The existing data within the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost (GTN-P) was far from being homogeneous: it was not yet optimized for databases, there was no framework for data reporting or archival and data documentation is incomplete. As a result, and despite the utmost relevance of permafrost in the Earth's climate system, the data has not been used by as many researchers as intended by the initiators of the programs. While the monitoring of many other Essential Climate Variables (ECV) has been tackled by organized international networks (e.g. FLUXNET), there was no central database for all permafrost-related parameters for a long time. The European Union project PAGE21 created opportunities to develop this central database for permafrost monitoring parameters of GTN-P during the duration of the project and beyond.
The GTN-P database is the one location where the researcher can ﬁnd data, metadata, and information of all relevant parameters for a specific site. Our system aims to be a reference model, improvable and reusable. Another objective is an easy-to-use online interface for data upload which allows data input with a minimum of technical and personal effort in order to engage the international community in GTN-P.
The general framework of the GTN-P data management system is based on an object oriented model (OOM), open for as many parameters as possible, and implemented into a spatial database. To ensure interoperability and enable potential inter-database search, field names are following international metadata standards and are based on a controlled vocabulary registry. Tools are developed to provide data processing, analysis capability, and quality control. It allows a maximum top-down and bottom-up data flow, giving scientists one global searchable data and metadata repository, the public a full access to scientiﬁc data, and the policy maker a powerful cartographic and statistical tool. able to query, visualize and retrieve information over many platforms and type of measurements. Ultimately, it is not the layer in itself that matter, but more the relationship that these information layers maintain with each other.
Key title: GTN-P database