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

Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 2:45 PM


O'BRIEN, Grady M., U.S. Geological Survey, 520 North Park Avenue, Suite 221, Tucson, AZ 85719, D'AGNESE, Frank A., U.S. Geol Survey, 520 North Park Avenue, Suite 221, Tucson, AZ 85719 and NASSER, Khalil H., reVision, Inc, 1320 Detroit Street, Suite 1, Denver, CO 80206, gmobrien@usgs.gov

The geoscience community has benefited from improvements in information technology and is now ready to realize even greater advancements by incorporating an infrastructure and protocols that streamline the geoscientific process. Data storage, analysis, and visualization applications have allowed geoscientists to improve the quality of their products. A next step in the continuing evolution of scientific improvement is to seamlessly link the data sources, analytical applications, visualization, and decision analysis tools. These linkages require an information technology infrastructure, or geoinfrastructure, that automates data retrieval, conversion, formatting, versioning, and other processing necessary to move data between software applications and databases.

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.