GAC GIS Division Final Report:
Standards for Digital Geology Workshop

Workshop date: May 22, 1997
Location: GSC Ottawa, Alice Wilson Hall
Report prepared by: John Broome, GSC-Ottawa, June 25, 1997

The workshop developed from discussions at the GAC GIS Division Annual Business Meeting in May 1996 in Winnipeg. Concern was expressed regarding the diversity of methods being used for storing and publishing digital geological data and the resulting difficulty in exchange and integration of geological data. It was felt the GAC was an appropriate association to propose standards for digital geological data. Four workshop coordinators were selected to identify four sectors of the Canadian geoscience community; Geological Survey of Canada, provincial geological surveys, industry, and academic institutions.

Workshop Purpose:
"To identify what standards were required for digital geological data and set in place a mechanism to develop or adopt, test, and implement those standards."

The workshop was attended by 42 participants the majority of whom were invited to represent government agencies and companies. A complete list of project participants is provided in Appendix A.


9:00 Introduction by John Broome, GSC-Ottawa.
Brief outline of the background, purpose, program, and goals of the workshop.

9:30 Dave Soller (USGS)
Described history and design of the USGS/AASG National Geologic Map Database initiative, which includes federal/state cooperation to develop various standards.

10:00 Gary Raines (USGS)
Presented the philosophy, design and merits of the proposed USGS/AASG geologic data model. Release of a beta version, for public comment, is planned for Summer, 1997.

10:30 Boyan Brodaric (GSC Ottawa)
Described Canadian contributions to the USGS/AASG Geologic Map Database Initiative and discussed existing Canadian and GSC initiatives.

10:45-12:30 Unscheduled Participant Presentations:

Peter Davenport (Newfoundland Geological Survey)
€ Presented Newfoundland view on the importance of development of metadata and data standards.
€ Demonstrated the power of standardized geological data using existing Newfoundland digital data sets.

Steve Colman-Sadd (Newfoundland Geological Survey)
€ Discussion of Newfoundland Geolegend System and Newfoundland Digital products.

Brian Berdusco (Ontario Geological Survey)
€ Description of existing OGS databases and standards as well as plans for future developments.
€ Interest was expressed in OGS geological metadata standards.

Geoff Chinn (Noranda Exploration)
€ Noranda uses distributed desktop GIS operated by geologists and, in larger camps, by centralized GIS databases supported by GIS specialists.
€ Complicated SQL statements are not a practical tool for the majority of geologists therefore GIS products that require complex SQL statement to query and map information hinder their usage by geologists.
€ The georelational model is suitable for relatively static GIS products but difficult to implement in a dynamic (mapping/data collecting) environment
€ Noranda routinely works with diverse information from many countries but has developed its own internal geoscientific data standards and productivity tools.
€ It is important that government GIS information be released in a GIS interchange format, not a CAD format. The specific GIS file format used is less important.
€ Access to Canadian map information through both spatially and logically searchable metadata should be improved.

Daniel Lebel (GSC-Calgary)
€ Supported USGS-AASG model but emphasized the importance of providing support for a wide range of data types of , multimedia, 3D, etc.

Tom Gammage (Western Mining Corporation)
€ Agreed with opinions presented by Inco and Noranda.
€ Felt data standards were important for government but of reduced utility for industry.
€ First priority should be to get data published in digital form, standardization was of secondary importance

12:30-1:30 Lunch

1:30-3:00 Discussion of Metadata Access and Standards

NRCan initiatives such as LINC, GeoAccess and CEOnet were discussed briefly.
The GSC Internet map server project was discussed as was the existing British Columbia Mapguide Server demonstration site.

There was agreement that the GAC did not need to concern itself with general geospatial access, infrastructure, tools and standards as other groups were concentrating on these issues.

The need for geological metadata standards was identified. There was agreement that existing general metadata standards needed to be expanded to incorporate essential geological elements. Some existing geological metadata standards were discussed.
€ Government of Ontario Geospatial Metadata -Basic Content Requirements Information and Technology Standard, GO-ITS-72.0
€ FGDC Content Standard for Geospatial Metadata

ISO standards were felt to be desirable due to their international acceptance but geology-specific standards are lacking. The GIS division should concentrate on selecting metadata standards for use throughout the Canadian Geoscience Community. Development of access initiatives in the GSC, such as the Internet Map Server Project, and elsewhere should continue in parallel with GIS Division standards deliberations.

Cameron Bowie volunteered to chair up a GIS Division Committee to investigate available geological metadata standards. A quick show of hands indicated a number of participants were willing to participate in the committee and Bowie proceeded to compile a list of interested individuals (list in Appendix B).. As a first step, the committee would collect available metadata standards and make them available for comments. It was suggested that the Committee contact Peter Schweitzer, at the USGS, who is also working on geoscience metadata issues. John Broome volunteered to post metadata standards information on the GIS-Division Web site.

3:30-5:00 Discussion of Geological Data Standards

The role of the GAC GIS divisions in the development of geological data standards was discussed. The advanced state of the USGS-AASG initiative was noted and there was general agreement that, if acceptable, it could possibly be adopted. It was noted that to realize the anticipated benefits of adoption of the data model and facilitate use of the geological map data by non-geologists, users might want to develop one or more standards lists of lithological and structural attributes and adopt a common framework for the map legend. It was pointed out that scientific standardization was a complex and difficult process. Another hurdle in acceptance of the data model was the lack of application software that would shield the user from the complexity of the design. Raines and Soller reported that development of this software was about to start.

