Monday, May 17, 2010

Keep Current on Geoscience Issues!

The American Geological Institute publishes a series of data briefs and webinars, called Geoscience Currents, about geoscience workforce issues. The Geoscience Currents also represent data collaborations with other societies, employers, and professionals, and some of these publications are authored by members of the international geoscience community.

Recent Geoscience Currents topics include diversity in the geosciences (both occupations and degrees), updates on geoscience enrollments and degrees conferred in the U.S., mega-trends in the Australian mining industry, and geoscience salary and employment trends.

Geoscience Currents Discussion webinars provide a forum where members of the geoscience community can discuss the information on the most recent Geoscience Currents with the authors. Participation in these webinars is free.

Visit to get more information about AGI's Geoscience Currents data briefs and webinars.

Ph.D. Opportunities at China University of Geosciences-Beijing

China University of Geosciences (CUG-Beijing) is offering two full Ph.D. scholarships in the Earth Sciences. The scholarships include travel and other expenses. Applications will be granted to one student from an English speaking country and one from a developing country. The topic can be in sedimentology or a related field, and the supervisor will be Prof. Wang Chengshan (see his CV at

For more information about China University of Geosciences (CUG-Beijing), visit: Feel free to contact Wang Meng for any other information ( The application process is open until suitable candidates are found.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Contribute to the Global Geoscience Compendium

The YES Network is assisting the IUGS Global Workforce Taskforce in completing a global compendium on geoscience information (educational institutions, professional societies, employers). You can read more about the project at

We are asking all YES Network members to join the project, and provide their contributions to this valuable online resource. To provide your inputs to this project, review the information in each of the categories by using the menu under the banner image, and leave updated and or new information by completing the form at the top of each page.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at

AGU 2010 Meeting - Session Proposals Due on 27 May 2010

The 2010 AGU (American Geophysical Union) Fall Meeting will take place on 13–17 December 2010 in San Francisco, California, USA.

Session Proposals for are being accepted until 27 May 2010. There have been a lot of great ideas generated during EGU, and new project ideas that have been proposed over the past few months, plus many ideas still in the formative stages. Submitting a session proposal to AGU is a great way to get connected to other scientists who are working on similar issues, and also to build the presence of the YES Network at the AGU meeting. For more information about how to submit a session proposal, visit:

AGU provides Student Travel Grants for a limited number of students planning to attend annual and biannual AGU meetings. You can find more information about how to apply for these grants here:

Monday, May 10, 2010

The YES Network's OneGeology Initiative Roundtable Symposium

Thank you to EGU for advertising the OneGeology roundtable session in the EGU Today flier on Friday. For those of you who weren't at EGU, this flier was handed out each day, so that participants could see the interesting sessions that were taking place each day.

The YES Network's OneGeology Intiative roundtable symposium began with announcements by the YES Network President, Joanne Venus (who was presenting virtually from the field in Utah, USA). Jo presented the new YES Network logo and congratulated Tharindu Dissanayake for creating the design. She also conveyed comments from David Govoni and Luca Micucci (the past President and Executive Director of the YES Network) and introduced the new YES Network leadership team.

Following her comments, Eveline Speelman, organizer of the roundtable session,  provided a few logistical comments about the virtual roundtable session and then handed the virtual mic over to Ian Jackson, Chief of Operations for the British Geological Survey who was participating from the UK. Ian discussed the creation and organization of the OneGeology project and conveyed some essential insights as to what made the project strong. Namely, the project is: 1) task/goal focused, 2) organizationally light which makes it very nimble, 3) focused on outreach and communication activities to promote the project and its products, and 4) has a simple and straight-forward mission, to make the best available geological map data worldwide web-accessible. Ian also noted that the barriers faced by the OneGeology project were not scientific nor technical, but rather were of a social nature (e.g. personality  and cultural differences). In the end, Ian noted that the desire for OneGeology was to create a sustainable and stable project for the long-term.

Joanna Brayson next gave a detailed overview of the OneGeology project including its aims for the future and the challenges it has faced and overcome in obtaining data and making sure that the data are interoperable. The next stages of the OneGeology project include increasing the number of participants, especially from Africa and to increase the number of countries providing data and to increase the resolution of the data that is served. Joanna closed her talk by presenting some ideas for areas where the YES Network and OneGeology could collaborate on projects. These ideas were further discussed in the working group sessions.

