Proposed Requirements-driven User-scenario Development Protocol for the Belmont Forum E-Infrastructure and Data Management Cooperative Research Agreement

Monday, 15 December 2014
Brian Wee1, Nicholas Car2, George Percivall3, David Allen4, Peter G Fitch2, Peter Baumann5 and Hans Christoph Waldmann6, (1)National Ecological Observatory Network, Boulder, CO, United States, (2)CSIRO Land and Water, Canberra, Australia, (3)Open Geospatial Consortium, Crofton, MD, United States, (4)University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, United States, (5)Jacobs University Bremen, Bremen, Germany, (6)MARUM - University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
The Belmont Forum E-Infrastructure and Data Management Cooperative Research Agreement (CRA) is designed to foster a global community to collaborate on e-infrastructure challenges. One of the deliverables is an implementation plan to address global data infrastructure interoperability challenges and align existing domestic and international capabilities. Work package three (WP3) of the CRA focuses on the harmonization of global data infrastructure for sharing environmental data. One of the subtasks under WP3 is the development of user scenarios that guide the development of applicable deliverables.

This paper describes the proposed protocol for user scenario development. It enables the solicitation of user scenarios from a broad constituency, and exposes the mechanisms by which those solicitations are evaluated against requirements that map to the Belmont Challenge. The underlying principle of traceability forms the basis for a structured, requirements-driven approach resulting in work products amenable to trade-off analyses and objective prioritization.

The protocol adopts the ISO Reference Model for Open Distributed Processing (RM-ODP) as a top level framework. User scenarios are developed within RM-ODP’s “Enterprise Viewpoint”. To harmonize with existing frameworks, the protocol utilizes the conceptual constructs of “scenarios”, “use cases”, “use case categories”, and use case templates as adopted by recent GEOSS Architecture Implementation Project (AIP) deliverables and CSIRO’s eReefs project. These constructs are encapsulated under the larger construct of “user scenarios”.

Once user scenarios are ranked by goodness-of-fit to the Belmont Challenge, secondary scoring metrics may be generated, like goodness-of-fit to FutureEarth science themes. The protocol also facilitates an assessment of the ease of implementing given user scenario using existing GEOSS AIP deliverables.

In summary, the protocol results in a traceability graph that can be extended to coordinate across research programmes. If implemented using appropriate technologies and harmonized with existing ontologies, this approach enables queries, sensitivity analyses, and visualization of complex relationships.