North American Data Model Steering Committee

Notes of meeting May 19, 1999, Madison, Wisconsin



  1. The meeting began with general introductions by all members, and a welcome to Brian Berdusco (new member, Ontario GS). Ground rules for the meeting were proposed and accepted: no sidebar discussions, one speaker at a time, and adhere to the proposed timetable.
  2. The second draft of the Steering Committee (SC) charter was discussed. The charter was approved, pending final revisions. Within 2 weeks, Dave will make these revisions and circulate the document for inspection. The final version will be posted at the data model web site (
  3. Discussion of first drafts of Technical Teams (TT) Charges:

    1. Scientific Language Technical Team:

      The executive summary is too specific for a TT charge. A generic executive statement should be written, and included with all TT charges; this statement should: 1) clearly state what the TT is expected to accomplish; and 2) describe the general nature of a TT and simply refer to the SC charter where more background information can be found. We didn't decide which TT should craft the exec. summary, so I suppose it falls to the person with the most initiative!

      Extensive discussion ensued on the focus of the charge, whether it should be a general description of a long-term need (i.e., a "program") or a specific task (i.e., a "project"). This discussion was prompted by the contrast between tasks 1 and 2; task 1 addresses fundamental, long- term issues for including scientific terminology in the data model, whereas task 2 refers to an actual product. Because task 2 cannot be adequately addressed without first addressing task 1, it was decided to retain both tasks in the charge. However, task 2 should become very directed rather than general in nature, and should address the development of a rock-type classification applicable to the geologic map data model.

      When the need arises to begin work on additional standard terminology ( e.g., structural classification), new tasks will be written and the charge will be amended accordingly. As a consequence, more than one TT could function under the same general charge, each addressing a specific task.

      The task statement will specify that the product must be compatible with the current version of the data model (v4.3).

    2. Data Model Design TT:

      Refer to Scientific Language TT notes regarding an executive summary.

      Other minor editorial changes were discussed and recorded by Boyan. The charge will be somewhat different in concept than the Scientific Language TT charge - it will be more general in nature, reflecting a long-term program for data model design and revision. Howevber, it will contain both short-and long-term goals.

      When the Requirements Analysis TT has completed its work, SC members of this TT will provide comment to the SC, and will use that analysis to guide any final revisions to the TT charge. At that time, TT milestones will be defined and included in the charge. Boyan then will circulate to the SC the revised charge.

      Until such time as the revised charge is written and the TT begins work, new TT members should "come up to speed" with v4.3 data model concepts.

    3. Tool Development TT:

      A draft charge was not available at the meeting. When written, refer to comments in 3A above regarding executive summary.

      To some extent, the charge will depend on the Requirements Analysis. General goals for this group include: 1) a reference implementation to "show off" the data model and to permit its consideration as a standard; 2) development of tools that respond to requirements analysis; 3) consideration of a generic architecture and common software environment; and 4) consider setting the stage for software development, if not actually developing the tools themselves.

      Peter will draft and circulate the charge by July 4.

    4. Data Interchange TT:

      The draft charge was discussed, and suggestions offered. An executive summary should be included, per 3.A, above.

      Bruce will revise and circulate the charge to the SC.

    5. Requirements Analysis TT:

      This group is vital to the success of the SC. The TT will gather information about how our suers might want to query, analyze, and display digital geologic maps. This work will be completed within the next 4 months. From discussions with user groups and from questionnaires, the various ideas and themes will be organized into a document and presented to the SC for discussion and for use by the other TTs.

      This TT will poll the: 1) state GSs; 2) Canadian provincial surveys; 3) USGS; 4) GSC; 5) AGI; and EDMAP professors.

      After much debate, it was decided that the poll should be limited to two simple questions: 1) "what would you like to do with digital geologic map data", and 2) "what hardware/software platform do you use to build and to use digital maps?". These questions could be prefaced by an introductory statement explaining why we're asking the questions and what we hope to accomplish.

      Tom and (pending approval?) Brian will lead this effort. Rob, Scott, and Dave will participate on the TT. Tom and Brian will begin by polling the state and provincial surveys. This will begin to occur in the next few weeks (e.g., at the AASG annual meeting).

      Tom, Brian, and Dave will write the charter and circulate it to the SC for comment.

    6. Documentation TT:

      To help provide users with more extensive guidance on data model concepts and implementation, this group has been proposed. Loudon will write the charge and circulate it to the SC for comment. At the DMT'99 meeting, several attendees expressed an interest in serving on this TT.

  4. TT Selection Process:

    Prospective members may be nominated by SC members or by others.

    The SC will select the TT members.

    Nominees must meet the following criteria: 1) must meet the needs of the TT; 2) must agree to devote the time needed to accomplish the task; and 3) must have authority from their organization and resources sufficient to participate.

  5. Starting TT Work:

    Each TT will be formed and will begin work according to the following steps. Each TT will be assigned an interim Chair, who will ensure that each step is completed. The interim Chairs will be:

    Requirements AnalysisTom Berg
    Scientific LanguageJon Matti
    Data Model DesignBoyan Brodaric
    Tool DevelopmentPeter Schweitzer
    Data InterchangeBruce Johnson
    DocumentationLoudon Stanford


    1. Approve TT charge -- make necessary revisions, circulate to the SC for approval.
    2. From SC and others, the Chair will seek nominees for the TT.
    3. Chair will make membership recommendations to the SC, and the SC will select the TT members. In most cases, members will need approval of line managers, and the Chair and SC will ensure this issue is addressed.
    4. Chair will contact all new members and supply them with necessary background information.
    5. Chair will arrange for the first TT meeting.
    6. After the first TT meeting, the chairmanship may be passed to another TT member.
  6. Canadian membership:

    Two additional Canadian seats on the SC are requested; one new member from a provincial survey and one from the GSC (for a total of 4 seats from Canadian agencies). The SC welcomes this request. Boyan will initiate the requests to find the candidates.

  7. Presentation at the DMT'99 meeting: Introductory comments to the DMT'99 special session on the data model were outlined. Tom will give the presentation.