GEOINFORMATICS: PROVIDING GEOSCIENCE INFORMATION TO SATISFY USER NEEDS
GeoInformatics is rapidly gaining acceptance within the national and international research and academic communities. Experience has shown that data alone are insufficient to most users. "Users want solutions, not data" and "Users want information they can use immediately in a form they can understand" are two fundamental truths.
Yet who will be the users of subsurface data? What are their needs? Should we provide a "family" of distinctive delivery products, each targeted to a distinct class of users? While some users can reanalyze or reprocess original data, the general public users usually want an answer, not the original data, which they probably cannot process and may not understand. How can we help users understand data limitations? There is a real danger of producing wildly inaccurate products by combining diverse data sets in ways that exceed their scope.
Beyond the technological issues, what are the major operational considerations? Operational issues involve money. Who is to pay, and how much? We have all seen the impacts of the concept that the "user pays" on many services formerly provided by government and now privatized. Use of improved methods will be greatly affected by financial and intellectual property climates.