Statistics on Interoperability Papers at Fall AGU Meetings

From Federation of Earth Science Information Partners
Revision as of 14:10, November 7, 2006 by (talk)

The concept of "interoperability" in Earth Sciences is somewhat fuzzy and it is being applied in many different ways. In order to gain a better understanding of interoperability as it is currently used, we have explored the ...

The purpose of this note is to summarize the statistics on "interoperability" papers at recent fall meetings of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).


The procedure for developing the statistics involve accessing the AGU Abstracts Database for the fall meetings of 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006.

The search was conducted using keywords that occurred in any of the abstract's fields including title, body, and keywords. Otherwise, the search was not confined, in other words the resulting list of abstracts was selected from the entire database for that year.

Context of "Interoperability"

Searching for interoperability for the fall 2006 yielded thirty abstracts. Visual inspection of each abstract was performed to examine the context in which the interoperability was used. The pie chart below shows the number of abstracts for each context.

Of the thirty abstracts with interoperability, seven abstracts were classified as General since the context referred to general aspects of information interoperability. In three abstracts interoperability was used in the context of physical homogenization and integration of heterogeneous data. Another three abstracts dealt with the semantic aspect of interoperability, i.e. linking the meanings of different datasets. The largest group of seventeen abstracts incorporated interoperability with specific reference to appplications using the suite of OGC Standards.

It is evident that Earth Science interoperabilityis closely linked to the suite of OGC Standards. (Note: I think that I was some what biased toward OGC at the expense of semantic interoperability)


Trends in use of Interoperability

It is interesting to examine the four year trend of interoperability use in AGU abstracts. The procedure was to count the number of abstracts for search terms: interoperability, OGC, WMS, WCS, and "web services." The charts below show the trend of abstracts with these five terms.

Trend WMS WCS OGC.png Trend Atmospheric Oceanic.png

The number of abstracts with the terms interoperability and web services increased from 10-15 in 2003 to 35-40 in 2006. The frequency of abstracts with the terms OGC, WCS, and WMS have increased more dramatically. OGC increased from 2 to 25 while WMS and WCS increased rose from 2 to about 10 abstracts. The trend chart on the right shows the number of abstracts with "standard reference" terms: Atmospheric and Oceanic, each having about 250 abstracts per AGU meeting.


From the above it may be observed that:

  • The use of interoperability in abstracts has tripled between 2003 and 2006.
  • In 2006, interoperability mainly refers to the application of OGC Standard Protocols.
  • The OGC data access services, WMS and WCS are by far the most dominant.

Implications and Disclaimer

It is meaningful to pursue the propogation of the WMS/WCS(WFS?) standards as the primary protocols for Earth Science data access.

It is hoped that the above provacative statements will promote constructive community discussion.

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