AN INFRASTRUCTURE AND PROTOCOLS TO ENABLE GEOSCIENCE KNOWLEDGE INTEGRATION
Computer technology alone cannot enable geoscience knowledge integration; the geoinfrastructure must contain integrated, formalized, and fully documented protocols. Protocols, which are sometimes called business processes, are the rules that define the data flow, sequencing of events, techniques, and standards that integrate various inputs to create a measurable output. The value of protocols is measured by the client who is interested in how well the output meets their needs.
Geoscience-knowledge integration goes beyond data and information management and provides geoscientists with the appropriate tools and procedures to enable integration of scientific context, expertise, intuition, and tacit knowledge. Effective protocols require deliberate cultivation of individual and organizational professional behavior to promote improved interaction and knowledge integration.
A team of U.S. Geological Survey geoscientists studying the desert southwestern United States have developed a prototype geoinfrastructure and related protocols. These tools enable effective action in spite of the large geographic area, multidisciplinary nature of their studies, and collaboration with many remotely located geoscientists.