiom, was interviewed this April in an evening news feature. To see Rob talk briefly about our history and mission, check out the interview at youralaskalink.com.

Remember, all of the data and maps shown in the video are available in the AOOS Ocean Data Explorer.

April 22, 2016

Axiom In the News!

Rob Bochenek, the CEO and founder of Axiom, was interviewed this April in an evening news feature. To see Rob talk briefly about our history and mission, check out the interview at youralaskalink.com.

Remember, all of the data and maps shown in the video are available in the AOOS Ocean Data Explorer.

March 26, 2016

Axiom Staff, Ross Martin, is the 1st Oculus Rift Customer

Axiom staff member, Ross Martin, was featured in the news as the first customer of the retail virtual reality headset, the Oculus Rift. Ross received the first publicly-distributed Rift from Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus, who delivered the headset in person to the Axiom office while live-streaming the video on Facebook. Congratulations, Ross! Read the full article here.

March 4, 2016

Fire Island Robotics Team Impresses Axiom!

The Fire Island Robotics Team paid a visit to Axiom headquarters in Anchorage, Alaska, to demonstrate their technical expertise and learn about engineering career choices. Axiom staff were very impressed with the robotic teams’ efforts and enjoyed the opportunity to engage with young, bright minds.

January 21, 2016

From Microbes to Whales, Axiom Provides Data Support for the Arctic Marine Biodiversity Observing Network (AMBON)

Axiom Data Science and the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS) are pleased to partner with the new Arctic Marine Biodiversity Observing Network (AMBON) to provide data management support. The goal of AMBON is to demonstrate and build an operational marine biodiversity observing network from microbes to whales. The AMBON field region is located on the Chukchi Sea continental shelf in the US Arctic as a region exposed to climatic changes and anthropogenic influences. AMBON is a 5‐year research partnership (2015‐2020) between university and federal investigators, and integrates with Axiom and AOOS as the central data node to provide a publicly accessible and user‐ friendly database. Through this partnership, AMBON biodiversity data will be made available to a broad audience of users and stakeholders, from local to pan‐Arctic to global. Data management through Axiom/AOOS is an AMBON key component, providing essential compatible linkages to past and present programs and open data accessibility. Data are stored in the Research Workspace and will be made publicly available through the AOOS data portal and archived in national data repositories. Visit the AMBON website for the latest in their Arctic research.

AMBON is funded through the National Ocean Partnership Program, with contributions from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management (BOEM), and Shell Exploration and Production Company.


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