The computer revolution - implications for data management

Author : Michael J. Wiltshire
Publication : Bulletin of the Geological Society of Malaysia
Page : 331-335
Volume Number : 37
Year : 1995

Bulletin of the Geological Society of Malaysia, Volume 37, July 1995, pp. 331 – 335

The computer revolution – implications for data management


Wiltshire Geological Services, 13 St Andrews Avenue, Mt Osmond SA 5064, Adelaide, Australia


Abstract: Trends towards reduced microchip size and power requirements coupled with increased processing capacity have profound implications for the future of the geosciences. Data acquisition, interpretation and storage capabilities are rapidly evolving, and data volumes now threaten to overwhelm potential users lacking appropriate data management tools.

Large volumes of digital data are now being generated. In the near future the management of information in our industry will become dominantly digital. Companies and individuals which master the new technology will thrive.

Much of the existing information base is analog, and substantial investment is required to ‘convert the data to a concise, high quality digital form. The very detailed digital data sets now being acquired require quality control scrutiny and often preprocessing before being confidently and efficiently used by geoscientists. Both these tasks require skilled professional involvement. Careful management of both the existing knowledge base and of the new data now being accumulated is required.

No absolutely secure long term storage mechanism exists. Preservation of the oncoming avalanche of basic data cannot be assured. To successfully meet the challenge of information preservation, our industry must concentrate on efficiency and quality in our data preparation, storage and use. Mechanisms for funding the data conversion task, protecting the investment in data and in facilitating its routine use should become a priority. Attitudinal and organizational changes on the part of both corporations and Governments are needed, or the value of data will be unrealized and the data may eventually be lost.