Building on geological models : the vision of an environmental modelling platform

Kessler, Holger; Campbell, Diarmad; Ford, Jon; Giles, Jeremy; Hughes, Andrew; Jackson, Ian; Peach, Denis; Price, Simon; Sobisch, Hans-Georg; Terrington, Ricky; Wood, Ben. 2009 Building on geological models : the vision of an environmental modelling platform. In: Geological Society of America Annual Meeting 2009, Illinois, USA, 18-21 Oct 2009. Illinois, USA, Geological Society of America, 24-30.

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Geological Survey Organisations (GSOs) were originally founded to produce an inventory of the earth’s resources to inform governments and support construction and primary industries. Therefore, their initial emphasis was on finding construction material, metalliferous minerals and hydrocarbons. Throughout the 20th century the focus shifted towards aggregates, water and more recently to environmental concerns such as waste, reuse of post-industrial contaminated land, climate change and biodiversity. Although the external drivers for their existence have changed, the fundamental purpose has not, and this is unlikely to change in the future. Price (1992) summarises the mission of a GSO to “maintain the national geoscience knowledgebase” in order to “ensure the availability of the geoscience information and expertise to promote the wise use of the nation’s natural resources and the safety, health and well being of its people” However as many countries move towards knowledge and service driven economies faced with global environmental challenges ,GSOs of the 21st century will have to continue to evolve, adapt and in particular change the ways they operate. This is especially true against a background of rapidly advancing geospatial technology. The GSO’s agenda must be to confirm themselves as the natural custodians of the subsurface, not focussed on one particular industry or science area, but assisting governments, industry and the general public to manage the subsurface in an integrated, holistic and sustainable manner. They must then engage with other organisation to link the understanding of the subsurface with the wider environment, to understand the interaction of the subsurface with the atmosphere, biosphere and hydrosphere (see Figure 1) Last but not least they have a duty to make their knowledge and information accessible and understandable to the people on behalf of whom the governments act and to whom they are accountable. Taking the British Geological Survey (BGS) as an example, this paper will outline the next stage in the evolution of a GSO, which will see the opening up of their information and the transdisciplinary integration of their geological, groundwater and other geoscience models within the wider “modelling” community including the social and economic disciplines. A main part of this mission is the development and deployment of an open Environmental Modelling Platform (EMP) providing ready access to data and knowledge as well as geospatial, conceptual and numerical models through a subsurface management system akin to Geographic Information Systems in use today. The urgency of this task as well as the size of the cultural and technical challenges that need to be accomplished demand the close co-operation of GSOs amongst themselves as well as strong collaboration with partners in science, industry and government.

Item Type: Publication - Conference Item (Paper)
Programmes: BGS Programmes 2009 > Spatial Geoscience Technologies
NORA Subject Terms: Computer Science
Earth Sciences
Date made live: 29 Oct 2009 14:12 +0 (UTC)

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