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In SummaryThe main work over the period:
Special thanks go to the people who have made the above possible: Steff Näff (Switzerland) for his very generous provision of the new Internet facilities for UIS, Brian Finlayson (Australia) for his very generous provision since 1994 of the original website host, Philipp Häuselmann (Switzerland) for the surface mapping symbols, Andreas Neumann (Switzerland) for initially leading our Cave Data Exchange Format Working Group and for designing and hosting its website until 2004, all the participants in the above working group for their discussions and insights, Fernando Andreu (UK) for taking on the job of UIS Website Addresses Manager, Peter Stavropoulos (Greece) for taking over the International Speleo Calendar from Roger Taylor (Australia) who operated the calendar for the previous seven years, and Mladen Garašič (Croatia) who recently provided Croatian for our Cavers Multi-lingual Dictionary, and has also generously taken over its leadership, replacing Attila Kósa (Hungary), who died in 2003.
- setting up of UIS' new Internet facilities under their own domain name (uis-speleo.org), and moving and consolidating three websites (UIS, UISIC and CaveXML) across to this new UIS server. UIS Commissions will also now be able to load and update their own websites on this server.
- assistance to the President in his efforts to make UIS documents widely available on the UIS website, and in as many official UIS languages as possible.
- creation of additional UIS web pages: (1) details of all known national speleo organisations including their publications and current contact details, (2) speleo volunteer vacancies, and (3) guidelines and standards from UIS and other speleo organisations.
- publication of a first draft of recommended surface karst mapping symbols for discussion (in collaboration with IGU).
- the addition of suggested database table structures for map lists, data quality and security, and data attribution and history. These are added to the existing basic cave database table structures.
- collaboration with Australia in the design of its new web-based national cave database, which uses UISIC's proposed cave/karst data field definitions and table structures.
- further progress with the Cave Data Exchange Format Working Group and CaveXML.
- a ninth language received and a new leader for our Caver's Multi-lingual Dictionary.
In the next period the main push will be to make up for this period's lack of advance in the Commission's core work with cave/karst data field definitions, and in engaging the wider cave documentation community. Critical to this will be bringing the Commission's website up to date, and resurrecting its cavedata mailing list, Informatics Bulletin, and contact list. To help achieve this I am looking for a volunteer to take over my work of management of the main UIS website, and a volunteer to edit our Informatics Bulletin. I am happy to continue as President of the Commission if UIS wishes.
Further details of our work for the period can be found below. Anyone is very welcome to help with any of this work - please just contact the relevant leader.
UIS Internet Facilities - Peter MATTHEWS, Australia
The Commission has continued to produce and manage the main UIS Internet facilities and web pages. Though important, this "administration" work has significantly impacted the Commission's core speleological work with cave/karst data techniques, therefore the Commission is currently advertising for an experienced volunteer to take over the management of the UIS website. We are also reviewing whether now is the time for the Internet policies and routine website work to come directly under the UIS Bureau, with UISIC performing only a technical management role. The Internet work for UIS during the period has included:
- setting up of UIS' new Internet facilities with their own domain name (uis-speleo.org), and moving, consolidating and restructuring three websites (UIS, UISIC and CaveXML) across to this new UIS server. The server facilities have very generously been donated by Stefan (Steff) Näff of Switzerland, and include such things as Domain Name Service, website, email redirections, mailing lists, and open-source database facilities. UIS Commissions will also now be able to load and update their own websites on this server.
- assistance to the President in his efforts to raise the profile of UIS by loading his What is UIS? document, and UIS external and internal documents in as many official UIS languages as possible. We have also collaborated in drafting a document for Bureau consideration concerning the various responsibilities and policies associated with UIS' Internet facilities.
- setting up of generic email addresses for UIS such as "email@example.com", "firstname.lastname@example.org", etc., which permits a constant email address regardless of changes to their true email address.
- continued production of the International Speleo Calendar.
- and with the appointment of Fernando Andreu of the UK who looks after all the people and organisation address changes on the website, we now effectively have an Internet Team of Site Provider, Website Manager, Technical Manager, Website Addresses Manager, and International Speleo Calendar Editor.
- a major effort to gather current details and publish a list of national speleological organisations, their contact details and their publications.
- loading on the website of: (1) PDF versions of the UIS-BULLETIN so that people can print their own copy directly from the website, (2) requests for volunteers, and (3) links to speleo guideline documents by UIS and other organisations.
Caver's Multi-lingual Dictionary - Attila KÓSA, Hungary (To 2003), now Mladen GARAŠIČ, Croatia.
UIS: http://www.uis-speleo.org UISIC: http://www.uisic.uis-speleo.org Peter: email@example.com Addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org Calendar: email@example.com
Sadly, international speleology and UISIC lost one of its hard workers when Attila died in October 2003. Attila and I converted his four-languages paper-based Cavers Living Dictionary to the web in 1998, and with the help of collaborators built it up to eight languages by 2000. Mladen GARAŠIČ of Croatia has recently generously offered to take over the leadership of the Working Group, and has also contributed Croatian, which when loaded will bring the Dictionary up to nine languages. We have also had an offer of help from a group in Hungary to develop the dictionary further.
