The AuScope Geoscience DEVL: a multipurpose Virtual Research Environment that caters for multiple use cases, a range of scales and diverse skill sets

Dr Lesley Wyborn1, Ryan  Fraser2, Dr Tim Rawling3, Dr Carsten Friedrich4, Dr Ben Evans1

1National Computational Infrastructure, Action, Australia,

2CSIRO Mineral Resources, Kensington, Australia,

3AuScope, Melboune, Australia,

4Data 61, Canberra, Australia


For over a decade, AuScope has been delivering physical, software and data research infrastructure to the Australian Solid Earth research community across the geophysics, geochemistry and geodesy domains.  Initially, access to data ‘libraries’ and software tools was provided through websites and portals. In 2010, an experimental Virtual Geophysics Laboratory (VGL) was created to provide integrated access to both data and software to enable researchers to achieve ‘online’ workflows that facilitated processing, lowered the barriers to entry and increased uptake of these resources.

Demands soon followed for specific laboratories to be built for geohazards,  geochemistry, mineral exploration and more: succeeding virtual laboratories were built using the generic Portal Core and VL Core software. However, finding the ‘sweet spot’ that resulted in maximum usage for a given amount of effort, proved difficult. For example, some users were wanting more effort to be put into user interfaces, whilst others were wanting specific, more complex processing workflows to be added.

To better coordinate the existing Australian Solid Earth Geoscience eResearch infrastructures the AuScope Virtual Research Environment (AVRE) is now being created to enable users with varying skills to specifically target their needs and access a range of online data and software resources to either create their own workflows in their own environment or utilise pre-existing workflows on a variety of computational infrastructures.

Funding from the Australian National Data Service (ANDS), National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources (NECTAR) and Research Data Services (RDS) will be utilised with co-contributions from AuScope to develop this new platform.


Lesley Wyborn is an Adjunct Fellow at both the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) Facility and the Research School of Earth Sciences at the Australian National University (ANU). She had over 40 years’ experience in scientific research and in transparent management of geoscientific data in Geoscience Australia. Her scientific research interests are in Mineral Systems analysis and in granite geochemistry whilst her current informatics interests are on global integration of transdisciplinary data sets, enabling in situ analytics in virtual research environments, and in generating High Performance Data sets.  She is currently Chair of the Australian Academy of Science ‘Data for Science Committee’ and is on the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Data Management Board. In 2014 she was awarded the Australian Government Public Service Medal for her long-term contributions to the management of Australian Public Sector Geoscience Data and in 2015, the Geological Society of America Career Achievement Award in Geoinformatics.


AeRO is the industry association focused on eResearch in Australasia. We play a critical coordination role for our members, who are actively transforming research via Information Technology. Organisations join AeRO to advance their own capabilities and services, to collaborate and to network with peers. AeRO believes researchers and the sector significantly benefit from greater communication, coordination and sharing among the increasingly different and evolving service providers.

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