within and outside USGS. As a major international player, the Survey will need to collaborate with international partners to address data standardization and to comply with international protocols. Expanding ongoing efforts to make spatial data available in Keyhole Markup Language (KML) and other formats compatible with popular web-based map viewers such as Google Earth and Bing Maps will provide great value to USGS spatial data.
Open Geospatial Consortium
The OGC is an international organization consisting of 420 government, industry, and academic entities that participate in a consensus process to develop open spatial data interface standards. Its core mission is “to develop standards that enable interoperability and seamless integration of spatial information, processing software, and spatial services” (OGC, 2004). It allows users of geospatial technology to work with technology providers. The OGC has defined some key interoperability standards for geospatial data that are supported by U.S. federal agencies, international data providers, national SDI organizations, and commercial software providers. Many OGC standards have been incorporated into International Organization for Standards (ISO) standards and, conversely, many OGC standards incorporate ISO standards. OGC standards provide an essential infrastructure for SDIs that are designed to integrate fully onto the Web, and the OGC specification process and products have been adopted by nearly all SDI programs worldwide.
Geoscience Markup Language
GeoSciML is a major geoscience interoperability standards initiative that is being developed and supported by geological organizations worldwide. It is a geography markup language application schema that transfers and shares geologic information typically in the form of geologic maps. GeoSciML standards are based on the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the OGC, and standards and specifications of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The OneGeology project is an initiative that uses GeoSciML to increase the accessibility of geologic map data on Earth that are delivered in real time by merging data from several national geological surveys. To establish a common suite of features, GeoSciML draws from geoscience-data model efforts, geologic criteria (such as units, structures, and fossils), and artifacts of geologic investigations (such as specimens, sections, and measurements). Supporting objects are also considered (such as timescale and lexicons) so that they can be used as classifers for the primary objects. GeoSciML meets the short-term goal of providing geoscience information associated with geologic maps and observations, and it could be extended in the long term to other geoscience data.
GeoSciML is governed by a working group of the International Union of