Next, Lee Allison, who was connecting from the U.S., spoke about data integration in the U.S. and discussed the Geoscience Information Network (GIN) and the National Geothermal Data System (NGDS).GIN is a distributed web-based interoperable opensource network of geoscience information that uses a modular approach to build the network through adopting and linking existing capabilities. The network is being buitl at the Arizona Geological Survey, and has 80,000 + geological maps and between 2,000 - 3,000 databases. GIN was adopted as the data exchange mechanism for the NGDS. The NGDS, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, is a distributed network of databases that will collectively acquire, manage and maintain geothermal and related data across the U.S. Users of the NGDS will include federal and state agencies, researchers, decision makers, the general public, educational institutions, the geothermal industry, and financial institutions. The GIN and NGDS projects were selected by the Energistics consortium as prototypes for seamless data integration in the Energy Industry Metadata Standards Working Group. Lee discussed how GIN, NGDS, and the OneGeology initiatives are creating the foundations for a global digital data network of geoscience information. Lee closed with a fly-over of an intergrated geoscience data set in the U.S.

Jan Jellema  presented next about the virtual quarry model for mineral resources that has been developed for the Netherlands. Jan discussed the importance of carefully planned mineral resource extraction due to the competing land uses in the Netherlands and the limited amount of land. The virtual quarry model aids in resource extraction planning because it provides a high resolution (250x250x1 m up to 50 m depth) model of the entire subsurface of the Netherlands. As such, planners can examine compare the economic potential of quarrying vs. the loss of agricultural lands at any location within the country. Jan closed with a online demonstration of the virtual model.

Alexander Kronimus gave the next presentation about ThermoGis, an on-line GIS that provides the ability to quickly scan the Netherlands in order to find sites that would be economically viable for geothermal heat extraction. ThermoGIS is a flexible system that easily integrates new data sources, thereby providing users with up-to-date information. It also can be extended to other applications and, if data is available, to locations outside of the Netherlands. Alexander noted that this system is a complimentary asset to geothermal exploration activities, but that it is not a substitute for actual on-the-ground exploration activities.

Kristine Asch discussed the challenges with creating a common geological vocabulary across national and continental boundaries with the OneGeology intiative, with a specific focus on OneGeology-Europe. She discussed why having a standard for terms and definitions was essential to building continental and global geological maps, especially when integrating data from a plethora of sources. Such integration issues may arise when integrating data that has differing levels of detail (scale), projections, ages of the data sets, etc. Kristine also announced that the Explanation Notes OneGeology-Europe vocabulary has been completed, and is now being used as part of the global geological definitions and terms. This document will also be a foundation for INSPIRE. Kristine closed her talk by inviting all YES Network members to the IUGS-CGI GeoScience Language Workshop which will be held on 25-26 August 2010 in Berlin Mitte. Topics will include geoscience ontologies, vocabularies and terms at the national, continental, and global level. 

After a short coffee break, the roundtable participants divided into 2 working groups in the room and 1 virtual working group for virtual participants (see below) to discuss new applications and possible extension of the OneGeology initiative, and strategize ideas for collaboration between the YES Network and OneGeology.

In-person Working Group Sessions

Virtual Working Group Session

The roundtable symposium concluded with presentations by the working group convenors (Christopher Keane, Julia van Winden, and Leila Gonzales) who summarized the working group discussions. The working groups discussed potential new applications using OneGeology, including the development of other geological layers of the map, such as hydrological resources, and creating new 3D applications. Additionally, there was discussion of collaboration between the YES Network and OneGeology in order to create a GeoSciXML certification program in which YES members could participate on a periodic basis.

The roundtable presentations and working group discussions will be used to generate a roundtable synthesis report. As soon as the synthesis report has been completed and the webinar converted to a web-viewable video, they will be uploaded to the YES Network website.

YES Network Opportunities from AGI's Social Technologies to Jumpstart Geoscience Careers Poster.

