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Third OneGeology Strategic Steering Committee Meeting

On March 30, 2021, the third OneGeology Strategic Steering Committee (OSSC) Meeting took place via Zoom video conferencing. The meeting was attended by over 20 people (heads of geological surveys and their information departments, institutes, laboratories and national programs, invited experts.

The agenda consisted of seven items, including the discussion of OneGeology’s role relative to other global initiatives, the discussion following the Digital Twin Workshop held in February, and further OneGeology’s activities.

At the beginning of the meeting, the Chair, Matt Harrison (Director, Information Services and Infrastructure, BRGM, France) said that in addition to the existing agenda, the results of excellent work of compiling the Tectonic Map of South America would be presented.

Then there were presentations by Matt Harrison and Kate Royse on OneGeology’s attitude towards other global initiatives, including the ongoing activities on establishing contacts with a new organization - the World Community of Geological Surveys (WCOGS). It was noted that the WCOGS, unlike OneGeology, has no structured membership, and its goal is to facilitate communication, i.e. there are no membership fees, no Charter of Members. There is a clear relationship between OneGeology and the WCOGS. OneGeology is the official forum for geological surveys who discuss together digital geosciences, but the geological surveys need to collaborate and discuss other issues as well. And since the interests of this organization partially overlap with the activity area of OneGeology, it is advisable to coordinate their activities to maximize the effectiveness of joint initiatives for the geological community, more widely present the results of OneGeology obtained to date, and goals for the future.

Much attention was paid to the interaction of OneGeology and the IUGS CGI (Commission on Geoscience Information of the International Union of Geological Sciences). It was noted that many OneGeology members are active participants in the CGI, and also take part in the work of the OGC (Open Geospatial Consortium) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). In fact, the specifications elaborated by OneGeology have become the basis for standardization and development of technologies for the interaction of digital geological maps. The brilliant work of the international community of experts has made it possible to provide many geological surveys with standards for describing digital geological information and its presentation through web services. The use of the developed approaches is expected in a number of large international projects and initiatives.

The role of OneGeology in its work with the CGMW (Commission for the Geological Map of the World) was also mentioned. The CGMW made a request concerning using digital geoscience information standards to compile the 5M Geological Map of the World. At the same time, Steve Hill, Chief Scientist, Geoscience Australia, noted that currently there is no close relationship with the CGMW, while there is close contact and strong support from the UN-GGIM and WCOGS.

An opinion was expressed that it was necessary to clearly define the functionality of each initiative and areas of its collaboration with OneGeology. All schemes should be transparent to avoid overlapping and duplication of individual areas.

On the further development of the project, it was stated that in the next 10 years, OneGeology would focus on applications, technologies and opportunities arising from the development of a multiscale set of models for digital twins of subsoil areas (sedimentary basins, folded systems, metallogenic targets, etc.). This will allow better understanding and predicting geological processes and how they affect the world.

Previously, digital twins were used in infrastructure, and some of the most prominent examples were in the aircraft and ship constructions, where information from sensors was forwarded online to central controls running on engineered models, to update operational efficiency parameters and for maintenance, preventing their failure. The existence and use of a digital twin of a subsurface area could, for example, allow subsoil users and developers to plan more efficient sampling and use numerical modeling to understand the impact of various input data and changes in this system, such as alternative technologies for exploration, production, storage, and evaluate work efficiency - and all this on a real-time basis with continuous updating the model.

It is assumed that in geology, digital twin models will be an ensemble of 4D visualizations of the results of geoscience studies. One of the key elements will be software-physical interaction, in which the change recorded by sensors in the physical world will be reflected in the virtual twin model in almost real time. And a realistic model of the environment will provide new virtual opportunities for testing and better use of the subsoil area, as well as for modeling and predicting its future dynamics.

At the end of the meeting, Estevez Colnago, the President of the Geological Survey of Brazilia (CPRM), reported on the completion of activities on the preparation of the new 1: 5M Tectonic Map of South America.

Specialists from 13 South American countries took part in the mapping. In total, the map contains 26 layers, including those reflecting the metallogenic characteristics (trend) of the identified tectonic taxa.

Adopted abbreviations:
*WCOGS – World Community of Geological Surveys
**CGMW – Comission for the Geological Map of the World
*** CGI – Commission of Geoscience Information (International Union of Geological Sciences)
**** UN-GGIM – UN Committee of Experts on Global Geospaciat Information Management


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