The GEOSS Knowledge Base (GEOSS KB) has a nested architecture. At its core, it consists of a repository that implements the generic knowledge base in form of a unstructured object data base combined with an inference engine to define observations needs for identified goals and knowledge requirements. This part is what is called the Socio-Economic and Enviromental Information Needs Knowledge Base (SEE-IN KB). The SEE-IN KB focusses on the chains and networks that connect societal goals, targets, and indicators with Essential Variables, as well as the datasets, products and models that support the monitoring and implementation of these targets and goals. The functions of the SEE-IN KB include the identification and documentation of societal knowledge needs and the resulting observational requirements, the support of user access to existing observations and services meeting knowledge needs. A second inference engine will contain the rules for gap analysis and prioritization.
The SEE-IN KB provides tools to carry out gap analyses and to make available information on gaps (see Gap Analysis for details). It also provides rules to identify priorities and to document these priorities (see Prioritization for details).
The SEE-IN KB will be linked to an interface with a collaborative environment that allows deliberations about, and a “social” consensus on, the objects in the SEE-IN KB and the rules in the inference engine. This interface is denoted as a Virtual Stakeholder Table (VST).
Around this core, the GEOSS Knowledge Base will include a repository with information about existing EOs and services. Here EOs are defined as all observations of the Earth system independent of how these observations are obtained or which part of the Earth system they characterize. The details of this part will be described at the GEOSS KB web page.
A core function of the SEE-IN KB is to facilitate and document the linkage of societal goals and targets to EVs and to knowledge that is required for the implementation and monitoring of these goals. In the generic model of the SEE-IN KB, targets are connected to indicators that are report cards for the progress towards the targets and a planning tool for measures to achieve the targets. EVs need to be monitored in order to allow a quantification of the indicators.
The contents of the SEE IN KB reflect the knowledge, information, and data needs of a wide range of applications and users. To achieve its goals, the SEE-IN KB collects information on objects such as user types, applications, observational requirements, a number of needs, societal goals and targets, and comprehensive information concerning the interconnections between instances of these objects. It documents the societal benefits of the “value chains” from initial observations to end users (which connects GD-09 to the Foundational Task CD-03). It also links these objects to EVs and enables prioritizations. Queries can start at any point in the knowledge base and explore the near and far field environment of an instance. This allows the user to search for products and services for their information needs, and providers to search for users and applications benefiting from their products. The concept of networks inherent in the conceptual model of the SEE-IN KB also allow for the construction of business processes to answer “What if?” questions. This functions can support the planning of activities to make progress towards the SDGs. Compliant to the principal of open knowledge, the full documentation of the business process is made available to users. Increasingly, user types, applications and requirements are linked to actual users, models and dataset, respectively, and this allows the execution of business processes.
Figure 1: Data Model of the SEE-IN KB. Main elements of the data model of the SEE-IN KB. The dark-gray boxes define the domains for attributes, the ontology, and the known groups. Each entity in the SEE-IN KB is an object, which are registered in an inventory, where the entity is associated with one or more groups. Details on the object are provided in the body of object, depending on the group membership. The objects in the Link group capture the connectivity and relationships between object.
The data model of the SEE-IN KB is based on unstructured objects (Figure 1). Each entity in the SEE-IN KB is an object. Objects can belong to one or more groups. With the group concept, new groups can be introduced as needed. A group is defined by a set of attributes selected from a master set of attributes. Examples of attributes are Variable, Resolution, Latency, Accuracy, etc. Each attribute comes with a specified domain taken from a master set of domains. Examples of domains are an interval of real number, a list of variables, or a list of specific terms. Groups also are associated with rules for how members of the group can act and interact with other objects. This provides the basic model for the repository.
A special group are Links (which are also objects). To capture interconnectivity between these objects, the concept of links between objects is used to represent networks of objects. Links define the relationship between two objects in the same or two different groups. This link concept is used to capture connectivity. In many object-based implementations, objects possess the information on their relations to other objects. The SEE-IN KB deviates from this world view and makes the information on relationships between objects external and a commonly available information. The full consequences of this approach will be discussed on a special page.
The groups inherited from the GEOSS User Requirements Registry (URR) include User Types, Applications, Requirements, Research Needs, Infrastructure Needs, Technology Needs, Capacity Needs, and Links. Additional groups include, among others, Goals, Targets, Indicators, Persons, Models, Services, Datasets, Essential Variables, Variables, and several groups for various types of gaps.
The concept of Essential Variables (EVs) is implemented in the SEE-IN KB. Rules are made available to link societal
goals (such as the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs) to EVs (see the information on the goal-based approach for details. Existing set of EVs can be linked to societal goals and benefits.