The poster session Thursday evening was an exceptionally productive event for the YES Network. AGI's poster "Social Technologies to Jumpstart Geoscience Careers" poster outlined examples of effective use of Web2.0 technologies to connect with young and early-career geoscientists and provide them with forums and inforamtational resources about the geoscience profession. The poster highlighted AGI's GeoConnection resources as well as the YES Network.

Discussions pertaining to the AGI poster as well as other posters in the session (International Geoscience Informatics Partnerships, Projects, and Collaboration Technologies) revealed several resources that could be used in existing YES Network projects, and opportunities for the development of future resources. I'll highlight some of the key discussions and posters to get the brainstorming process going among YES Network members.

SpecBase: A Virtual Research Environment for Hyperspectral Remote Sensing - Jens Klump and Sören-Nils Haubrock.
Jens and I disucssed his Virtual Research Environment idea which is portable and uses different technologies to share data, provide input to a virtual lab notebook, and document creation and dissemination. Although the poster focused on remote sensing data, the concept could potentially be portable to other types of research questions and data sets. Given the globally distributed membership of the YES Network, this virtual research environment concept would be great to test and use in future YES Network projects.

Citizen Seismology: Involving the Citizens for Rapid Earthquake Assessment - Rémy Bossu, Sébastien Gilles, Gilles Mazet-Roux, Linus Kamb, and Laurent Frobert.
This is a very innovative project in which users can provide eyewitness data about earthquakes by logging into the CSEM-EMSC website to find out information about the earthquake they just felt and by providing information on a web-questionairre (which is available in 27 languages). This group is currently deploying and testing its new ShakeMapple application which captures ground movement via a motion sensor application that can be downloaded and installed in laptop computers. EMSC's earthquake website attracts approximatley 1 million visitors per month and the project has produced some innovative ways to map earthquake damage (such as recording the number of web-session closures when earthquakes hit an area). The project will be updating its website this summer and also will be developing a dedicate website for smartphones. I know the YES Network is developing a project regarding earthquake mitigation strategies, and this application may be a resource for those involved in this YES Network project. Also, a similar project in the US is the USGS's "Did You Feel It?" earthquake monitoring program. In related news, the European Seismological Commission 32nd General Assembly will be held 06-10 September 2010 in Montpelier, France. For more information, visit: http://www.esc2010.

GIRAF (Geoscience InfoRmation in AFrica) is a geoscience initiative whose aim is to support the building of a pan-African geoscience information knowledge network by sharing geoscience information knowledge and best practices across political boundaries. I spoke with Kristine Asch (who also gave a talk at the YES OneGeology roundtable session) and Colin Reeves about this project and other geospatial initiatives that they are working on in Africa. GIRAF aims to address the challenges in education, hazard mitigation, sustainable resource management, and climate change research and mitigation through the use of applied geosciences. YES Network's African National Chapters would be an asset to this project, and Kristine is very interested in discussing how GIRAF and the YES Network could collaborate on this project. Also, the second GIRAF Workshop will be organised in 2011 and take place at SEAMIC in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. To keep up to date on what's going on with GIRAF, you can check on their new blog.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Reflections on The Fruits of IYPE session at the EGU 2010 meeting

The International Year of Planet Earth (2007-2009) jumpstarted many projects to help promote the geosciences across a variety of scales (local to global). The session started with an overview of a sampling of projects that were created as a result of the IYPE. I was able to present the YES Network talk, “The YES Network: IYPE’s Motto ‘Earth Sciences for Society’ In Action” as the second talk of the program. The talk highlighted the formation of the YES Network and how it has grown since the YES Congress 2009 event. I also used the time to show the many achievements that the YES Network has accomplished over the past few months, and how we have met, and in many cases, exceeded our 2010 goals in our Development Plan. Finally, I finished the presentation by discussing where the YES Network is headed in the near future. Then, I asked all the YES Network members in the room to introduce themselves, and explain a little bit about themselves and how they are involved in the YES Network. Thank you again to all of the YES Network members who were able to participate in the talk this way. By sharing a little about yourself and how you are involved in the YES Network with the audience, you were able to show how dynamic and diverse and interdisciplinary the YES Network is.

