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Progress up to date 

The Geo-Seas project officially started on the 1st May 2009 and was planned to run for 42 months until October 2012. This has been extended till end January 2013 in order to complete all planned services and products.  

During the first year of the project the majority of progress has been made on those work packages which are defining the data standards to be adopted by Geo-Seas and also evaluating and adapting the existing SeaDataNet protocols, methodologies and tools for use in Geo-Seas. From the outset, it was planned that Geo-Seas would adopt and adapt the SeaDataNet approach and standards, thereby extending the SeaDataNet infrastructure and making use of the existing methodologies, tools and standards.

The existing SeaDataNet CDI metadata format, common vocabularies and data exchange formats have been examined to determine how these could be adapted to accommodate geological and geophysical data and what extensions and developments were required.

The CDI metadata format was already suited for geological data, but for handling geophysical data such as bathymetric surveys extensions were needed and applied in collaboration of Geo-Seas with the SeaDataNet Technical Task Group. This has resulted in an upgrading of the CDI metadata format and XML schema to V1.6 to include extensions such as GML objects to support tracks and polygons, and service bindings for extra services such as previewing services required for Geo-Seas.

In order to accommodate the upgrade to the CDI the MIKADO tool used by the data centres to create their metadata has also been upgraded as part of the Geo-Seas activities. A dedicated Geo-Seas CDI user interface based upon the original CDI format was made available via the project website in November 2009. An upgrade to this user interface in support of the new version of the CDI format has been completed in March 2010 which includes upgrades of the import, validation and storage applications.

Furthermore it was necessary to extend considerably the common vocabularies that are used for marking up metadata and data files with  geological and geophysical terms.

In addition to SeaDataNet there are a number of other projects underway in the Geoscience data-management domain with active involvement by Geo-Seas partners. These include the EU-funded One-Geology-Europe and EMODNET Geology Lot projects. There is also on-going international cooperation between geological organisations worldwide developing GeoSciML as a global standard for geosciences data exchange.

It felt appropriate to investigate further the potential of adopting GeoSciML outputs for the Geo-Seas project, and to consider the possibilities of cooperation and cross fertilisation between Geo-Seas, GeoSciML and One-Geology-Europe, where possible.

Therefore, in November 2009 a dedicated Geo-Seas - GeoSciML Workshop took place. Cooperation in the field of vocabularies between SeaDataNet and GeoSciML was marked as important. As best way forward it was agreed that the SeaDataNet Common Vocabularies for geology were compared and extended with the GeoSciML vocabularies which was done. The list of supported data formats was established as follows:

 

The following table gives the agreed overview of the Geo-Seas data types and the proposed data transport formats. Data Type

Accepted Formats

Geological data (point)

ODV & GeoSciML

Geological data (gridded)

NetCDF

Grab samples and unconsolidated

ODV & GeoSciML

Specimen

ODV & GeoSciML

Rock Cores

ODV & GeoSciML

Gravimetry (tracking)

ODV

Gravimetry (gridded)

NetCDF

Magnetic (tracking)

ODV

Magnetic (gridded)

NetCDF

 
 

Bathymetry (tracking)

ODV

Bathymetry (gridded + swath)

NetCDF

Borehole

ODV & GeoSciML

Borehole (images)

PNG

Heat Flow

ODV

Seismics (digital data)

SEG-Y

Seismics (scanned images)

TIFF / PNG

Seismics (navigation)

UKOOA

Side scan sonar

XTF

Images

PNG

Maps (data products)

GeoSciML

 

In order to establish the requirements of the end users a user questionnaire has been conducted via the Geo-Seas website the purpose of which was to identify the standard data products and viewing services required by the user community. A report on the responses from users has been produced which evaluates the outcomes of the questionnaire. The synthesis of the end-users' responses and opinions showed that any data products developed by the Geo-Seas project need to be flexible, incorporating existing and new international standards as well as common classification systems, allowing the user to generate their own data products tailored to their specific needs.

Thus the first year the project undertook largely set-up, community building, and definition of standards activities. In the second year the project moved into the full implementation phase. This started with the training of the designated staff from each of the data centres who would be responsible for the creation and validation of the Geo-Seas CDI metadata records, installation of the necessary tools such as MIKADO, NEMO, Download Manager etc and the relevant data management techniques necessary for both geological and geophysical data in order for each partner to act as a Geo-Seas data centre. The majority of the partners attended the Training Workshop held 22 - 25 June 2010 with good feedback from those who participated. It also proved an excellent opportunity for community building and knowledge exchange between those staff from each data centre that are directly responsible for data management activities.

Since the Training Workshop the partners engaged proactively in the creation of the CDI metadata records, converting associated data sets in the common formats, and configuring, installing and testing the data centre connections to the Geo-Seas infrastructure. A number of Geo-Seas data centres were already familiar with the SeaDataNet approach and tools and could provide soon CDI records and data which are accessible via the Geo-Seas portal. Other data centres experienced more difficulty but were actively supported by dedicated project partners and provided with guidance documents.

An examination of the new CDI format for seismic data revealed that extra use metadata was needed for a good description of these geophysical data. This was solved by adopting the Observation & Measurements (O&M) and SensorML OGC objects as extensions to the core CDI metadata model. This metadata exension was further worked out and later an upgrade of the MIKADO XML editor tool was effectuated so that now also seismic metadata can be produced by using MIKADO.

Near the end of the project now all Geo-Seas data centres are fully operational with 26 partners delivering data directly through the Geo-Seas discovery and access service (http://www.geo-seas.eu). As a result there are now in excess 130,000 metadata records and corresponding data sets available via the Geo-Seas portal.

In addition to the data delivery activities, the project has also developed a number of viewing services for the visualisation of seismic and lithological log data. High and low resolution seismic viewing services have been released, first to a limited group of partners for performance testing, and thereafter on a larger scale. In addition a lithological log viewing tool has been released to a small group of project partners for initial testing and feedback. A second and final version of this tool has been released in October 2012 which incorporates changes proposed as a result of the testing phase as well as from feedback received form users during the Geo-Seas workshop held during the Oceanology International 2012 exhibition. In addition a 3D viewing software tool has been developed on the basis of NASA World Wind for viewing bathymetric DTMs. This is available for downloading from the Geo-Seas portal since August 2012. The seismic viewing services and software are now also available to end users via the Geo-Seas portal. This was preceded by a final Training Workshop in January 2013 where data managers of Geo-Seas partners were instructed and trained in the installation of the high resolution seismic viewing software and how to prepare and organise seismic metadata and data sets for that purpose. 

The Geo-Seas partners have also undertaken a significant number of dissemination activities in order to promote the project to as broad a cross-section of potential users as possible. There has also been a significant amount of effort to develop collaborative relationships with other projects and organisations both within Europe as well as further afield and particularly with colleagues in the USA and Australia.

An important event was the Geo-Seas International Workshop which took place in October 2012 in Cork, Ireland for an international audience.