2002 Denver Annual Meeting (October 27-30, 2002)

Paper No. 7
Presentation Time: 3:00 PM


BARU, Chaitan, San Diego Super Computer Center, Univ of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093 and SINHA, A. Krishna, Geological Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, baru@sdsc.edu

GEON (GEOscience Network) is a geoinformatics research program that is developing a national "cyberinfrastructure" to interlink and share multidisciplinary data sets to more fully understand the complex dynamics of Earth systems. Integrating, analyzing, and modeling 4-D data poses fundamental Information Technology (IT) research challenges due to the extreme heterogeneity of geoscience data formats, storage and computing systems and, most importantly, the ubiquity of "hidden semantics" and differing conventions, terminologies, and ontological frameworks across disciplines. The IT research in GEON focuses on modeling, indexing, semantic mediation, and visualization of multi-scale 4-D data, and creation of a prototype GEON Grid. GEON will provide a portal to access the GEON environment, which includes advanced query interfaces to distributed, semantically-integrated databases, Web-enabled access to shared tools, as well as distributed computational, storage, and visualization resources and data archives. GEON will pioneer research towards defining a Unified Geosciences Language System (UGLS), to enable semantic interoperability. GEON is utilizing two test beds, viz. the mid-Atlantic and the Rocky Mountain regions, which include a variety of geological issues embodied within them, thus requiring new ways for interlinking of multiple disciplinary databases. The development of the GEON cyberinfrastructure will provide impetus to the emerging area of geoinformatics, and significantly impact the nature of geoscience research in both large, multi-scale geoscience programs, such as Earthscope, as well as in individual PI-driven research. The U.S.Geological Survey is a major GEON partner, and has made creation of key GEON databases a priority effort over the next several years. GEON, in partnership with DLESE will become an important resource for sharing knowledge about the Earth for a variety of audiences, including K-12 students and teachers.