After the YES talk, there were many other interesting talks about activities going on around the globe, and I’ll discuss the key points of each one here. I was inspired by the great accomplishments that have been made with these projects, not only in the amount of activities, but also in the way that these project were able to include not only students, but also policy-makers and governmental and private industries in promoting the geosciences within these countries.

Grazina Skridlaite, from the Institute of Geology and Geography in Lithuania discussed the range of earth science outreach activities (i.e. field trips, competitions, performances, seminars, visits by geoscientists, etc.) that are being implemented in secondary and high schools. Additionally, the Lithuanian National Committee for IYPE and Ministry of Education and Science of Lithuania proclaimed September 22nd (autumn equinox) as “Earth Day”, when students are within the first few weeks of the new school year. You can see the range of outreach activities here:, and read the abstract of her talk here.

Next, Wolfgang Eder discussed the concept of GeoHeritage and the GeoParks in his presentation. Given that many YES Network members are engaged in fieldwork activities, it would be a great idea to check to see if any of us are doing research in a GeoPark or GeoHeritage area. There is a new journal by Springer called “GeoHeritage” which is accepting publications about all aspects of geoheritage and its protection (identification, quantification and management of geoheritage sites, conservation, global change, geotourism, sustainable development, etc.) What a great way to combine both research and outreach activities by helping to geologically map these areas, develop conservation and outreach materials for these regions of the Earth, and publish your findings and recommendations in the GeoHeritage journal. (Read the abstract of this talk.)

In the next talk Eikichi Tsukuda discussed the IYPE activities of the Geological Society of Japan including the development of GeoParks in Japan, and the International Earth Science Olympiad (IESO), and the Japanese Earth Science Olympiad. The next IESO will be held in Italy in 2011, and the YES Network was encourage to participate in the competition, and spread the word about this event. (Read the abstract of this talk.)

László Szarka next discussed the many activities from the IYPE National Committee in Hungary. Of note are the “Earth Science Fair” at the Hungarian Natural History Museum in Budapest, the many publications produced (including the translations of the IYPE booklets), and the “Earth and Heaven – Geology and Theology” conference which was a rather successful conversation between scientists and theologians. Also, Hungary premiered the Planet Earth TV during the IAGA 11th Scientific Assembly (August 23-30, 2009, One very interesting point made in this talk was how many IYPE National Committees adopted the phrase “Earth Sciences for Humanity” rather than “Earth Sciences for Society”. It is a subtle point, but one worth noting. (Read the abstract of this talk.)

Werner Piller discussed the Via GeoAlpina project which created geoscience trail guides for various hiking and walking trails along the Alps which can be downloaded from the Via GeoAlpina website. The trail guides include information from a variety of earth science disciplines: geology, geophysics, paleontology, mineralogy, hydrogeology, pedology, climatology, and geomorphology. Follow-on activities suggested for this project include attracting local and regional authorities and financincg from private entrepreneurs and local administrations. Now, how many YES Network members like getting out and hiking and/or walking through nature? When I heard this talk, my first thought was "I wonder how many YES Network members are doing research along these trails or in areas where such trail maps could be created?" Would it be possible to get out and hike these trails, perhaps as a trail guide, and talk about not only the information in the guide, but also share your own unique research along different points of the hike? What a great opportunity! (Read the abstract of this talk.)

The session finished with a presentation by Luca Demicheli about the OneGeology and OneGeology-Europe projects (read the abstract of this talk.). The creation of this interoperable digital geological dataset is an impressive task to say the least, and the progress made with this project (113 countries, of which 40 are serving data) including the challenges associated with designing and implementing the project is amazing. OneGeology has a plethora of applications and ones in which YES Network members could get involved quite easily. This talk was a great segue into tomorrow's "OneGeology Initative" roundtable session. See you either at the session here at EGU or online! If you are participating as an online/virtual participant, remember to register for the session.

Share Your Experiences about Your YES Network Presentations at EGU

This is a call out to all the YES Network members here at EGU. I know we've talked in person about how your presentations went, and what you've seen at EGU this year. Let's share our learning with the rest of the YES Network members who are following us online virtually. Please make sure to add your comments to this blog about your presentations and the posters/talks and other meetings you've attended at EGU.

