Geoscience Domain Working Group


The GeoScience DWG is a joint working group of The International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) Commission for the Management and Application of Geoscience Information (CGI) and the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC). It provides an open forum for work on GeoScience data interoperability and access surrounding GeoScience, particularly representation and more generally acknowledgment of the Earth: Geology, Geophysics, Hydrogeology, Mineralogy, Seismology, Tomography, or Volcanology.

Project Scope

The Geosciences Domain Working Group (DWG) aims to embrace the multifaceted nature of Earth Sciences, which includes a spectrum of interconnected scientific domains such as Geology, Geophysics, Hydrogeology, Mineralogy, Seismology, Tomography, and Volcanology. The intricate interrelationships among these themes demand a holistic approach to study and represent the Earth’s systems comprehensively. Recognizing that Geoscience is often the remit of national or sub-national Geological Surveys, such as BRGM in France, BGS in the UK, NR-CAN in Canada, and Geoscience Australia, there is a pressing need for a dedicated domain working group within the OGC.

The scope of the Geosciences DWG is to establish an open forum that fosters collaboration on the interoperability and accessibility of geoscience data. This forum will not only serve as a collaborative development space for participants from a plethora of organizations and communities but will also maintain and create strategic liaisons with other relevant working groups. The aim is to nurture synergy both within the OGC and with external bodies, ensuring that the geosciences are studied comprehensively and that the knowledge derived from these studies is made openly accessible and interoperable across various platforms and applications.


Geoscience data play a pivotal role in supporting decision-making processes across a wide range of applications, from spatial planning and mineral exploration to groundwater mapping, pollution control, natural risk prevention, and the characterization of local areas. The use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) has historically provided a mechanism for creating and analyzing geological models based on data, albeit primarily in two dimensions or, at best, 2.5D. However, the advent of 3D geomodelling methods has revolutionized our ability to interpolate data and enhance our understanding of geological structures in three spatial dimensions. This advancement not only improves geological models but also significantly increases the volume of data available. The evolution of geomodelling tools and workflows since the 1990s, encompassing everything from structural models to physical processes, has had profound implications for the fields of science, industry, and government.

Despite these advancements, the transportation and exchange of 3D geological and geophysical data and models with end users in an interoperable manner remain challenging. Geological organizations are actively working on managing geological models for data integration, analysis, and delivery, highlighting the critical need for interoperability to navigate the diversity of modeling tools, couple models effectively, and disseminate geological information. While organizations such as the Open Geospatial Consortium Inc. (OGC), ISO/TC 211, government bodies, the geographic information industry, and academic communities have laid the groundwork for geospatial data exchange—evidenced by the success of GeoSciML in the exchange of 2D geological data—there is a notable absence of open exchange standards for 3D geological models. Standards like Geo3DML and ResqML represent steps toward standard-based models for exchanging spatial and non-spatial properties of 3D geological data. Consequently, the GeoScience DWG is tasked with articulating and guiding the use of OGC standards, especially as the demand for location-based and geodata applications burgeons, further underscored by the increasing importance of machine-to-machine communication. The OGC is thus positioned to establish a comprehensive stance that addresses the multifaceted levels of science, implementation, market value, and societal impacts.


The Geoscience Domain Working Group (DWG) is set to undertake a comprehensive array of activities aimed at enhancing geoscience data management and exchange. This includes the development of various communication materials such as white papers, a dedicated website leveraging OGCNetwork and OGC twiki, and other pertinent documents that address the technical challenges within geoscience data management. The DWG will also manage a mailing list designed to facilitate discussion on domain-relevant issues among OGC members. A significant aspect of their work involves building and strengthening relationships within the geospatial and geoscience communities, including relevant OGC working groups, to foster and mediate effective communication.

The group is committed to conceptualizing, designing, coordinating, and implementing demonstrations, pilot projects, and production projects that showcase technical solutions for geoscience data management and exchange, utilizing the OGC suite of technologies and other relevant emerging technologies in the geoscience field. Additionally, the DWG will serve as a forum for the development of specification profiles and application schemas tailored to geoscience needs. Part of their role includes engaging sponsors to support these initiatives and linking with research activities related to geoscience interoperability, such as those funded by H2020, NSF, RDA, and other programs. Through these endeavors, the Geoscience DWG aims to propel the integration and interoperability of geoscience data within the broader geospatial data community.


Collaboration between CGI-IUGS and OGC has already been successfully demonstrated with the GeoSciML SWG. The DWG will also collaborate with other OGC Working Groups including the 3DIM DWG, Point Cloud DWG and Hydrology DWG and liaise with external groups including ISO/TC 211.


Working Group Chair: Mickael Beaufils (BRGM)


geoscience, GeoSciML

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