Brief Introduction to Using the GEOSS User Requirement Registry (URR)
You can search the URR for information on User Types, Application, Requirements, Research Needs, Infrastructure Needs, Technology Needs, and Capacity Building Needs, as well as the Links between entries in each of these groups. You may also publish your information about these entities in the URR. Before starting to publish in the URR, it is recommended to read this brief introduction carefully. In many cases, it is also helpful to scroll through some of the URR Tutorials, in particular the General part of these tutorials.
Note that in order to be able to publish in the URR, you need to register and login. All that is needed for registration is a valid e-mail address and a password of your own choice. The e-mail address is only used for internal identification and will not be shared with anyone outside the URR.
Whether you would like to retrieve or publish information, it often is helpful to start with a search. Currently, the URR offers one search method, which is based on a search string. Furthermore, you can specify for which of the URR entities the search is performed. Currently, the search can include User Types, Applications, Requirements, Research Needs, Links, and the Lexicon. If the search string is enclosed in quotes, the search returns all those entries that contain exactly the search string in the entry name, description, and, if applicable, other attributes. For search strings consisting of several words that are not enclosed in quotes, entries that contain any of the words in the search string are returned. Thus, if the search string is '"air temperature"', only entries that contain the string 'air temperature' are listed. If the same search string is entered without quotes, all entries containing the string 'air' or 'temperature' or the combination are returned.
If the search string matches one of the keywords defined in the Lexicon, then the search also returns entries associated with this keyword, independent of whether the search string appears in the entry otherwise. The search for keyword matches is carried out independently of whether a search string is enclosed in quotes or not.
The result of a search is returned as a list of entries matching the search specifications. The lists are separated for the individual entities. Entries discovered through keyword associations only are listed separately. For User Types, Applications, Requirements, Research Needs, Infrastructure Needs, Technology Needs, Capacity Building Needs and Lexicon entries, the list includes the entry name and the entry description. For links, the list includes also information about the source and target entries (type and name).
Each entry included in the list can be loaded into the respective publishing form for further edits by clicking on the entry name. Currently, all entries are open for edits by anyone logged in as a user. Before starting to modify entries or to publish new entries, it is recommended to consult the General tutorials mentioned above. Of particular interest are the tutorials on Edit functions, which provide detailed information on how the various edit functions work.
The URR provides extensive in-line help functions with each publishing form. Each input field comes with a symbol. Clicking on this symbol opens a window with helpful information on the type of input asked for and, if applicable, general and practical constraints and other considerations to be taken into account.
The URR aims to capture information that is as far as possible generic and not specialized to individual users or applications, or selected countries or regions. Therefore, the language used should be general enough to be applicable in all parts of the world, taking into account that terminology may have some geographical variations. The resolution of the entries should be chosen carefully in order not to over or under-sample the different entities. It is important to keep in mind that the goal of the URR is to capture user needs related to, and in support of, their decision making in terms of Earth observations or derived information.
User Types are generic groups of individual or organizational users having very similar relations to decision making and needs for Earth observations or information derived from Earth observations. The user type name has to be unique and chosen so that the type can be defined properly. Resolution of user types may vary in different SBAs and fields. Some examples of User Types are coastal zone manager, geophysicist, teacher, climatologist, scientist, offshore industry, and public health officer. As these examples illustrate, the user types may not be disparate and may have some overlap. For example, scientist is rather broad and includes geophysicist and climatologist.
Applications are activities that in one way or another apply Earth observations or derived information in order to serve one or more user types, or to inform other applications. Importantly, applications are as far as possible described in a generic way. Applications can be rather different in extent and nature. Examples of applications are hydrology, numerical weather forecasting, tsunami early warning, malaria early warning, surveying, outdoor activities, disaster reduction, wild fire response, and earthquake damage assessment. Similar applications that have different requirements in terms of accuracy (e.g., point positioning for surveying and outdoor activities) have to be specified as different applications.
The quantitative requirements in terms of Earth observation properties are published in the Requirements form. Each requirement is formulated for a Earth observation property identified as such in the Lexicon (see below). Since requirements can be very varied, specification of requirements is demanding. In case of questions, it is recommended to consult the more detailed tutorial on requirements.
