The Unidata Program Center (UPC) worked with the Unidata Users Committee to organize triennial summer workshops on topics of interest to the Unidata community. The 2012 workshop theme, entitled 'navigating Earth system science data', was designed in part to address a two-pronged challenge. The challenge involve how could Unidata best serve the data needs of the education and the research communities. One key goal of the workshop was to raise the level of data awareness within the academic geoscience community. This goal was accomplished through a diverse set of presentations on software, data access/applications, visions of the future, and a student-led poster session. The workshop was jointly developed by the UPC and Unidata Users Committee, and its goals reflected Unidata's prime directives to provide and support the flow of real-time geoscience data and to facilitate the use of these data in geoscience education.