In the past, the vast amounts of geotechnical data acquired annually by government organizations and private sector companies, during the course of designing and implementing infrastructure projects, were usually used only for a specific project. This meant that opportunities for realizing any further value from the data were severely limited, usually because the data were not in a format that was usable for planning and implementing future projects.
Improvements in technology and in data collection and archiving techniques motivated the desire to change the situation to enable data to be reused and shared in a more cost-effective way. A web-based infrastructure could bring the added benefit of linking together the archives of different companies and government agencies. However, the inevitable development of unique and proprietary data formats ensued, limiting the ability to efficiently exchange data.
The DIGGS Project
Data Interchange for Geotechnical and GeoEnvironmental Specialists (DIGGS) is a coalition of government agencies, universities, and industry partners whose focus is on the creation and maintenance of an international data transfer standard for transportation related data. DIGGSML defines the markup language and interchange format.
The DIGGS project was created to develop an international standard interchange format for geotechnical data by bringing together existing formats to create a new data schema to be shared by all. The US Federal Highways Administration created a Pooled Fund Project project administered by the state of Ohio, with multiple states committing funds and all organizations receive the benefit.
DIGGSML and Data Schema
The DIGGS schema is an international standard interchange format for geotechnical data, and it includes a data dictionary and XML schema that are compliant with GML. The schema accommodates a number of structures for data that is currently presented on forms such as Borehole Records, Trial Pit Records, in-situ Test Data, and Laboratory Test Summaries. These and other types of documents can be references so that can be transferred separately with recorded information about the file.
The DIGGS base schema was created from the existing formats of the Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists in the United Kingdom (AGS), the Consortium of Organizations for Strong-Motion Observation Systems (COSMOS) and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).
Following the release of DIGGS v1.0a in the fall of 2006, Galdos was selected to consult on the project and correct the schema to be GML compliant so that all the expected capabilities of the project could be fully realized. Galdos first conducted an audit of the Version 1.1 corrected many technical issues, and was released in April 2010.
A finalized version of the schema, DIGGS v2.0a, was released in June 2012, after much work was done to meet the original goals of the project. DIGGS v2.0a captures the common information that is most often required and defines ways to extend the schema with added remarks, tables, and file attachments.
Following the release of version 2.0a, Galdos developed several tools for working with DIGGS data, including a tool to convert a DIGGS data file into an Excel spreadsheet, and a tool for rendering DIGGS data to KML for display in Google Earth.
DIGGS to Excel Conversion Tool
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Bore Hole displayed on Google Earth using KML
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How Galdos Can Help
Galdos Systems brought extensive experience in the development of open standards and the design of application schemas to the work done on the DIGGS project. Ron Lake, CEO and founder of Galdos Systems was the originator of GML, the Geography Markup Language, and co-wrote The Book on GML: Geography Mark-Up Language: Foundation for the Geo-Web.
Contact Galdos Systems to learn more about our services.