FGDC Geologic Data Subcommittee
Minutes of Meeting,
December 14, 1998

In attendance: Jan Morton, Subcommittee Chair (USGS) Dave Soller, Executive Secretary (USGS), Jerry Bernard (NRCS), Jim Gauthier-Warinner (USDA Forest Service), Laurel Gorman (USAE Waterways Experiment Station), Lindsay McClelland (National Park Service), Jay Parrish (Lancaster County, PA), Ron Smith, (BLM), and Dave Zinzer (Minerals Management Service). Matilde Moss (USGS), Recorder.

Following the introductions, Jan Morton proceeded to review the Agenda and Dave Soller addressed the items under his direction.

Discussions on the Geologic Data Model Standard: Dave Soller explained the objective, which is to develop a standard logical data model to describe the various entities of the geologic map and the relations among them. He pointed out that the group developing this standard (the Geologic Data Model Working Group, sponsored by the Association of American State Geologists and the USGS) recognizes the diversity of the information in geologic maps, and hence the need for a flexible, comprehensive model. Dave further described the development approach of the working group which is staffed by technical experts from the USGS, the State geological surveys and the Geological Survey of Canada. In October 1997, at the National meeting of the Geological Society of America, they released the first public version of the data model, online, for public comment. At a workshop in June, 1998, the first formal review of the data model was conducted. This workshop was attended by members of the state geological surveys, the USGS, and the Federal and Provincial surveys of Canada. At this workshop it was decided to proceed with the development of the data model and software tools and to broaden the participation in its further development. Revisions to the model were incorporated, and a presentation of the revised model was provided at the October, 1998, National meeting of the Geological Society of America. Lindsay McClelland asked how Subcommittee members and their agencies can help support this effort. Dave Soller suggested they review the data model documents, and contact him for further information, especially if they want to help revise the draft model.

Copies of the Draft Geologic Map Data Model, Version 4.2 and the Addendum to Chapter 2, Version 4.3, were passed to the members and the contents explained. Some questions were raised, most notably the possibility of a link between the formation name in the data model and the formation name in GEOLEX (the Geologic Names Lexicon, found at http://ngmdb.usgs.gov), and the possible addition to the data model of a table for hydrologic attributes.

Dave also explained that the Data Model Steering Committee (the successor to the Geologic Data Model Working Group) will meet in March of 1999, and invited the members of this Subcommittee who would like to get involved in the Steering Committee to let him know. The Steering Committee will guide further revisions to the data model, and will assist with preparation of the draft standards document to be submitted to this Subcommittee. The Steering Committee will identify what remains to be done, including development of standard scientific terms.

Discussions on the Geologic Map Symbols Standard: Dave Soller discussed this effort to create a standard set of geologic symbols and patterns, to encourage preparation of geologic maps with a standard appearance. The symbolization is based on revisions made to USGS Open file Report 95-525. The Subcommittee members were also informed of the collaboration between the USGS and the Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (ESRI) to prepare in Arc/Info and ArcView formats a complete version of the draft standard for geologic map symbolization. The USGS will release a preliminary version of these symbols, as an Open-file Report on CD-ROM, containing a Postscript version of each symbol and pattern.

Digital Mapping Techniques workshop: The AASG and USGS conducted workshops on digital mapping techniques in 1997 and 1998, and published the results (see results of the Data Capture Working Group, under "digital mapping techniques" at http://ncgmp.usgs.gov/ngmdbproject). Dave extended an invitation to members of the Subcommittee and selected agency staff to attend the next 3-day workshop in May, 1999, and will send an invitation when all the information pertinent to the meeting is ready. The focus of this meeting will be digital map production.

Standards Working Group: Dave Zinzer provided some background on the Standards Working Group (SWG), noting that it helps facilitate the standards-development efforts of each FGDC subcommittee. We will be working with the SWG when the above-mentioned standards are under consideration by the FGDC. Jay Parrish asked how FGDC standards can be brought to the State and County level. It was noted that standards development is a difficult and expensive process, and it is therefore imperative that all relevant parties be included in the process; otherwise, the standard will not be widely used. There was some discussion regarding how to advertise and market our standards-development effort (for example, in Geotimes, EOS, GSA Today, the USGS Web page, etc.), to ensure the widest possible involvement.

Discussions on the Progress Report: Jan distributed a draft 1998 Subcommittee Progress Report, and requested any comments to be delivered to her by the beginning of next week.

Other Roles of the Subcommittee: Jan asked about general Subcommittee interests and concerns, aside from development of the two standards now under consideration. Subcommittee members expressed an interest in closer coordination with the Soil Subcommittee; and a better understanding of their goals and standards under development. Jay Parrish asked about geophysical standards -- these are not included in the geologic map data model standard currently under development, and so the Subcommittee may want to investigate the need for development of geophysical standards. Jan or Dave will contact the Soil Subcommittee and will try to promote subcommittee exchange of information.

Wrap-up: Jan asked the members of the Subcommittee to provide any corrections or changes to help us maintain the Subcommittee membership list up to date. Changes should be sent directly to Dave Soller or Matilde Moss.

It was agreed that the next meeting would be in late Spring, after the Geologic Map Symbolization Standard is ready for consideration.