Skip to main content

OneGeoscience: Providing FAIR global access to all geoscience data – are we there yet?

Geoscience deals with all fields of natural science related to understanding past, current and future states of the Earth and the terrestrial bodies. Geoscience has many sub-disciplines that have strong roots in other sciences such as chemistry, physics, geography, biology and mathematics. Each sub-discipline generally works in isolation and is governed by different science unions, societies and associations. Datasets generated by each are diverse, complex and heterogeneous: few fully comply with the FAIR principles. Hence it is hard to integrate datasets both within and across each sub-discipline. To enable efficient integration of geoscience data to effectively contribute to societal grand challenges will require conformance to agreed international standards and compliance with FAIR.

The first attempt at international digital integration of data within one of these sub-disciplines was OneGeology, which in 2008 harmonised geological map data globally. More recently, OneGeochemistry is emerging as a fledgling effort to unify geochemical data across multiple sample types and analytical techniques in the geochemical domain. Geophysicists have not yet taken up the call for OneGeophysics but the potential is there.

Rather than developing standards completely within each sub-discipline, a more holistic approach is to leverage the Observation, Measurement and Samples (OMS) Standard (IS0 19156: 2003) and break down the standards and vocabularies required into modules based around the feature of interest, instrument, procedures, event, place, properties value, result, etc.

This presentation will highlight potential ways to use OMS to accelerate development and convergence of standards and vocabularies required to enable OneGeoscience to become a reality.


Lesley Wyborn1
1Australian National University, Australia
GeoBerlin 2023