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What is GeoSciML

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GeoSciML is an XML–based data transfer standard for the exchange of digital geoscientific information. It accommodates the representation and description of features typically found on geological maps, as well as being extensible to other geoscience data such as drilling, sampling, and analytical data.

GeoSciML provides a standard data structure for a suite of common geologic features (eg, geologic units, structures, earth materials) and artefacts of geological investigations (eg, boreholes, specimens, measurements). Supporting objects such as the geologic timescale and vocabularies are also provided as linked resources, so that they can be used as classifiers for the primary objects in the GeoSciML standard.

The GeoSciML data standard is underpinned by several established OGC and ISO standards, including Web Feature Service (WFS – ISO 19142), Geography Markup Language (GML – ISO 19136), Observations & Measurements (O&M – ISO 19156), and SWE Common.

A parallel data standard for simple map visualisation, GeoSciML-Portrayal, has also been developed. It enables portrayal of a small simplified subset of the GeoSciML data model using Web Map Services (WMS) or simple Web Feature Services (WFS).

Why do we need GeoSciML

Users of geoscience maps and data know that geological features have no respect for national or provincial borders. Inevitably users of geoscience data will need to source data from more than one data provider. Receiving data in a number of local data formats is recognised as a major impediment to efficient and effective use of data.

GeoSciML seeks to provide a single, open source, globally agreed data structure that is used to deliver digital geological data over the internet. Additionally, the use of agreed vocabularies of geoscience terminology provides consistency in the semantic language used across geological datasets. Data providers do not need to change their internal databases to match the GeoSciML structure, but instead translate their data to the GeoSciML structure at the point of delivery.

History of GeoSciML

The GeoSciML project was initiated in 2003 under the auspices of the CGI Working Group on Data Model Collaboration. The project was incorporated into the newly formed CGI Interoperability Working Group in 2004. In 2013, development of GeoSciML was moved to the current GeoSciML Standards Working Group, a collaboration between the CGI and the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC).

A number of predecessor projects from North America, Europe, Australia and Asia have had a strong influence on the development of GeoSciML. These include activities undertaken within national statutory bodies (eg, British and Japanese Geological Surveys), in multi-jurisdictional contexts (eg, the North American Data Model for geological maps) or oriented to an industry sector (eg, the Australian Exploration and Mining Markup Language - XMML).

The international GeoSciML development team meets at least annually to ensure that GeoSciML continues to address the needs of data providers and users. Most recent meetings have been held in Edinburgh (2011), Wellington (2012) and St Petersburg (2013).

Downloads and Other Resources

Global Use of GeoSciML

GeoSciML is used, or is endorsed, as the geoscientific data transfer standard by data sharing initiatives across the world. Some examples include:

OneGeology logo INSPIRE logo USGIN logo Groundwater Information Network logo AuScope logo AEGOS logo

Conditions of Use

Although use of GeoSciML is open to the geoscience community, in order to ensure the integrity on the GeoSciML standard across the community the CGI requests that the following points be applied to any work involving GeoSciML:

  1. Full compliance with existing GeoSciML conformance criteria
  2. CGI, OGC and their GeoSciML products are not misrepresented or misused
  3. CGI and OGC retain full copyright to all CGI, OGC and GeoSciML names and products, including logos, text, images and technical materials
  4. The GeoSciML name and associated namespaces, as well as the CGI name and associated working group names, are reserved strictly for CGI activities and products
  5. GeoSciML resources may be freely copied and used within third-party information systems, with acknowledgements as per (7) below
  6. GeoSciML resources are not to be modified by third-parties, except as part of the revision process within CGI and OGC
  7. Extensions to GeoSciML by non-CGI or non-OGC parties remain distinct from GeoSciML, exist in non-GeoSciML namespaces, and are not to be represented as CGI, OGC, or GeoSciML products
  8. Acknowledgement of GeoSciML, the CGI and OGC is made in all communications and products related to work involving GeoSciML, the CGI, or OGC with appropriate citation
  9. CGI gives no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the quality or accuracy of the information supplied, or to the information's suitability for any use. CGI accepts no liability whatever in respect of loss, damage, injury or other occurrence however caused