Spatial Information

The main role of the Spatial Information Expert Group – SIEG is to contribute to the definition of a strategy aimed at the development of information infrastructure in the geological sciences. It also provides a common platform to share expertise among EGS members and to discuss the science topics relevant to the geoinformation development for the next period.

EGS has formulated a strategy for establishing a Geological Service for Europe. A central pillar in this strategy expresses the need for pan-European findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable geoscientific information, which has been addressed by developing a common sustainable infrastructure European Geological Data Infrastructure (EGDI). It facilitates sustainable access to multinational geological data, information and knowledge at European level, derived from the GSOs’ national databases.

Great efforts are being made to harmonize the most important data and make them available in accordance with INSPIRE and other international standards like those from the CGI. The SIEG is actively contributing to the continued design and development of these standards.

The strategic topics concerning data updating, rules for data entry, governance of codelists and vocabularies as well as technical recommendations, are defined by the SIEG in collaboration with the other EGS Expert Groups.

In terms of data sharing, the EGDI infrastructure has the potential to serve as an EGS platform for the visualization and provision of data also to other infrastructures like the EPOS-ERIC, EOSC and others. Close cooperation is also ongoing with The European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet) which collects and harmonizes large amounts of marine geological data that are accessible on the EGDI platform. The EGDI strategic topics and the proposed rules for further development are discussed at the SIEG meetings.

The SIEG vision is to contribute to further development on the concept of the infrastructure to reach a highly advanced technological level and provide more user-demanded products and to help the definition of the “Subsurface in Europe’s Digital Twin”. Establishing the connections between the different infrastructures will be paramount to achieve interoperability and to improve the user-friendliness. The concept should assess the possibilities of the new technology as artificial intelligence (AI), big data processing, modelling, and the potential to solve some of the recent problems related to knowledge representation, learning, natural language processing, advanced methods of search and mathematical optimization, etc. More focus on the latest technology together with more efficient public outreach will help to improve visibility and usability of the products in decision support systems.

Many SIEG members are involved in GeoERA Information Platform project (GIP-P). The aim of this project is to effectively integrate, secure and make accessible the results of the other 14 GeoERA projects and to further develop the technical infrastructure of EGDI. The SIEG has also drafted a list of scientific preferences for future development of EGDI regarding the content, user access and technology.

The highest priority of SIEG is currently given to the discussion of the project proposal for a Coordination and Support Action (CSA) under Horizon Europe regarding the establishment of a Geological Service for Europe. SIEG has contributed to the formulation of the WP7 – European Geological Data Infrastructure; it also organized bilateral meetings with other expert groups to discuss the interlinkages between WPs. Within the CSA, the EGDI system will be further developed in terms of standardization, consolidation, presentation and dissemination of data and products and will become a fundamental sustainable element of the future GSE.

SIEG members are also active in the Geoscience Information Consortium (GIC), a global initiative for the exchange of information among the GSOs on the use and management of geoscience information systems to support Earth science internationally. At present, the members of GIC are representatives of 36 GSOs from Europe, North America, South Amerika, Asia, Africa and Australia, 15 of them are also members of SIEG.