Architectural Blueprint for Plate Boundary Observatories based on interoperable Data Management Platforms

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Dorit Ines Kerschke, Rainer Häner, Bernd Schurr, Onno Oncken and Joachim Wächter, Helmholtz Centre Potsdam GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany
Interoperable data management platforms play an increasing role in the advancement of knowledge and technology in many scientific disciplines. Through high quality services they support the establishment of efficient and innovative research environments.

Well-designed research environments can facilitate the sustainable utilization, exchange, and re-use of scientific data and functionality by using standardized community models. Together with innovative 3D/4D visualization, these concepts provide added value in improving scientific knowledge-gain, even across the boundaries of disciplines.

A project benefiting from the added value is the Integrated Plate boundary Observatory in Chile (IPOC). IPOC is a European-South American network to study earthquakes and deformation at the Chilean continental margin and to monitor the plate boundary system for capturing an anticipated great earthquake in a seismic gap. In contrast to conventional observatories that monitor individual signals only, IPOC captures a large range of different processes through various observation methods (e.g., seismographs, GPS, magneto-telluric sensors, creep-meter, accelerometer, InSAR).

For IPOC a conceptual design has been devised that comprises an architectural blueprint for a data management platform based on common and standardized data models, protocols, and encodings as well as on an exclusive use of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) including visualization components. Following the principles of event-driven service-oriented architectures, the design enables novel processes by sharing and re-using functionality and information on the basis of innovative data mining and data fusion technologies. This platform can help to improve the understanding of the physical processes underlying plate deformations as well as the natural hazards induced by them.

Through the use of standards, this blueprint can not only be facilitated for other plate observing systems (e.g., the European Plate Observing System EPOS), it also supports integrated approaches to include sensor networks that provide complementary processes for dynamic monitoring. Moreover, the integration of such observatories into superordinate research infrastructures (federation of virtual observatories) will be enabled.