There was agreement that the GAC GIS Division should formally evaluate the USGS-AASG data model and file a formal report. This approach was encouraged by Raines and Soller who were looking for critical evaluation of their design. Boyan Brodaric was nominated to chair a GIS Division committee to evaluate the data model. Brodaric expressed concern that as a major participant in the design of the database he could be in a conflict of interest position. Participants reaffirmed their desire that Brodaric chair the committee due to his expertise in this area. Brodaric compiled a list of 13 workshop participants (Appendix B) who would evaluate the data model and report to Brodaric.

The need for future meetings to discuss standards issues was discussed. Many participants felt that another meeting should not be scheduled until there was specific progress to report and that a meeting could be scheduled at that time.

Specific Results and Action Items

1) The GAC GIS Division supports the development of standards for geological metadata and data. Supporting development of geological metadata standards is identified as a principal requirement for improving Canadian access to geoscience metadata and a priority for the GIS Division. Development or adoption of standards for geological data is also seen as important process which the GIS Division should participate in.

2) A Canadian Geoscience Metadata Standard Committee (Chair: Cameron Bowie, participant list in Appendix B) was formed to develop GAC geological metadata standards..
€ Existing standards definitions Web posted for review by July 1997
€ Evaluation by Oct. 31, 1997, GAC metadata draft geological metadata standards distributed for comment by Dec. 1997.

3) A Geological Data Model Committee (Chair: Boyan Brodaric, Participant list in Appendix C) was formed to produce a GAC evaluation the USGS/AASG geologic data model for delivery by Dec. 31,1997.

Appendix A: Workshop Participants

1. Graeme Bonham-Carter GSC-Ottawa
2. Leslie Chorlton GSC-Ottawa
3. John Broome (coordinator) GSC-Ottawa
4. Boyan Brodaric GSC-Ottawa
5. Dave Everett GSC-Ottawa
6. Bruce Palmer GSC-Calgary
7. Eric Boisvert GSC-Quebec
8. Jean Dougherty GSC-Ottawa
9. Daniel Lebel GSC-Calgary
10. Mike Cherry GSC-Ottawa
11. David Viljoen GSC-Ottawa
Phyllis Charlesworth GSC-Ottawa
Annette Bourgeois GSC-Ottawa
Danny Wright GSC-Ottawa
Stephen Williams GSC-Pacific

1. William P.LeBarge INAC-Yukon
2. Dennis Chao Alberta G.S.
3. Ralf Maxeiner Saskatchewan E.+M.
4. Paul Lenton Manitoba E.+M.
5. Peter Taylor Ontario G.S.
6. Zoran Madon Ontario G.S.
7. Brian Berdusco Ontario G.S.
8. John Langton New Brunswick Dept.N.R.
9.Janette Vavra Nova Scotia Dept.N.R.
10.Steve Colman-Sadd (coordinator)Newfoundland G.S.
11.Peter Davenport Newfoundland G.S.
12.Doug Irwin GNWT
13.Denis Racicot MNR Quebec

Canadian Industry
1. Cameron Bowie INCO-Sudbury
2. Alan Aubut INCO-Thompson
3. Geoff Chinn Noranda Exploration
4. Mike Peshko Noranda Exploration
5. Vicki Bannister Cominco
6. Xiaodong Xhou Barrick Gold Corp.
7. Tom Gammage Western Mining Corp.
8. Ian King Open Data Designs Inc
Graham Ascough(coordinator) Noranda was unable to attend

1. Gary Raines USGS
2. Dave Soller USGS
3. Alan Clare Neural Mining Solutions (Australia)
4. Jody Hatzell Western Mining Corp. (Reno, NV)

1. Paul Williams(coordinator) Univ. of New Brunswick
2. Rob Harrap Queen's U.

Appendix B:
Canadian Geoscience Metadata Standard Committee Participants

Cameron Bowie (Chairman) Inco Exploration-Sudbury

Bruce Palmer GSC Calgary
Dave Soller USGS
Dennis Chow Alberta G.S.
Brian Berdusco Ontario G.S.
John Langton New Brunswick G.S.
Peter Davenport Newfoundland Department of Mines
Geoff Chinn Noranda
Phyllis Charlesworth GSC, Ottawa
Alan Aubut Inco Exploration, Thompson
Dave Viljoen GSC, Ottawa
Denis Racicot Ministere des Ressources Naturelles - Quebec
John Broome GSC, Ottawa

Appendix C:
Geologic Data Model Committee

Boyan Brodaric(Chairman) GSC-Ottawa

Zoran Madon Ontario G.S.
Brian Berdusco Ontario G.S.
Peter Taylor Ontario G.S.
Eric Boisvert GSC-Quebec
Steve Colman-Sadd Newfoundland G.S.
Ian King Open Data Designs Inc
Danny Wright GSC-Ottawa
Dennis Racicot MNR Quebec
Bruce Palmer GSC-Calgary
Dennis Chao Alberta G.S.
John Langton New Brunswick Dept.N.R.
David Viljoen GSC-Ottawa
Rob Harrap Queen's U.