DataGURU is a brainchild of Veiko Lehsten, who is a current project leader and the main contact point. The earlier version of the site before 2014 was created by Zhendong Wu with scientific advice from Ali Mansourian and Lars Eklundh among others.
Today the climate data is often handed from one researcher to another without metadata such as original source and resolution, and eventual interpolation and gap filling methods, etc. This is especially problematic when datasets need to be updated and information on data generation is lost, because a researcher has left academia. Most researchers within BECC are experts in their fields rather than in interpolation techniques of climate data and hence the time spent, and mistakes made, in the generation of these datasets is not the focus but a side aspect of their research. Currently, there are several initiatives that aim to centralise hosting, distribution and publication of the data (e.g., ECDS).
What is missing, however, is a link between the raw datasets and the data required for a particular research application. DataGURU fills this gap by allowing anyone with a minimum amount of required knowledge to get the climate and environmental data that they need in the spatio-temporal extent, resolution and format that their application requires. This will promote inter-comparisons and synthesis work as a large number of datasets can be accessed in a similar format and after a similar post-processing.
The work is jointly advised by BECC and MERGE to assure that this application meets the needs of researchers involved in modelling of e.g. ecosystem services or vegetation, as well as researchers investigating population patterns with the aim to use one or another climate or environmental dataset as an explanatory variable. Though initially targeted to researchers within BECC, the aim of this project is to allow all researchers to extract climate, environmental and other spatial data for use within their research projects. This tool will hence allow fulfilling the requirements of Vetenskapsrådet as well as other research funding agencies for a data-storage and dissemination strategy.