Research Tools

IDIA faculty integrate and develop cutting-edge tools that promote research and innovation across use cases and sectors.


The Cropland Data Layer (CDL), hosted on CropScape, provides a raster, geo-referenced, crop-specific land cover map for the continental United States. The CDL also includes a crop mask layer and planting frequency layers, as well as boundary, water and road layers. The Boundary Layer options provided are County, Agricultural Statistics Districts (ASD), State, and Region. The data is created annually using moderate resolution satellite imagery and extensive agricultural ground truth.

Users can select a geographic area of interest or import one, then access acreage statistics for a specific year or view the change from one year to another. The data can be exported or added to the CDL. The information is useful for issues related to agricultural sustainability, biodiversity, and land cover monitoring, especially due to extreme weather events.

George Mason University Libraries’ Digital Scholarship Center (DiSC) supports the interdisciplinary teaching and learning needs of digital scholarship for students, staff and faculty by providing digital research support in the areas of creating, finding, and using data, data management, curation, and archiving, geographical information systems (GIS), digital scholarship (humanities, social sciences, and sciences), digital projects planning and management, and related scholarly communication issues.

George Mason University Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) is the unit within the University Libraries charged with acquiring, documenting, preserving, and providing access to primary research collections and documents. SCRC also manages the non-current and archival records of George Mason University, is responsible for the preservation and access to the University’s theses and dissertations, and undertakes, through its Oral History program, the creation of audiovisual documentary resources. SCRC services, collections and programs support the teaching and research activities of George Mason University and also serve the community at large.

Documents in SCRC are authentic, original, often unique, valuable, fragile, or otherwise exceptional. Some have the capacity to evoke the past, and embody the transmittal of knowledge over time. Others simply function as the only record of an individual or corporate life. SCRC preserves the materiality of information as it has been recorded and distributed in its original format. SCRC also adds value to its holdings through selective digitization and through interpretive exhibits, instruction, and programming.

iFLOOD is a scientific experiment and educational tool to incorporate multi-scale and multi-temporal physical process for integrated total water predictions, including large scale oceanic process, estuarine hydrodynamics, riverine flows, urban runoff, and nearshore waves. It provides real time and future flooding forecasts based on a multi-model framework for the Chesapeake Bay and the National Capital Region.

MASON is a fast discrete-event multiagent simulation library core in Java, designed to be the foundation for large custom-purpose Java simulations, and also to provide more than enough functionality for many lightweight simulation needs. MASON contains both a model library and an optional suite of visualization tools in 2D and 3D.

NeuroMorpho.Org is a centrally curated inventory of digitally reconstructed neurons associated with peer-reviewed publications. It contains contributions from over 500 laboratories worldwide and is continuously updated as new morphological reconstructions are collected, published, and shared. To date, NeuroMorpho.Org is the largest collection of publicly accessible 3D neuronal reconstructions and associated metadata.

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media creates websites and open-source digital tools to preserve and present the past, transform scholarship across the humanities, advance history education and historical understanding, and encourage popular participation in the practice of history. In twenty-plus years of award-winning work, RRCHNM has developed more than sixty projects, including online resources for teachers; online collections, exhibits and collecting sites; open-source software; and forums to develop knowledge and build community among those in the humanities working with digital technology.

VegScape delivers interactive vegetation indices so that web users can explore, visualize, query, and disseminate current vegetative cover maps and data without the need for specialized expertise, software, or high-end computers. New satellite-based data are loaded on a weekly basis during the growing season. One can compare year-to-year change since the year 2000, compare conditions at a given times to mean, median and ratio vegetative cover, and can overlay a crop mask to help identify crop land versus non-crop land, among many functions. Vegetation indices, such as the NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index), and mean, median, and ratio comparisons to prior years have proven useful for assessing crop condition and identifying the land area impacted by floods, drought, major weather anomalies, and vulnerabilities of early/late season crops. The National Aeronautics Space Administration’s MODIS satellite is used for this project and provides imaging at 250 meter (15 acres) per pixel resolution. Additionally, the data can be directly exported to Google Earth for mashups or delivered to other applications via web services.