A geodata warehouse: using denormalisation techniques as a tool for delivering spatially enabled integrated geological information to geologists

Kingdon, A. ORCID:; Nayembil, M.L.; Richardson, A.E.; Smith, A.G.. 2016 A geodata warehouse: using denormalisation techniques as a tool for delivering spatially enabled integrated geological information to geologists. Computers and Geosciences, 96. 87-97.

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New requirements to understand geological properties in three dimensions have led to the development of PropBase, a data structure and delivery tools to deliver this. At the BGS, relational database management systems (RDBMS) has facilitated effective data management using normalised subject-based database designs with business rules in a centralised, vocabulary controlled, architecture. These have delivered effective data storage in a secure environment. However, isolated subject-oriented designs prevented efficient cross-domain querying of datasets. Additionally, the tools provided often did not enable effective data discovery as they struggled to resolve the complex underlying normalised structures providing poor data access speeds. Users developed bespoke access tools to structures they didn’t fully understand sometimes delivering them incorrect results. Therefore, BGS has developed PropBase, a generic denormalised data structure within an RDBMS to store property data, to facilitate rapid and standardised data discovery and access, incorporating 2D and 3D physical and chemical property data, with associated metadata. This includes scripts to populate and synchronise the layer with its data sources through structured input and transcription standards. A core component of the architecture includes, an optimised query object, to deliver geoscience information from a structure equivalent to a data warehouse. This enables optimised query performance to deliver data in multiple standardised formats using a web discovery tool. Semantic interoperability is enforced through vocabularies combined from all data sources facilitating searching of related terms. PropBase holds 28.1 million spatially enabled property data points from 10 source databases incorporating over 50 property data types with a vocabulary set that includes 557 property terms. By enabling property data searches across multiple databases PropBase has facilitated new scientific research, previously considered impractical. PropBase is easily extended to incorporate 4D data (time series) and is providing a baseline for new “big data” monitoring projects.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0098-3004
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Computer Science
Data and Information
Date made live: 16 Aug 2016 09:25 +0 (UTC)

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