[GeoSciML] Wellington Meeting Agenda item: "Consistent use of patterns - are there changes required to allow better use between overlapping domains?"

Bruce.Simons at csiro.au Bruce.Simons at csiro.au
Thu Aug 2 01:21:14 EDT 2012

Hi all,
The GeoSciML meeting in Wellington has the agenda item: Wednesday 12:00 - 12:40 is "Consistent use of patterns - are there changes required to allow better use between overlapping domains?".

This arose from my work in non-geology domains. Below are some observations on the difficulties that GeoSciML may cause to other domains. I am circulating this to aid discussion at the Wellington GeoSciML meeting, and to encourage those who are unable to attend to contribute via the mailing list or wiki.

As part of EarthResourceML and OzSoilML development, I have attempted to re-use both the modelling patterns and specific features established as part of GeoSciML. In some cases decisions made by us, based on a geology-centric viewpoint, have made re-use outside the geoscience domain difficult or impractical.
I have identified below, those that immediately come to mind. The GroundWaterML community may also have examples.
Some of these may be able to be resolved within the GeoSciML community, and should be considered as part of GeoSciML 4 development. However, an appropriate way forward may be to set up, if one doesn't already exist, a 'cross-domain' OGC working group with the intention to ensure/facilitate interoperability and re-use between the domains.

1.       MappedFeature - The 'MappedFeature' feature is a very useful construct. However the mandatory 'specification' property binding it to a 'GeologicFeature' largely prevents its use outside GeoSciML. As such, EarthResourceML created a "MiningFeatureOccurrence" feature and OzSoilML a "SpatialEntity" feature, whereas some INSPIRE proposals just use a geometry property, missing out on the advantages MappedFeature brings.  If MappedFeature were associated to a "GFI_Feature" (property = 'specification') then it could be readily re-used. The GeoSciML profile would indicate that the GFI_Feature must be a GeologicFeature.

2.       EarthMaterial:color - This property is in the NADM conceptual model, but is not appropriate for the "Void" subtype they had included. In addition, the simplistic colour as value fails to allow describing the state of the material (moist, dry) when the colour (color) assessment was made, important for the soil community.  Remove this property and use the PhysicalProperties:PhysicalDescription class.

3.       CompoundMaterial:compositionCategory and CompoundMaterial:geneticCategory - CompoundMaterial provides a mechanism to combine EarthMaterials that could be used by other domains, such as for example "SoilMaterial". However, these two properties are 'rock' specific and don't make sense from a soil perspective. Move both these properties to RockMaterial.

4.       PhysicalProperty - this is a soft-typing that readily allows re-use by other domains. It could be improved by a tighter linking to O&M (somehow? - see 5) to include the metadata O&M provides (method, date parameters etc).

5.       estimatedProperty procedures - Similar to PhysicalProperty, there is a generic issue that it may be appropriate to provide the methodology, error etc with any estimated property. For example the soil particle size and proportion could be estimated based on the field texture classification. This is different to a measured value using sieves. Delivering this as part of ConstituentPart does not allow specifying the process used to calculate the grain sizes and percentages. A set of OGC generic 'Observation' Measure/Quantity, Category, QuantityRange data types that includes optional links to the O&M metadata and can be used by all domains is required.

6.       particleGeometry and constituent:ConstituentPart:particleGeometry - there is inherent ambiguity in which to use, and therefore how to query. The principle is if there is only one particle type then use 'CompoundMaterial:particleGeometry', if more than one then for each constituent use 'CompoundMaterial:constituent:ConstituentPart:particleGeometry'. Remove CompoundMaterial-particleGeometry association and where there is only one constituent ConstituentPart:role = "sole constituent".
No doubt there are other areas that we may wish consider changing to improve the cross-domain usability of GeoSciML.
I welcome your feedback.

Bruce Simons
SDI Information Modeller
Land and Water/ Environmental Information Systems
E bruce.simons at csiro.au T +61 3 9252 6514 M +61 429 177155
PO Box 56, Highett, Victoria, 3190
www.csiro.au | www.csiro.au/science/Environmental-Information-Systems

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