Detailed ecology survey data can be captured using a general purpose ontology
Broadscale ecology assessments require combination of data from many sources. The Australian Terrestrial Ecosystems Research Network (TERN) aggregates data collected by multiple statutory agencies and research organizations. This data is structured according to a variety of schemas. We have developed a system to harmonize the site-based observation data following the ISO/OGC Observations and Measurements model. This is implemented using (i) the W3C SSN ontology, with extensions for (ii) the TERN Sites domain, (iii) homogeneous observation collections. This implementation also depends on use of (iv) controlled-vocabularies for observable-properties, and (v) for the value-spaces of these, as well as other elements of the observation descriptions. For use in this platform, all published as linked-data, with a distinct persistent URI for each vocabulary item). Each data provider has its own set of vocabularies, so while the core ontology has enabled structural harmonization, full semantic harmonization also depends on the strategy used to align the controlled vocabularies.
This presentation was given in July 2019 at the Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) Summer Meeting held in Tacoma, Washington.