A limited number of ad hoc Application Working Groups will be formed with two goals. First, working groups will provide a forum for connecting members of the stakeholder community for specific applications focus areas with each other and with NISAR experts, who can advise on the utility of SAR within the scope of the observation plan for NISAR. Second, Working Groups are expected to provide feedback to NISAR regarding the utility of NISAR data for the stakeholder community’s stated objectives. As an example, a working group may define the need for a Level-3 or higher informational product, an algorithm for generation of such a product along with a prospective workflow to process NISAR data, prototype these on pre-NISAR surrogate data sets, and conduct post-launch calibration and validation activities for such a product. The Working Groups are intended to both coordinate such activities and to communicate both impediments and successes to the NISAR Project and to NASA.

The specific objective of an Applications Working Group is to facilitate progress towards the overarching goal to more fully realize the applications potential of NISAR data for a specific application or closely related group of applications that share a common purpose. Examples are near-surface soil moisture, infrastructure damage assessment, or surface freeze/thaw state. The exact activities of each group will be defined as each group is created, but may include:

  • Define needed information and stakeholder priorities by which to quantify value added

  • Establish and coordinate or lead projects that develop needed L3+ information products including calibration and validation of those products,

  • Provide feedback to the NISAR project and Science Team regarding data usability of L0-L2 products (e.g., data formats, projection) for integration into an L3 product production pipeline.

  • Demonstrate information product utility by publishing in the peer-reviewed literature the utility of SAR and quantifying value added

  • Advocate, on the basis of success, for sustained support within collaborating agencies and organizations of further use of NISAR data

  • Take part in disaster response if the working group has interests and algorithms aligned with an ongoing event. Provide feedback to NISAR project and science teams on identified roadblocks and their potential solutions with respect to disaster response.

Working Group Lifecycle

  1. NISAR Applications Team take workshop findings and translate them into working groups, filling out a straw man for the template and updating the google form

  2. NISAR Applications Team send out a form to Application Area Workshop participants (who can forward to others). People self-select Working Groups that align with their organization mandates (i.e., their work aligns with Working Groups objectives).

  3. NISAR Applications Team organize a kick-off meeting with those volunteered members where we converge on deliverables, timelines, roles, and cadence of meetings. Deliverables can include trade study, report, product (software or L3+ data product), education module, etc.

  4. NISAR Applications Team organize Working Group meetings and moderate the NISAR Early Engager slack channel.

  5. When all deliverables have been met, the Working Group will adjourn. If a Working Groups discovers a new topic that needs community input, a new Working Groups would be initiated and the process would repeat. It is worth noting that this is how the community suggests working groups.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are Working Groups officially associated with NISAR?

    Yes, Working Groups are a mechanism for NISAR to engage with the community and accomplish tasks for increasing NISAR data utility.

  • Is there a formal mechanism for interaction and communication within a Working Groups?

    The Working Groups are a mechanism for NISAR and the community to accomplish needed tasks for increasing NISAR data utility. We use slack and telecons as a means for the community to engage with each other specifically about NISAR.

  • Would members be responsible for their own funding?

    Working Groups members would be self-funded as their work should align with their current agency mandate.

  • If I’m already doing the work, why bother joining the Working Groups?

    Because it creates a direct feedback to the mission, which could help you down the road in using NISAR data.

  • Who would determine Working Groups deliverables and timelines?

    People will self-select to join a Working Groups via a form provided to invited participants. In the kick-off meeting, we will define the deliverables and timelines based on who is doing what for their organization and what they need from the mission and the broader community. For example, a task for a Biomass Working Group could be a trade study on uncertainty reporting and a deliverable a formal finding about how to quantify and report uncertainties the NISAR Level 3 product. A person working with US Forest Service Forest Inventory Analysis (FIA) would already think about uncertainty standards and how they are reported, thus engaging in the conversation about biomass uncertainty reporting with NISAR in more depth would naturally align with FIA mandate and enable FIA participation in the Working Groups.

  • Why doesn’t NISAR work directly with a single agency?

    NISAR offers global coverage and is concerned with what works for most, not a single agency, hence the need for a Working Groups.

  • Who can propose a Working Groups?

    Deputy Program Application Leads (DPAs) coordinate Working Groups with the Project and NASA Program Office. DPAs are responsible for filling in a Working Groups proposal. Working Groups objectives stem either directly from Applications Area specific workshops or previous Working Groups that identified new topics for advancing utility of NISAR data.