Carey E. Noll - Knows Every Half Inch of the Planet
Computer Scientist Carey Noll archives data from high-precision Global Positioning Systems that are used to pinpoint locations all over the world to within less than half an inch.
Carey E. Noll
Manager of the Crustal Dynamics Data Information System (CDDIS)
Formal Job Classification:
Organization She Works For:
Code 690.1, Solar System Exploration Data Services Office, Solar System Exploration Division
What do you do and what is most interesting about your role here at Goddard? How do you help support Goddard’s mission?
I am the manager of the Crustal Dynamics Data Information System (CDDIS), which is NASA’s archive of space geodesy data and derived products. Space geodesy means taking measurements of Earth’s size, shape, rotation, and gravity field using objects in space. Crustal dynamics refers to studying the movements of the plates that make up the Earth’s crust. Every morning I check the status of the archive and answer user questions. Although our files are relatively small, we have an enormous amount of them. I have to be extremely organized to do my job.
One of our coolest tools is our network of geodetic GPS systems. The GPS in your car is accurate to within a few tens of yards. Our high-precision geodetic GPS systems can determine a location to within less than half an inch. The data coming out of these high-precision geodetic GPS are exactly the kind of data we archive in the CDDIS.
I meet daily with my staff. I also interact with numerous international partners including scientists from Germany, France, England, Italy, Russia, Japan, Canada, South Africa, and others too numerous to name.
What is the best thing that ever happened to you at Goddard?
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Carey Noll poses in from of the laser ranging facility at Goddard. Credit: NASA
After 31 years working at Goddard in this field, one of the greatest things is that my colleagues have become a second family to me. But the best thing that ever happened to me at Goddard is that I met my husband here.
What makes Goddard a great place to work?
I like the collegiate atmosphere among my colleagues. I also appreciate the flexibility that accommodates family life. Most of all, I enjoy the people here at Goddard.
Computer scientist Carey Noll talks about her job as manager of the Crustal Dynamics Data Information System (CDDIS), the applications of her work for various space geodesy techniques such as GPS, and her career at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Credit: NASA
What lessons or words of wisdom would you pass along to somebody just starting their career at Goddard?
Pick a field you love and stick with it. The opportunities will open up to you!
Is there something surprising about you, your hobbies, interests, activities outside of work that people do not generally know?
I really enjoy working with my hands and have an artistic bent. My daughters and I love craft fairs and crafting. I only wish I had more time to play.
Do you have a favorite way or place to kick back, relax, or have fun?
I enjoy listening to music, especially alternative and rock music. My family and I often go to concerts together.
Is there someplace in the world that you want to visit or someplace you have been and want to go back?
We often travel as a family. We love the beach, whether it is the Outer Banks of North Carolina or islands in the Caribbean.
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Elizabeth M. Jarrell
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD