UREx SRN Data Policies and Procedures

We manage data in a two pronged approach that includes a frontend UREx Data Portal website (data.urexsrn.net) with detailed information about each dataset and search functionality, and a backend server for storage, basic analytics, basic visualizations, and sharing. Detailed information about creating a data webpage (including metadata reporting requirements), and uploading data to and using eRAMS is found in the subsequent sections.

A general Data Management Protocol for UREx SRN is available here.

Advanced data visualization science efforts are managed separately by Prof. Timon McPhearson and Prof. Daniel Sauter at urex.urbansystemslab.com.

eRAMS is a data storage, management, analytics, and visualization platform that UREx uses for permanent archiving and distribution of network products. The platform was developed by Prof. Mazdak Arabi (UWIN SRN lead) at Colorado State University Fort Collins with National Science Foundation support. It supports sharing of data to third parties. Any data format can be uploaded to eRAMS but only certain data formats can be used for in-platform analytics and visualizations. eRAMS has standard datasets (e.g., Census and USGS layers) already loaded that can be accessed and analyzed with your own data.

To use eRAMS you should first create an account and then request to join the UREx SRN group. The steps to do so are,

  1. Go to erams.com and click the ‘Sign Up’ button to open an account if you yet to have an account in eRAMS.
  2. Login with your ID and Password.
  3. After logging in click groups.
  4. Click the Join Group Button.
  5. Type UREx SRN (name of our group) in the box and click find matches.
  6. Click the ‘Request to Join’ button and then click done.
  7. A request will go to the owner of the group (Dr. Mikhail Chester), and once he accepts the request, you will be in the group.

Uploading your data products for permanent archiving is a two part effort and significant efforts have been made to streamline this process and provide support to network members.

  1. First, upload your data to eRAMS into the appropriate folder location. City-specific products should be placed into the corresponding city folder. Products that span multiple cities or are not specific to any city should be placed into the corresponding Working Group or Task Force folder. The steps to upload data into specific folders are,
    1. Once you are inside UREx-SRN group, click “Documents” from menus on the left.
    2. After clicking “Documents”, you will notice available folders in our data repository. If any folder fits with your data, you can upload it there or you can create a new folder for your data. Any file can be uploaded into any relevant folder by clicking the “Add File” button. Make sure the name of the file does not contain any special characters (e.g. diacritical or accent) mark.

    Data can also be uploaded and visualized as a project in eRAMS. To upload data as a project,

    1. Go to your homepage on eRAMS by clicking the “Account” button.
    2. Click the “Create Project” button and then provide necessary information. Make sure to choose ‘UWIN Resources’ as your project type. If you want you can add layer from any existing project. Once you click on the project, a new window will open where you will find a panel on your left and another at the bottom. Both panels can be either open or close and you can open or close the panel by just clicking it.
    3. To add data, open the bottom panel and add the necessary information. After proving all information and uploading your data, click create at the bottom to add data to your project. The data can be geospatial, tabular or any other type. Note the location (URL) of your product in eRAMS.
  2. Second, request that a web page be created on the UREx Data Portal website. This webpage will describe your product in detail using a standard metadata profile that will be searchable on the website. Once the request has been made Dr. Nasir Ahmad (the Data Management postdoc) will be notified and will work with you to finalize/polish the webpage, and provide any additional support for eRAMS. The request form includes questions about security and the embargoing of the product.

Information about privacy, IRB, and embargoing issues related to products is discussed in the Data Security section.

Several scenarios have been discussed that may require special consideration and protections for data and products. These scenarios relate to concerns over privacy, our IRB protocol, and embargoing. We are developing several procedures to ensure that these concerns are addressed and we ask that you first make your request and describe your needs when you submit your webpage request form, and second notify us by email of your specific needs. Under no circumstance should data be uploaded to eRAMS that is of privacy concern or is in violation of our IRB protocol.

The UREx Data Portal website includes landing pages for major efforts including cities, Working Groups, and Task Forces. We need leads from each of these efforts to work with us to develop these landing pages. The basic request is to describe 1) an overview of the challenges that the city has or effort sought to address, 2) the work that was performed, and 3) the collective findings of the work (how the value is greater than the sum of the parts). We anticipate that text should be roughly two pages in length, and can be drafted with basic formatting (as a Google Doc or Word file) and sent to us for upload. The document should include links (as hyperlinks in the text or comments) to products. These products should be stored in eRAMS, so first upload the products to the appropriate eRAMS folder and then link to them in your draft writeup.

City pages will include a standard and consistent banner image. For Working Group and Task Force thematic web pages, we are happy to receive high resolution images with the appropriate reuse permissions (e.g., Creative Commons licensing) for inclusion.