Dictionary: http://www.uisic.uis-speleo.org/lexintro.html Mladen: firstname.lastname@example.org
International Speleo Calendar - Roger TAYLOR, Australia (to 2003), now Peter STAVROPOULOS, Greece
Peter Stavropoulos of Greece has taken over from Roger Taylor of Australia who faithfully updated the Calendar for seven years (Thanks, Roger!). Peter is now also developing a web-based database version of the calendar. Please be sure to keep Peter advised of your national and international events and so get the benefit of the extra publicity.
Calendar: http://www.uis-speleo.org/calendar/events.html Peter: email@example.com
Survey and Mapping Working Group - Philipp HÄUSELMANN, Switzerland
This Working Group tackles the various issues related to cave/karst survey and mapping. Where a significant amount of work is needed on a particular task, it creates a sub-group to help focus on that work. During the period:
- General: Replied to various questions regarding mapping, computer programs, and the history of the BCRA grading scale.
- Basic Cave Mapping Symbols: Published the symbols in various journals, for example Acta Carsologica (Slovenia) and Spelunca (France)
- Surface Karst Mapping Symbols: Emailed and met with various scientific workers. The first round of draft symbols has been loaded on the web for comment. This sub- Working Group is in collaboration with the Karst Commission of the International Geographical Union. The symbols are expected to be discussed and hopefully voted upon at the coming International Congress.
- Cave Data Exchange Format: (Andreas NEUMANN, Switzerland, to 2002, now Peter MATTHEWS, Australia) The purpose of this sub- Working Group is to establish an agreed transfer and archiving format (CaveXML) for cave/karst data using XML standards (Extensible Markup Language). Andreas had to give up the leadership due to pressure of work, but continued to host the website until it moved to the UIS server (Thanks, Andreas!). The WG is currently under the umbrella of Survey and Mapping because in the first instance we have been using cave survey data as a pilot. The group has its own mailing list for discussion and a website to record progress. After vigorous and wide-ranging early discussion the group lost a lot of momentum after we lost our mailing list because of hacking, and had further delays re-establishing the mailing list, moving our website to the new UIS server, and re-assessing our work plan in the light of these delays, and the complexity of survey data and how it is handled. We are now ready to move forward again.
- Future: After the surface symbols are established, Survey and Mapping's next task will probably be survey and mapping gradings.
Basic symbols: http://www.uisic.uis-speleo.org/wgsurmap.html#symbols Surface symbols: http://www.uisic.uis-speleo.org/wgsurmap.html#surface CaveXML: http://www.cavexml.uis-speleo.org Philipp: firstname.lastname@example.org Peter: email@example.com
Cave Data Field Definitions - Peter MATTHEWS, Australia
By discussion, consultation, and setting up a fields clearing house, the basic aim is to create a wide repertoire of agreed field definitions so that cave/karst data can more easily be exchanged, compared and/or consolidated by cavers, researchers and managers. This is one aspect of the Commission's data exchange techniques proposal. The Cave Data Exchange Format Working Group (above) covers another aspect. Although over 700 data fields have so far been identified, many more are needed, but unfortunately the discussion phase of this work has not been started yet, and the web pages lag behind actual progress. I plan to concentrate on rectifying this during the coming period. The fields and suggested speleo database table structures which use them have been published on the website, and during this period we have added structures for map lists, data quality and security, and data attribution and data history to the original structures for basic cave data. Much of the existing fields work has come out of my original work on the Australian Speleological Federation's (ASF) national Karst Index database, and more recently while assisting Mike LAKE with the development of ASF's new open-source web-based version, which is using the above fields (See also a paper at the 2005 ICS).
Proposal: http://www.uisic.uis-speleo.org/exchange/exchprop.html Fields: http://www.uisic.uis-speleo.org/exchange/atenlist.html Tables: http://www.uisic.uis-speleo.org/exchange/tables.html ASF's Karst Index: http://www.caves.org.au/kid/ Peter: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cave Database Software - Peter MATTHEWS, Australia
The Commission's existing freeware PC based cave/karst database system has been on the backburner until the ASF's open-source web-based cave/karst database can be assessed. A joint paper on ASF's system is expected to be presented during the 2005 ICS.
ASF database: http://www.caves.org.au/kid/ Peter: email@example.com
In the pipelineOther projects coming up in addition to our existing work (Further suggestions and help with any of these projects are welcome!):
- an Addresses database to help maintain all the address administration in UIS and its Internet facilities (Fernando ANDREU).
- UIS Internet mailing lists for better communications (Peter MATTHEWS).
- a Calendar database (Peter STAVROPOULOS).
- enhancements to the Caver's Multi-lingual Dictionary (Mladen GARAŠIČ).
- a cave/karst informatics bibliography (Günter STÜMMER, Austria).
- a revised speleo subject classification scheme (Peter MATTHEWS) in collaboration with the UIS Bibliography Commission (Alexander KLIMCHOUK, Ukraine).
- a scale for Survey and Mapping Grading (Philipp HÄUSELMANN).
Günter: firstname.lastname@example.org Alexander: email@example.com
UISIC Vacancies* UIS Website Manager.
* Informatics Bulletin Editor.
* Field Form Library Manager.