[tdwg-content] Darwin Core: proposed news terms for expressing sample data

Simon.Cox at csiro.au Simon.Cox at csiro.au
Fri Aug 29 09:58:14 CEST 2014

G’day again TDWGers:

Matt passed on links to this thread to me and suggested I comment, as I was the author of the O&M standard (published as ISO 19156:2011 and OGC Abstract Spec Topic 20).

For those who are not aware of this work, there is a short Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observations_and_Measurements whose main value is it has links to a number of more detailed resources.
Probably the richest of these is another Wiki page at CSIRO https://www.seegrid.csiro.au/wiki/AppSchemas/ObservationsAndSampling which hasn’t been updated much recently, but at least has some diagrams embedded.
As Matt and others have hinted, as a result of a workshop at NCEAS a few years ago, there were some tweaks to allow it to meet some of the requirements identified in OBOE, just in time to beat the ISO deadline!

O&M includes a generic model for ‘Sampling Features’ – being those artefacts that are created to assist the observation process, but would not exist and have very much interest otherwise.
Things like specimens, transects, sections, quadrats, scenes and swaths, drillholes, flightlines, trajectories, ships tracks, etc.
Because it is a generic standard, you won’t find things with names familiar to any particular discipline, and there are a lot of stub classes for supporting information which need filling out for specific applications.
But the intention is that it provides a framework for a discipline or community to specialize for their purposes, while retaining some topology and perhaps terminology (maybe just as super-classes) that help with information sharing across discipline boundaries.
The main properties of a sampling feature are

-          The sampledFeature – being the domain object which it is being used to characterize

-          Related sampling features – other features related to the observational strategy

-          Related observations – observation events that use this sampling feature (for which another generic model is provided)
We’ve generally found it helpful in teasing apart observational records and protocols in a variety of environmental science applications, and other have applied it in oceans, meteorology, even air-traffic control!

The primary classification of sampling features in O&M is by topological dimension (point, curve, surface, solid), because these are commonly used and afford common processing methods.
‘Specimen’ is the other concrete sampling-feature type.
There is no ‘sample’ class, because it is such an overloaded word (noun, verb, statistical sample vs ex-situ sample, etc).

O&M and its Sampling Feature model was designed in UML.
As Matt notes that the original implementation in the OGC context was in XML, using GML http://schemas.opengis.net/samplingSpecimen/2.0/specimen.xsd and http://schemas.opengis.net/samplingSpatial/2.0/spatialSamplingFeature.xsd .
However, it has been implemented other ways: there is an OWL2/RDFS representation at http://def.seegrid.csiro.au/isotc211/iso19156/2011/sampling which is linked in with OWL versions of a bunch of the other ISO standards, and therefore probably makes too many commitments for the faint hearted – see paper from ISWC 2013 here http://ceur-ws.org/Vol-1063/paper1.pdf
O&M was also one of the core inputs to the W3C Semantic Sensor Network ontology, reported here: http://www.w3.org/2005/Incubator/ssn/wiki/Incubator_Report though that focussed on the sensors and observations side of the equation, and hardly deals with sampling.

Hope this helps.

>> Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2014 18:52:06 -0800
>> From: Matt Jones <jones at nceas.ucsb.edu<mailto:jones at nceas.ucsb.edu>>
>> Subject: Re: [tdwg-content] Darwin Core: proposed news terms for
>>         expressing sample data
>> To: ?amonn ? Tuama [GBIF] <eotuama at gbif.org<mailto:eotuama at gbif.org>>
>> Cc: TDWG Content Mailing List <tdwg-content at lists.tdwg.org<mailto:tdwg-content at lists.tdwg.org>>
>> Message-ID:
<CAFSW8xkx7uRP9PC2g3=JT_VJanqujH8nPXoz8GXwh+JwKw5Ccw at mail.gmail.com<mailto:JT_VJanqujH8nPXoz8GXwh%2BJwKw5Ccw at mail.gmail.com>>
>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
>> This proposal is treading on ground that is quite similar to other
>> observations and measurements standards for data exchange that are
>> mature, in particular:
>> * OGC Observations and Measurements (
>> http://www.opengeospatial.org/standards/om)
>> * Extensible Observation Ontology (OBOE;
>> https://semtools.ecoinformatics.org/oboe)
>> The former is a standard and broadly deployed, whereas the latter is part
>> of a research program in the use of ontologies for measurements.  Through
>> collaboration between the two projects, they've been modified to be
>> reasonably isomorphic, but O&M uses an XML serialization while OBOE uses
>> OWL-DL serialization. They largely express the same measurements and
>> sampling model once one gets beyond the terminology differences.
>> So, I'm wondering if it make much sense to extend Darwin Core, which is
>> heart an Occurrence exchange syntax, into this measurements area that is
>> well represented by these other existing specifications?  I'm curious to
>> hear why people would even want to do this.  And if we do go down this
>> path, won't we just end up with a new syntax that does essentially what
>> and OBOE do now?
>> Matt

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