Also, I'd like to extend a big thank you to all of you who showed up to my talk this afternoon about the YES Network! Your contribution to the talk was the most important part of the whole presentation because the other attendees in the room were able to see how far-reaching and dynamic the YES Network really is. I'll be blogging more about the whole IYPE session in a little bit and all the ideas and opportunities that came out of the session for new YES Network projects!

See you all at the YES Network Roundtable tomorrow afternoon! Room SM2 : Time 13:30 - 17:00.

Thoughts on the 04 May Townhall Meeting: An International Geoscience Initiative

After a set of presentations proposing different topics for global geoscience initiativies, senior scientists and leaders of several geoscience organizations engaged in a lively discussion with the YES Network members about how such global initiatives could be implemented. In the course of the discussion, the senior scientists and leaders stressed the importance of "passing the torch" to the younger generation of geoscientists who could further develop and distribute these projects within an international context through their use of current and emerging web-technologies. The senior scientists commended the YES Network for its rapid growth and geographic distribution of our membership (from just over 300 members from ~30 countries last October to almost 800 members from 85 countries today).

It was very good to hear the leaders of these geoscience organizations express their encouragement and support for the YES Network and in its ability to further develop these ideas and initiatives into global-reaching projects. By using our scientific knowledge and skills to solve social issues at local, regional and international scales, and by helping to build the capacity within developing nations by implementing professional and educational resources for young geoscientists, we will create global geoscience initiatives that will make truly make a difference in this world.

John Ludden (BGS), Edmund Nickless (GSL), Pat Leahy (AGI), and Jack Hess (GSA) will develop a summary document that will highlight the key points of this townhall meeting and provide a roadmap for the next steps in establishing the global geoscience initiative. This report will be delivered to UNESCO.

This was the third townhall meeting on the Global Geoscience Initiative project that is sponsored by the American Geological Institute (AGI), the British Geological Survey (BGS), the Geological Society of America (GSA), and the Geological Society of London (GSL). The previous townhall meetings were held at the 2009 GSA meeting in October 2009, and the 2009 AGU meeting this past December. For more information about the Global Geoscience Initiative and the results of the previous townhall meetings, visit:

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Provide feedback to EGU about the 2010 General Assembly meeting

The EGU has provided an online form where you can provide your thoughts about the 2010 General Assembly meeting (general comments, outreach suggestions, suggestions for a more dynamic general meeting, etc.).One common theme that has come up time and again in the sessions, and especially in the townhall meetings, has been the interest in and promotion of young scientists. So if you are here at EGU this year, please visit the online feedback form and leave your suggestions and thoughts for the EGU programme committee.

Compete in the YES Network Challenge at EGU!

Compete in the YES Network Challenge at EGU to win the Glossary of Geology and The Geoscience Handbook: AGI Data Sheets

Winners will be announced at the YES Network's OneGeology Roundtable session this Friday, 07 May, and must be present to receive their prizes.

Challenge Level 1:Talk to as many people at EGU as possible about the YES Network and have them register as YES Network members via the YES Network's website (

In order to qualify, new members must register by 12:00 on Friday, 07 May and must include your name in the "Explain why you are interested in being part of the YES Network:" section of the membership form.

The YES Network member at EGU who signs up the most new YES Network members will get to choose either Glossary of Geology or The Geoscience Handbook: AGI Data Sheets as their prize.

Challenge Level 2:

Talk to as many people as possible at EGU and collect their business cards. Write your name on the business card and drop it in the YES Network Challenge box at the AGI exhibition booth by 12:00 on Friday, 07 May. The YES Network member who collects the most cards will win either the Glossary of Geology or The Geoscience Handbook: AGI Data Sheets. All business cards will be returned to YES Network members at the OneGeology roundtable session. 

Monday, May 3, 2010

Get Your YES Network Sticker for your Name Tag!

Are you at EGU? If so, come by and get your YES Network sticker either from Eveline (she'll be at her poster this afternoon at 17:30 this afternoon, or from Leila (at the American Geological Institute booth in the exhibition hall).