Entries in the Research Needs, Technology Needs, Infrastructure Needs and Capacity Building Needs forms should be related to a societal issue and one or more applications. The expected results should be described with a focus on the societal benefits.
Research needs that would enable new applications of Earth observations or improve the benefits of existing applications can be published in the Research Needs form. The short name should indicate the field and issue while the long title should clearly indicate the required research.
Technology needs published in the Technology Needs form should describe new sensors or techniques needed to meet requirements that current cannot be met because the necessary technology to carry out the observations is not available. The entry should identify the R&D needed to develop the sensors/techniques. The short name should indicate the related requirement(s), while the long title should clearly indicate the required R&D.
Infrastructure needs published in the Infrastructure Needs form should describe infrastructure needed to collect the observations or to produce the products that would help to meet requirements that current are not met. The short name should indicate the related requirement(s) and the long title should clearly indicate the required infrastructure.
In many cases, benefits of Earth observations cannot be realized because of a lack of capacity in terms of applications or availability of expertise in the related user types. These capacity building needs can be published in the Capacity Building Needs form and should describe capacity needs related to applications and user types. The short name should indicate the related application or user type, and the long title should clearly indicate the necessary capacity building.
Links can be established between entries in any of the forms mentioned above and published in the Links form. Entries in these forms capture the interdependencies of the various entries.
For example, links between user types and applications associate user groups with activities that depend on earth observations or derived information and products. A given user type can be linked to several applications, and a given applications can be linked to several user types, thus reflecting complex networks of linkages between users and applications.
Links between entries in the Applications table and those in the Requirements table establish the dependence of applications on Earth observations. A given application can be linked to several requirements, and a given requirement may be serving several applications and thus be linked to the respective entry in table Applications.
An application may also depend on the output from another application. Links between different entries in table applications help to capture these dependencies, and they provide a basis for the analysis of value chains and networks of these chains. By publishing these links, the powerful concept of value chains or networks is implemented. In fact, since an application can be linked to several other applications, networks of value chains can be created. The analysis of these value chains allows the linking of observations through a number of applications to end users of products resulting from a potentially long sequence of applications.
Likewise, links between entries in the Research Needs, Technology Needs, Infrastructure Needs and Capacity Building Needs forms and entries in the Applications, User Types and Requirements forms will allow to assess the societal relevance of each of these entries. There are also interdependencies between these entries, which can be captured through respective entries in the Links form.
In order to have terms used to name or describe entries in the the forms discussed above, it is important to collect these terms and their definition in a lexicon. The Lexicon form allows publication of terms and there defining description. Moreover, terms can be identified as keywords and/or as Earth observation parameters. A term identified as keyword becomes available for association with entries in the User Types and Application tables. Terms identified as Earth observation quantities are available for usage in the specification of Requirement entries. Examples of such quantities are air pressure, free surface water fraction, incidence of malaria, SO2. Terms can also be attributes to Earth observation quantities, in which case they become available for this usage. An example is the term emission, which could be an attribute to the quantity SO2. Finally, a term can also be identified as medium, in which case the term becomes available for usage in the specification of requirements. For example, the medium atmosphere can be used to specify a requirement for SO2 emission into the atmosphere.
For most entities, there is the option to augment the information published in the respective forms through reference to published external documents. These references are published in the Reference form. If available, entries in the References form can be associated with a URL point to on-line documents for the reference. All entries in User Types, etc. can be associated with one or more of the references published in References. A list of the associated references is displayed in the respective form if the entry is loaded into the form. If an entry is associated with a reference that has a URL, then this URL is included in the list and gives direct access to the reference.
The URR is currently solely based on voluntary peer contributions. No login is required to view the URR contents or to search the URR. Although a login is required to publish information, the published information is not explicitly associated with the user who published the information. However, a user of the URR can comment on any of the entries in the comment section included at the bottom of each form. It is strongly recommended that you add your name and e-mail address as well as a brief comment on the entry (e.g., whether you invite further edits) to each entry you publish. It is planned to implement a subscription feature, so that you will receive a message informing you whenever somebody else edits the entry or comments on it. This simple convention would establish a discussion forum for each entry in the URR and ensure that over time, the contents of the URR improve by many peer contributions.