UIS Informatics Commission Report 2001-2005

Peter MATTHEWS, July 2005

In Summary

The 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.

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:

UIS: http://www.uis-speleo.org
UISIC: http://www.uisic.uis-speleo.org
Peter: matthews@melbpc.org.au
Addresses: addresses@uis-speleo.org
Calendar: events@uis-speleo.org

Caver's Multi-lingual Dictionary - Attila KÓSA, Hungary (To 2003), now Mladen GARAŠIČ, Croatia.

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: dictionary@uis-speleo.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: events@uis-speleo.org

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:

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: praezis@geo.unibe.ch
Peter: matthews@melbpc.org.au

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: matthews@melbpc.org.au

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: matthews@melbpc.org.au

In the pipeline

Other projects coming up in addition to our existing work (Further suggestions and help with any of these projects are welcome!):
Günter: speleo.austria@netway.at
Alexander: klim@speleogenesis.info

UISIC Vacancies

* UIS Website Manager.
* Informatics Bulletin Editor.
* Field Form Library Manager.

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