EarthCube GeoLink: Semantics and Linked Data for the Geosciences

Thursday, 17 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Robert A Arko, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, NY, United States
The NSF EarthCube initiative is building next-generation cyberinfrastructure to aid geoscientists in collecting, accessing, analyzing, sharing, and visualizing their data and knowledge. The EarthCube GeoLink Building Block project focuses on a specific set of software protocols and vocabularies, often characterized as the Semantic Web and “Linked Data”, to publish data online in a way that is easily discoverable, accessible, and interoperable. GeoLink brings together specialists from the computer science, geoscience, and library science domains, and includes data from a network of NSF-funded repositories that support scientific studies in marine geology, marine ecosystems, biogeochemistry, and paleoclimatology. We are working collaboratively with closely-related Building Block projects including EarthCollab and CINERGI, and solicit feedback from RCN projects including Cyberinfrastructure for Paleogeosciences (C4P) and iSamples. 

GeoLink has developed a modular ontology that describes essential geoscience research concepts; published data from seven collections (to date) on the Web as geospatially-enabled Linked Data using this ontology; matched and mapped data between collections using shared identifiers for investigators, repositories, datasets, funding awards, platforms, research cruises, physical specimens, and gazetteer features; and aggregated the results in a shared knowledgebase that can be queried via a standard SPARQL endpoint. Client applications have been built around the knowledgebase, including a Web/map-based data browser using the Leaflet JavaScript library and a simple query service using the OpenSearch format. Future development will include extending and refining the GeoLink ontology, adding content from additional repositories, developing semi-automated algorithms to enhance metadata, and further work on client applications.