You may have noticed that the OneGeology portal had a few areas of test 1:50 000 scale data on it for a while – part of a trial going on within the OneGeology-Europe project (a 2 year regional project involving a consortium of 20 nations and funded by the EC) http://www.onegeology-europe.org/. That trial has just moved on a bit further with the prototype release of a 1:50 000 WMS (Web Map Service) for the whole UK on the portal. Essentially it is exploiting data now being served as part of the BGS OpenGeoscience initiative http://www.bgs.ac.uk/OpenGeoscience/. That in itself is a move to open up access to geological data resources, and one that is being given much more impetus as the need to comply with the EU INSPIRE Directive comes closer. Because of the data volumes at 1:50k you can only see this “layer” if you zoom in to 1:70k or greater, but there it is, large scale geological data as a view service for a whole nation. So it seems that the major technical hurdles to national high resolution cover have been surmounted. What wonderful possibilities this opens … international access to detailed geological mapping …… but it also poses a couple of questions……… for OneGeology, and for those national and state surveys who provide geological data to OneGeology. Should OneGeology (global) move on to providing routine access to large scale data where it exists and where geological surveys are happy to serve it? Having given the users an appetite won’t those users soon naturally want WFS (Web Feature Service) access and the much more useful functionality that brings? And then of course as we move into higher resolution data we soon get into the “free or fee” debate, which has powerful arguments on both sides. We all know that managing and serving data has a cost – who should pay? The user, or the government who funds the data provider?
Well having posed a question and stepped aside from answering it, let me quickly move on…. to providing a synopsis of the short notes that appear on the OneGeology Twitter site http://twitter.com/onegeology. Of course if you don’t want to wait for me to summon up the courage to write more than 140 characters and would like to get news about OneGeology as it happens – then Twitter (love it or hate it) is where you can see what’s going on….
In no particular order: We welcomed Uruguay as the 114th participant; The Spanish International Co-op. and Dev. Agency is to fund a course - Web dissemination of geological maps in Columbia SA in April; the BBC are coming to talk about OneG in relation to 2 part series on the Earth on 10 February; the new OneGeology for kids pages are up and being well received http://www.onegeology.org/eXtra/kids/home.html; OneG will be represented at a variety of meetings and conferences in the coming weeks and months – CGMW biennial meeting, IUGS Executive meeting, GIGAS Workshop on INSPIRE, GMES and GEOSS, EGU in Vienna in May and the INSPIRE conference in Krakow in June; Work on the incorporation of OneG has now moved on to the lawyers’ desk; and last but certainly not least, the Young Earth Scientists (YES) are going to hold a major round table session on OneG at the EGU – that’s a great development!