Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Computer Science

First Advisor

Kenneth M Anderson

Second Advisor

Eric A Kihn

Third Advisor

Clarence S Ellis


The Space Physics Interactive Data Resource (SPIDR) is a web-based interactive tool developed by NOAA’s National Geophysical Data Center to provide access to historical space physics datasets. These data sets are widely used by physicists for space weather modeling and predictions. Built on a distributed network of databases and application servers, SPIDR offers services in two ways: via a web page interface and via a web service interface. SPIDR exposes several SOAP-based web services that client applications implement to connect to a number of data sources for data download and processing. At present, the usage of the web services has been difficult, adding unnecessary complexity to client applications and inconvenience to the scientists who want to use these datasets. The purpose of this study focuses on improving SPIDR’s web interface to better support data access, integration and display. This is accomplished in two ways: (1) examining the needs of scientists to better understand what web services they require to better access and process these datasets and (2) developing a client application to support SPIDR’s SOAP-based services using the Kepler scientific workflow system. To this end, we identified, designed and developed several web services for filtering the existing datasets and created several Kepler workflows to automate routine tasks associated with these datasets. These workflows are a part of the custom NGDC build of the Kepler tool. Scientists are already familiar with Kepler due to its extensive use in this domain. As a result, this approach provides them with tools that are less daunting than raw web services and ultimately more useful and customizable. We evaluated our work by interviewing various scientists who make use of SPIDR and having them use the developed Kepler workflows while recording their feedback and suggestions. Our work has improved SPIDR such that new web services are now available and scientists have access to a desktop-based direct manipulation tool that provides them with improved support for data access and visualization.