[CF-metadata] GIS issues

Russ Rew russ at unidata.ucar.edu
Tue Feb 22 12:45:34 MST 2005

Jonathan Gregory wrote:

> *  only a subset of the CF community are users of GIS software, WMS
>    servers and MS Access. I'm not familiar with any of these, for
>    instance, and I expect I am typical of scientists working with
>    GCMs. It would make CF less easily usable, for those who are not,
>    to tie ourselves to particular software.

Maybe it's time to break off GIS conventions into a separate
orthogonal set of conventions for GIS users, which you would specify
with something like

  :Conventions = "CF-1.0, GIS-x"

to indicate that data conforms to CF version 1.0 conventions as well
as GIS version x conventions.  It might be beneficial to organize GIS
conventions into multiple independent sets as well, such as WKT, EPSG,
FGDC, etc., or nested levels encompassing more extensive GIS
information for multiple uses.  Decoupling GIS metadata from CF
metadata would permit separate and perhaps more rapid development of
the necessary conventions.  Such decoupling would also permit the use
of the GIS conventions independently or with other non-CF conventions.

I think the subset of the netCDF community interested in accurate GIS
metadata is large enough that a separate independent standard would be
useful.  There might even be GIS users who are interested enough to
propose a draft set of conventions.

As a disclaimer, I should state that

  * I'm not very familiar with the issues and the discussion that's
    already taken place in regards to expanding the CF conventions to
    provide more accurate and comprehensive GIS metadata.

  * It's not my intention to undermine the CF conventions, which I
    think are the best available netCDF conventions for many purposes,
    by suggesting that they be broken up into smaller orthogonal

I'm just suggesting that CF and GIS conventions might evolve more
easily if they were independent rather than tightly coupled.



Russ Rew                                         UCAR Unidata Program
russ at unidata.ucar.edu          http://www.unidata.ucar.edu/staff/russ

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