Friday, September 28, 2007

Metadata for data processing

CSIRO's ICT Centre held a seminar 28 September 2007 by Roland Viger, of the US Geological Survey, Colorado, USA on "Using geoprocessing specification as semantic metadata with GEOLEM". There is a description of GEOLEM available. The techniques might be applied to business applications.

Essentially Roland created a portable layer between the Geographic Information System (GIS) which holds data and an environmental model which uses it. He defines "compound commands" which are a small scripting language to be able to take the data from the GIS and assemble it into something meaningful environmentally. The middle layer is written using Java.

This raises the question as to if this technique could be expanded beyond GISs and environmental applications. Could such scripting languages be used to allow large collections of data to be made understandable for specific groups of users. On the other hand could languages used to define software design, such as used for Shane Flint's Aspect-Oriented Thinking be used for environmental applications, or even language for business logic with ebXML.

Perhaps these techniques could be used to write mini-languages, using XML syntax, to define transformations. These transformations would then process the data. After many layers of transformation the result would be the one the user wanted.

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