A comment by Elizabeth D. Koozmin about
(a) can we really develop common science-language standards on a continent-wide basis? Maybe--Development of standards on a continent-wide basis may be more easily accomplished if the standards are keptsimple. If we use documents such as the North American Code of Stratigraphic Nomenclature or the Draft Cartographic and Digital Standard as examples of continentwide standards that consider a wide variety of users, then we see that science-language standards are also possible. (b) can we really do this at a level deeper than “granite versus basalt” or “glacial versus deltaic” or “geologic contact versus fault”, etc? Maybe--Again, if we consider the wide variety of audiences, then the level should not be deep; detailed terminology may cause both database authors and users to "tune out." For instance, does the field geologist really need to make a distinction between microcrystalline and cryptocrystalline chert on the map, or is it just an intellectual exercise that can be saved for some other, more focused medium? Does the land-use planner who is trying to site a new school building care if the bedrock contains microcrystalline chert or cryptocrystalline chert? Keep in mind that we are not writing this standard just for the USGS and State surveys, but for all potential users out there, some of whom we haven't even thought of yet. Actually, I think what you mean by "deeper level" is "granite versus felsic granite" or "contact versus inferred contact." (c) what role do regional geologic differences and geologic-mapping traditions play in the development of science-language standards? Regional differences should be addressed, but they should not inhibit development of a standard. If you take three maps (for instance, from New England, the Coastal Plain, and the Rockies), you will see that there are common rock and age conventions and symbolization. Whether you are the geologist compiling the field sheet, or the cartographer producing the final product, you will see that geologic-mapping traditions are based on standards, so they should play a strong role in whatever we come up with. In order to get people to buy into this idea of common usage, we need to honor those traditions and incorporate them into whatever we come up with. (d) should there be one single terminology standard, or multiple standards linked by translators and equivalency tables? For simplicity, start with one single terminology. Let's see if the need for multiple standards arises. (e) what kinds of scientific queries should be supported by standard terminologies at the National, Regional, and Local levels, and should a single science-language structure support each and all levels? I think the "anticipated queries" (20 questions) exercise considers all but perhaps the local-level needs, where you may have non-technical users trying to make everyday decisions about their community infrastructure, their industries, or their environment. But if we work from the National level down and consider the non-technical user at the same time, then a single structure should work. Some thoughts about local-level users--they sometimes are the ones least familiar with geologic sciences and the government agencies that produce scientific information, but we believe that they need our information to make informed decisions. They are also taxpayers and "pay our salaries." If we create something they can't use and understand easily, then we lose credibility with them. However, I have to admit that in my own work, although I think about this issue all the time as I edit reports, I can't always put the philosophy into practice. (f) To what audience(s) will the data-model science language speak on behalf of our various agencies? Technical only? Hybrid technical and non-technical? One language for technical, a second language for non-technical? Hybrid technical and nontechnical would cover most needs. As with (d) above, start with one language and see if there is a need. (g) What does each map-producing agency expect to query (search for and retrieve) from geologic-map data bases produced by the data model? (agency point of view) See 20-questions exercise results. (h) What kind of geologic information will the typical geologist expect to put INTO the data model and retrieve FROM it? (geologist point of view) See 20-questions exercise results (i) What kinds of interdisciplinary science should be incorporated into the data model science language? Or, put differently, how should the data model be structured and populated to ensure its utility to the geophysics, geo-engineering, earthquake, geochemical, and hydrogeologic communities? I'm not sure we should incorporate any other discipline's language just yet. Because geology is going to be the common thread in other related disciplines, it would be preferable to develop just a geologic language standard first, and add to it later if needed. I think we need to establish just how much and what type of information members of other disciplines need. (j) What kinds of feature-level locational-accuracy issues should be addressed by our science language, as these bear on agency accountability? The Draft Cartographic and Digital Standard for Geologic Map Information (USGS Open-File Report 95-525, part 1.0.1) proposes to adopt a location accuracy standard for geologic features. That would be a good jumping-off point for addressing the language issue. (k) What kinds of feature-level scientific-confidence issues should be addressed by our science language, as these bear on agency accountability? I'm not sure how to answer this in terms of language in a database; however, when writing metadata for a map, there is a required(?) field for confidence level. For example, Use_Constraints: This geologic map is not meant to be used or displayed at any scale other than 1:250,000. Also, in map explanations, there are some commonly used conventions to convey accuracy, such as: "Contact--Accuracy indicated by outcrop locations and distribution and concentration of structural symbols" Perhaps we can use such analogies to help formulate an answer. (l) What kinds of feature-level data-origination issues should be addressed in our science language, as these bear on agency accountability? All data sources should be attributed to either original mapping, or to previous work by others. But should this done in the map database, or is it done in the metadata, or somewhere else? We should determine this before treating it as a language issue.
Further discussion of Re: Some generic issues to consider (this page):
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