Semaphore is a tool for the (Semi-) automatic analysis of Australian ecosystem dynamics.
Ecosystems are in a constant state of change. They are complex dynamic systems that respond and adapt to extreme events and stimuli such as droughts, cold winters or human activity.
Understanding the dynamics of the ecosystem (how it responds to disturbance) can aid environmental management decision and policy making.
Scientists study ecosystem dynamics by monitoring change in carbon cycles and the flow of nutrients in soil and vegetation. They build models of how nutrients and energy flow in ecosystems, using empirical data that they can later use to simulate future changes and predict their effects.
Predictive modeling can be extremely labour-intensive however. Raw data needs preparation to be used as input in modeling software. Predicted results are then painstakingly compared to historical data to calibrate the software to local conditions.
Semaphore is an attempt to transform this manual activity into a semi- or fully-automated process. Automation reduces the possibility of human error when processing and analysing the data. It also helps provide provenance information to trace and validate predictions and model calibrations.