Software Reuse Within the Earth Science Community
2006 IEEE International Symposium on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Scientific missions in the Earth sciences frequently require cost-effective, highly reliable, and easy-to-use software, which can be a challenge for software developers to provide. The NASA Earth Science Enterprise (ESE) spends a significant amount of resources developing software components and other software development artifacts that may also be of value if reused in other projects requiring similar functionality. In general, software reuse is often defined as utilizing existing software
... facts. Software reuse can improve productivity and quality while decreasing the cost of software development, as documented by case studies in the literature. Since large software systems are often the results of the integration of many smaller and sometimes reusable components, ensuring reusability of such software components becomes a necessity. Indeed, designing software components with reusability as a requirement can increase the software reuse potential within a communitysuch as the NASA ESE community. The NASA Earth Science Data Systems (ESDS) Software Reuse Working Group is chartered to oversee the development of a process that will maximize the reuse potential of existing software components while recommending strategies for maximizing the reusability potential of yet-to-be-designed components. As part of this work, two surveys of the Earth science community were conducted. The first was performed in 2004 and distributed among government employees and contractors. A follow-up survey was performed in 2005 and distributed among a wider community, to include members of industry and academia. The surveys were designed to collect information on subjects such as the current software reuse practices of Earth science software developers, why they choose to reuse software, and what perceived barriers prevent them from reusing software. In this paper, we compare the results of these surveys, summarize the observed trends, and discuss the findings. The results are very similar, with the second, larger survey confirming the basic results of the first, smaller survey. The results suggest that reuse of ESE software can drive down the cost and time of system development, increase flexibility and responsiveness of these systems to new technologies and requirements, and increase effective and accountable community participation. Software reuse; Earth science; SEEDS; NASA I.