CHRONOS: A SERVICES BASED FRAMEWORK FOR CHRONOSTRATIGRAPHIC INFORMATION RETRIEVAL
The CHRONOS system is a data "conduit" as well as hosting environment, providing a means to ingest and display information from both hosted and federated data sources. Display systems include web interfaces (Chiron) and GIS interfaces along with various services oriented interfaces. Time-based "temporal information systems" are also being developed for this system as well as ontology and metadata systems for better relation and discovery of resources.
By developing services that are available both to the Internet via standard web services practices and the Grid environment via GEONGrid, CHRONOS is able to provide data building blocks in a services oriented manner for use by the community in a wide range of applications from web sites to desktop applications.
Using the Neptune and Timescale databases as examples, various interfaces into the CHRONOS systems can retrieve and display data using publicly available descriptions and interface methods. Utilizing both SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) and WSDL (Web Services Description Language), it is easy to construct clients into the database in a wide range of languages and platforms. Data is retrieved in various formats using their initial XML (eXtensible Markup Language) representation that can be transformed via XSLT (XML Style Language Transform) to appropriate formats for the user. An initial set of reference clients and transformations will be available in an open source manner to help users and developers get a head start on the creation of tools that utilize these services in addition to the web based interfaces available from www.chronos.org. Other means of data retrieval, including representative state transfer (ReST) style interfaces, are also being tested.
An example of the use of CHRONOS as a community resource that can be incorporated into the normal IT structure of existing and future projects is the ability to incorporate data from the geologic timescale database directly and seamlessly from the CHRONOS system into a remote web site using web services.