A new Working Group was formed in Feb. 2012 around a use case involving the release of USGS data. As USGS Programs and Centers develop a new generation of data services, we are encountering the need to have a quick, unequivocal, and authoritative answer to the question, "Can these data be released?" The question is most commonly asked about legacy data that are being requested by an external scientist for integration with newly acquired data. Another case, becoming increasingly common, is about release of the raw data underlying an approved publication in order to meet journal requirements for transparency. In a third case, the USGS data are released through regional or topical data services that integrate data from multiple originators and are maintained by other agencies or academic partners.
Employees from the USGS Office of Science Quality and Integrity and the USGS Community for Data Integration (Data Management Working Group) propose to work together on this challenge using the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) use-case focused semantic development methodology. The process starts with in-depth examination of the ways in which the system will provide value for its users through development of a suite of use cases. The process is iterative, incorporating rapid prototyping and expert reviews. Ongoing communication is maintained among domain experts, modelers, representatives of system users, and software engineers. The semantic and scale-free approach allows development of information services that can be integrated with existing information systems without significant modification, and will enable future integration with the Web data services being developed. Through this process, we propose to develop a system that automatically and authoritatively answers the question, "Can these data be released?"
A small team was convened consisting of 10 members with mixed skills representing a diversity of USGS regions and Mission Areas, including data experts, approving officials, software engineers, expertise in information modeling, as well as a scribe and a facilitator. Dr. Peter Fox of RPI has agreed to serve as facilitator and to guide the team in learning and applying the development methodology. The team enjoyed an initial 2-day face-to-face meeting in 2012 to learn the process and start work.
The work will result in several important outcomes: 1) the use case itself -- a complete understanding of the problem and development of details/roadmap towards potential solutions (policies, requirements for a new use of USGS web services or other online information product 2) documentation of the use case process, for re-use in the future with other use cases.
--John Faundeen, Climate and Land Use Change (Sioux Falls, SD)
--Dave Ferderer, Energy and Minerals and Environmental Health (Denver, CO)
--Peter Fox, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY)
--Keith Kirk, Office of Science Quality and Integrity (Santa Cruz, CA)
--Fran Lightsom, Natural Hazards (Woods Hole, MA) — co-lead
--Greg Miller, Natural Hazards (St. Petersburg, FL)
--Viv Hutchison, Core Science Systems (Denver, CO) — co-lead
--Andrea Ostroff, Core Science Systems (Reston, VA)
--Stephan Zednis, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Boulder, CO)
--Carolyn Reid, Office of Science Quality and Integrity (Reston, VA)