Benefit Tool

Value tree assessment, which links observations to societal applications through intermediate processes.
US AON's Benefit Tool provides a systematic way to link observing system inputs, through intermediate products and applications, to the societal benefit areas they support. The line thickness conveys the relative importance of each underlying input to the product, application, or benefits. This diagram is explanatory only and shows only the relationship between the categories. It is not the result of a specific evaluation.  Photo credit: US AON.

Current Arctic observations yield valuable information and data that influence community resilience, global models and forecasts, national security decisions, and economic prosperity. However, observations are distributed across a complex suite of networks and are often constrained by a lack of long-term funding, infrastructure, capacity building, and coordination. No single agency or country can fulfill the needs and requirements of this rapidly changing region.1

Rather, in order to make strategic improvements to the Arctic observing system and support broadly shared benefits, decision-makers require a comprehensive evidence base that systematically identifies gaps and opportunities for optimized investment.

These analyses must recognize the interconnected nature of Arctic observations and their connection to delivering public value across a diverse range of decision-makers.

US AON's Benefit tool allows scientists and communities to illustrate the Value of observing and data systems and illuminate critical gaps.

Through expert elicitation, US AON's Benefit Tool systematically links observational inputs (i.e. satellite data or in situ measurements) to the value-added data product and application outputs that they support, weighting the relative impact of each input. The desired outcomes are specified by a benefit framework.

While each individual evaluation is more narrowly focused, a growing library of visualizations can begin to show cross-functional and cross-discipline observing system strengths and gaps. The resulting diagram creates a compelling visual representation of the observing system. US AON is currently developing an open-source, web-based Benefits Tools.

Applying the Benefit Tool

US AON organizes specific gaps evaluation case studies, with the support of a Federal agency or non-Federal US AON partner. Current efforts are focused on applying the Benefit Tool to look at risks and hazards focused topics in the Alaskan Arctic. Pursing a case study requires facilitation (provided by US AON Executive Director and Program Analyst), scoping and advising (from champions recruited from agencies and partners), and analysis (by subject matter experts recruited from agencies and partners). Non-federal champions and experts may be eligible for compensation for their efforts. For more information, reach out to our team.


1 See US AON Report to Congress

The Benefit Tool can help answer:

  • Within a specific topic or application, which observations are most relied upon?
  • How well are observational inputs, value-added data product, and application outputs performing?
  • How do observations link, through data products and applications, to specific benefits to society?
  • Where is the observing system limited or vulnerable?
  • What would an ideal Arctic observing system look like?