UIS Informatics Commission Report 2009-2013
Peter MATTHEWS, May 2013. 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 our work in the four years since the 2009 ICS in Texas, USA. Good progress has been made in our working groups for Survey and Mapping and for the Multi-lingual Cavers Dictionary, considerable time has been devoted to UIS' Internet facilities, and a substantial chapter on speleo documentation and databases was contributed to the 2nd edition of "Encyclopedia of Caves" (White & Culver, Elsevier 2012). However a lack of volunteers has resulted in very little progress with our many other projects. We definitely need some new blood in the Commission, and I would be happy to stand aside for someone else who could do a better job of encouraging participation and progressing and activating these projects.
During the Period 2009-2013
- Survey & Mapping: the Commission's Survey and Mapping Working Group, ably led by Philipp
Häuselmann of Switzerland, published UIS' recommended Survey & Mapping Grades after leading an international discussion on this topic.
- Multi-lingual Dictionary: the Caver's Multi-lingual Dictionary Working Group, led by
Mladen Garašič of Croatia and with me as back-room techo, added twelve new languages to the Dictionary web page (Bulgarian, Serbian, Persian, Indonesian, Swedish, Dutch, Lithuanian, Latin, Slovenian, Japanese, Korean, and Greek), now taking the Dictionary to 21 languages. And currently in the pipeline are Arabic (Lebanese), Turkish and Hebrew. Our thanks to all those whose hard work made it possible, and also to Jean-Pierre Bartholeyns for encouraging contributions. The Dictionary system was also converted to Unicode, so now we can accommodate the characters from any language of the world on the same web page.
- Encyclopedia of Caves: An invitation to update Keith Wheeland's original Databases chapter in the first edition of this book resulted in a 10-page Documentation and Databases chapter covering the history, issues, techniques, and a look into the future of cave documentation and databases.
- Internet: Although the transition of the Internet facilities from the Commission to the Bureau is now effectively accomplished, in the early part of the period there was significant involvement by the Commission. This was mainly operating the facilities after other Internet Team members had to retire, helping recruit new team members, setting up discussion forums, researching off-site backups, and advice and reviews leading up to our modern new web site.
Our hardworking Website Manager and Team Leader, Manuel Freire of Portugal, had to retire. From several new candidates for the position, we selected Jasmina Rijavec of Slovenia, who has proved to be an excellent choice - a real asset to UIS. She took Manuel's original work for our new website and expertly brought it to final fruition. And working quietly in the background are new team members: Emerson Gomes Pedro of Brazil (Addresses Manager), Charles Goldsmith of USA (Technical Manager), Ken Redeker of USA (Calendar Editor), Stefan Näff of Switzerland who has for years donated and supported our web server and other Internet facilities, and George Veni and Jean-Pierre Bartholeyns, UIS Bureau members, who have been a solid support in the work.
Projects or Working Groups
Ongoing or in progress:
Awaiting a start:
- Cavers Multi-lingual Dictionary Working Group: ongoing additions and updates, developments to include subject categories, and links to term definitions in each language.
- Survey & Mapping Working Group.
- Discussion and setting of recommended data fields and their definitions.
- Data exchange format standards.
- Minimum cave documentation standards, in collaboration with KIP.
- Upgrade of UIS Speleo Subject Classification terms.
- Web pages for cave documentation examples.
- Web pages for a summary of the cave documentation setup in each country.
- Extend the open-source national cave and karst web database software developed by ASF. (Linux/Apache/MySQL/Perl)
- International Expeditions Web Database - collaboration with the FSE and CUCC projects covering both tracking
and managing expeditions and their resultant data.
- Collaboration with the UIS Longest and Deepest Caves Commission.
- Collaboration with the FSE 'GIS Map of EU Karst' project.
- World karst GIS map - collaboration with the project at the University of Arkansas.
- 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
- Project Leaders and Assistants
- a Field Form Library Manager
- a Field Definitions Manager
- Open-source developers to extend the cave database software
Site: P. Matthews