GeoSciML--GML application for Geoscience information interoperability


The GeoSciML application is a standards-based data format that provides a framework for application-neutral encoding of geoscience thematic data and related spatial data. GeoSciML is based on Geography Markup Language (GML, Cox et al., 2004) for representation of features and geometry, and the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Observations and Measurements Best Practices (Cox, 2006) for observational data.  Geoscience-specific aspects of the schema are based on a conceptual model for geoscience concepts and include geologic unit, geologic structure, and Earth material from the North America Data Model (NADMC1, North American Geologic-Map Data Model Steering Committee, 2004), and borehole information from the eXploration and Mining Markup Language (XMML,­Xmml/­WebHome ). Development of controlled vocabulary resources for specifying content to realize semantic data interoperability is underway. 

The GeoSciML project was initiated in 2003, under the auspices of the Commission for the Management and Application of Geoscience Information (CGI) working group on Data Model Collaboration. The CGI is a commission of the International Union of Geological Sciences, and has the objective to enable the global exchange of geoscience information for legal, social, environmental and geoscientific reasons. The project is part of what is now known as the CGI Interoperability Working Group, which has the specific objectives to:

• develop a conceptual model of geoscientific information drawing on existing data models

• implement an agreed subset of this model in an agreed schema language

• implement an XML/GML encoding of the model subset

• develop a test bed to illustrate the potential of the data model for interchange

• identify areas that require standardized classifications in order to enable interchange

GeoSciML draws from many geoscience data model efforts, and from these establishes a common suite of feature types based on geological criteria (units, structures, fossils) or artifacts of geological investigations (specimens, sections, measurements). Supporting objects are also considered (timescale, lexicons, etc), so that they can be used as classifiers for the primary objects. Predecessor projects that have had a strong influence on the development of GeoSciML include activities undertaken within national statutory bodies (British and Japanese Geological Surveys), in multi-jurisdictional contexts (the North American Data Model for geological maps), and activities oriented to an industry sector (eXploration and Mining Markup Language - XMML). Currently, several external projects are leveraging GeoSciML for more specific applications, including Water Resources monitoring and management, Soils, Geotechnical and Engineering, Assay Data and Geochemistry.

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