Experts from around the world have agreed on a standard for locating information, whether held in libraries, data centers, or published on the Internet. This lays the foundation for a virtual library of environmental data and information that will be easily accessible on global networks.
"An information locator service is useful wherever people communicate, but there is a special urgency to the worldwide sharing of environmental information," said U.S. Vice President Al Gore. "Every year, governments and others spend billions of dollars collecting and processing environmental data and related technical information.
"We now hold around the world an incredible wealth of information about the Earth and its inhabitants," the Vice President said. "That information could have a profound impact on our ability to protect our environment, manage natural resources, prevent and respond to disasters, and ensure sustainable development. Unfortunately, many potential users either do not know that it exists or do not know how to access it. This initiative will make use of base standards that are so essential for people to find the environmental data and information they need."
The agreement was reached among representatives to the Global Information Society initiative, which was convened at the suggestion of Vice President Gore and organized by the G7 (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, United States, and the European Commission). The leaders of the Environment and Natural Resources Management project are Larry Enomoto of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Eliot Christian of the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
"The service standard is designed to make information easy to find," said Christian. "It is a natural complement to the World Wide Web that is such a wonderful tool for presentation. When we look for a particular piece of information,
Contact: Eliot Christian
United States Geological Survey