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

Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 2:15 PM


D'AGNESE, Frank A. and O'BRIEN, Grady M., U.S. Geol Survey, 520 North Park Avenue, Suite 221, Tucson, AZ 85719, fadagnes@usgs.gov

The use of information technology has greatly enhanced the geoscience community’s ability to address societal needs. However, the full impact and benefits of integrating the geosciences and information technologies have not yet been realized. Geoinformatics provides a base for such integration. Geoinformatics must evolve a new context that includes not only traditional technological issues of geoscience data collection, storage, retrieval, and processing, but also the formulation of essential data models, the formalization of common workflows, and ultimately, the realignment of organizational structures.

This shift will depend upon a protocol that encompasses the entire geoscience process. The technical core of this protocol contains linked subprocesses that integrate and manage geoscience data, three-dimensional geologic models, and numerical process and predictive models. In turn, the technical core is supported by an integrated infrastructure that provides for data-flow and workflow management, knowledge integration, decision support, and product delivery and dissemination.

The development and implementation of this protocol is required to produce timely and cost-effective solutions to societal concerns. However, the immediacy of these concerns and the short-lived nature of most applied geoscience investigations prevent the thorough and appropriate development of standards. Without standards, the protocol cannot be widely implemented, nor can geoinformatics be accepted.

Hydrogeologic characterization studies concerning ground-water availability and sustainability in the desert southwestern United States have encouraged the development of a prototype protocol. This prototype demonstrates that it is appropriate for the geoscience community (public, private, and academic) to engage in a coordinated effort to capture and improve elements of this emerging paradigm. By sharing experiences, a stronger, more robust protocol can be developed and tested in a greater variety of operational environments. Also, no single geoscience organization has the financial resources or knowledge base necessary to rapidly develop a complete protocol. By sharing experiences and responsibilities, a more effective protocol and a more closely aligned geoscience community can emerge.