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.

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