Recent Metadata News

ICAN 5: Coastal Atlases as Engines for Coastal & Marine Spatial Planning

August 31, 2011
September 2, 2011

The 5th International Coastal Atlas Workshop (ICAN 5) will be held at the headquarters of the UNESCO International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) in Oostende, Belgium, August 31 to September 2, 2011. IODE will then be co-hosting CoastGIS 2011 in Oostende immediately following. ICAN 5 will focus on coastal web atlases as engines that support and drive the coastal/marine spatial planning (CMSP) process, primarily in northern and southern Europe, the US, the Caribbean, and Africa.

Event Location: 
UNESCO IOC IODE Headquarters, Oostende, Belgium
Contact Email:

Geospatial Platform: Modernization Roadmap

Geospatial Platform logo

The U.S. Department of the Interior and Federal Geographic Data Committee have collaborated on the release of Version 3.0 of "Modernization Roadmap for the Geospatial Platform." Released in August 2010, this document outlines a place-based approach for managing all geospatial data in the United States.

A particularly interesting element of this release is the wiki designed to discuss the platform, The wiki supports open conversation on the nature and key features of the geospatial platform, and has attracted a number of sophisticated ideas and comments about the role of standards, tools, and other elements toward making a common, effective approach to geospatial data.

Biodiversity Knowledge Organization Systems

The Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) has commissioned a white paper to advise it on its future directions for Knowledge Organization Systems (KOS), a rubric that includes the creation, use, and management of such resources as controlled vocabularies, thesauri, gazetteers, and ontologies. Before a final draft is produced, GBIF invites an initial public review of the first draft. The draft may be found at and the mechanism for commenting at which is a page on the GBIF Community Site.

Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard released for public review

The FGDC Coastal and Marine Spatial Data Subcommittee, chaired by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), developed the Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard (CMECS), and is currently inviting the public sector, those involved in coastal and marine ecology and management, to review and comment on a draft of this standard. Through a common terminology, CMECS provides the vocabulary needed to term ecological and habitat units. The standard also provides the marine community with "a uniform protocol for identifying, characterizing and naming ecological units in support of monitoring, protection, and restoration of unique biotic assemblages, protected species, critical habitat, and important ecosystem components."

OGC and Smart Ocean Sensor Consortium (SOSC) to collaborate

On August 25, the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC®) and the Smart Ocean Sensor Consortium (SOSC) announced in a press release that they signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to advance sensor observing systems for the oceans community. The two organizations will explore "joint outreach and marketing activities to raise awareness and interest in smart sensor systems and Sensor Web Enablement". Their first collaboration will focus on the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute's (MBARI) PUCK protocol for hydrographic sensor configuration. The PUCK protocol specification has been submitted to the OGC as a candidate standard.

Launch of GBIF Community Site

In August, the Global Biodiversity Initiative Facility (GBIF) Secretariat launched the GBIF Community Site, a free social networking site to enhance communication among researchers, data publishers and users, and everyone interested in Biodiversity Informatics. All are welcome to join and "share information about events, open calls, product releases, [and] collaboration opportunities in biodiversity data." There are also a number of collaboration tools available in the site: work groups, (micro)blogs, community news, online chat, file and image sharing, to name a few. For more information, visit:

New Web Coastal Atlas Book Available

Several members of the MMI community have contributed to chapters in the new book Coastal Informatics: Web Atlas Design and Implementation, author(s)/editor(s): Dawn Wright (Oregon State University, USA); Ned Dwyer (University College Cork, Ireland); Valerie Cummins (University College Cork, Ireland), 2010. The book "reviews and presents the latest developments in the emerging field of coastal web atlases through a series of case studies." It also discusses "making underlying geographic databases interoperable." The Coastal Atlas Interoperability chapter (pp 53-79), co-authored by Karen Stocks and Anthony Isenor from the Guides Team as well as others, was formed in part from information in the MMI Guides that are available on our site.

CIESIN Questionnaire on Geospatial Data Preservation Needs

CIESIN LogoGeospatial data that represent observations at a specific time and place often cannot be replicated, and explicitly preserving them helps ensure their availability for future users. In an effort to improve geospatial data preservation research and practice, researchers at the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) at Columbia University are developing an online clearinghouse to disseminate information on the preservation of geospatial data. They have put together a brief questionnaire that takes ten to fifteen minues to complete, and will help them address issues relating to this topic.

RPI Researchers Use Semantic Technology in Project

A team of three Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) researchers has shown the power of the semantic web by developing 40 applications that use datasets from different sources, all available to the public through was launched a year ago and has grown from just 47 datasets to over 270,000 (as of May 2010). In June 2009, the RPI team saw as a perfect opportunity to "use RDF (Resource Description Framework) and linked data" to explore government data in innovative ways. The RPI Project has demonstrated "how quickly and inexpensively visualization and mash-up applications can be built from government data when it’s put into a web-friendly form." Read the full article at Government Computer News (5/18/2010).

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