UIS Informatics Commission Report 2005-2009
Peter MATTHEWS, August 2009. Web: http://www.uisic.uis-speleo.org
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The Informatics Commission was established in 1986 and aims to encourage and facilitate the systematic collection
and responsible use of cave, karst and related data on an international basis.
This report covers the work since the 2005 ICS in Greece, together with notes from the 2009 ICS in Texas.
I am happy to say that over the period the Commission has been able to make progress with rejuvenating its core
work after the Bureau agreed to take over responsibility for the UIS Internet facilities.
During the Period 2005-2009
- Data exchange: a major review and updating of the cave data exchange proposal, the data fields
list (now 680 fields), and the suggested cave database table structure, particularly fields related to
recording exact cave position.
- Contact list: a major update of the Commission's contact list, which aims to record people
from each country who are interested in cave and karst documentation, and to list datasets being kept in that country.
- Survey & Mapping: the Commission's Survey and Mapping Working Group led by Philipp
Häuselmann of Switzerland completed and published the basic karst surface map symbols, reviewed
its basic cave survey symbols, and is now looking at survey and mapping grades.
- Multi-lingual Dictionary: the Caver's Multi-lingual Dictionary Working Group led by
Mladen Garašič of Croatia added its 9th language, Croatian, and loaded a major update
to Portuguese, supplied by Luiz Travassos of Brazil. Recently received and awaiting processing
are Bulgarian, Serbian, Farsi(Persian), and Arabic.
- Karst Information Portal: the Commission attended a workshop in the USA to help
establish a significant new facility, the Karst Information Portal, which aims to facilitate
online access to cave and karst information from around the world, and to facilitate collaboration
between researchers. UIS is a founding member of the 4-member KIP consortium.
- EU GIS: commenced collaboration with the European Speleological Federation's project
to produce a GIS map of European karst areas to help enable their protection.
- Internet: established an Internet Team to look after the various aspects of the UIS Internet facilities.
This team is now more appropriately under the Bureau rather than under the Commission, though the Commission remains
available to provide advice and assistance if requested. The Team Leader is Manuel Freire
of Portugal, who is also the new Website Manager and the Calendar Editor. We also have a new
Addresses Manager, Erik van der Broeck of Belgium, after our earlier hard-working manager,
Fernando Andreu of the UK, had to resign due to pressure of his paid work. Peter Matthews is our Acting Technical
Manager until a replacement is found, after our previous Technical Manager, Josh Bailey of USA, also had to retire.
The host server and domain name service are generously provided by Stefan
Näff of Switzerland. Manuel has been working hard on the UIS website and soon will be releasing a completely
revamped version using Joomla, the open-source Content Management System, together with a range of web discussion
forums using the open-source phpBB software. Every UIS commission or working group will be able to request its own forum(s)
to be set up. Manuel is also looking for someone to take over the Calendar Editor job. In 2008 the website went
down with a tricky hardware failure at the ISP, but was soon fully functional again using the generous
donation of temporary server space by the Australian Speleological Federation until the problem was solved.
We are now running on a virtual server rather than on specific hardware, to help minimise this problem in the future.
At the 2009 Congress
At the 2009 Congress several useful contacts were made and new collaborations initiated. I am happy to lead the
Commission for the next 4-year period, and am looking for a Vice President to help me run the Commission. Our current line-up
of existing and new projects is:
- Start up of web forums for each of our project discussions.
- Survey & Mapping Grading Standards. An initial meeting was held during the Congress and further discussion
will continue shortly via a forum.
- Minimum cave documentation standards, in collaboration with KIP.
- Discussion and setting of standard data fields.
- Data exchange format standards.
- Multi-lingual Dictionary additions and updates. Currently nine languages with four more being processed.
- Collaboration with the FSE GIS map of EU karst project.
- Upgrade of Speleo Subject Classification terms.
- Extend the open-source national cave and karst web database software developed by ASF. (Linux/Apache/MySQL/Perl)
- Web pages for cave documentation examples.
- Web pages for summary of cave documentation in each country.
- International Expeditions Web Database - collaboration with the FSE and CUCC projects. Covers both tracking
and managing expeditions and their data.
- World karst GIS map - collaboration with the project of the University of Arkansas.
- Collaboration with the UIS Longest and Deepest Caves Commission.
- Speleothem Dates Database - collaboration with the project of Dr Don McFarlane, Scripps College, California.
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- a Vice President to help run the Commission
- a new Calendar Editor for the Internet Team
- a Field Form Library Manager
- a Field Definitions Manager
- Project Leaders and Assistants
- Open-source developers to extend the cave database software
Site: P. Matthews