Acting Locally, Thinking Globally: One Geology?



Geological survey organizations around the world are responsible for geological data for their own countries, but until recently those data had never been made accessible worldwide. This raised the question of whether we really do have a holistic understanding of the geology of our planet—one geology. OneGeology ( is a global venture created to increase the accessibility of geological map data and make them available on the Web. Geological survey organizations from 113 countries are currently participating in OneGeology, and to date more than 40 of those organizations are serving geological data to a dedicated Web map portal (see Figure 1).

Since its inception in February 2006, OneGeology has been extremely successful. A growing number of geological survey organizations are contributing data and through the project have developed the know-how to do so; the initiative has raised the profile of and moved forward interoperability in the geosciences; scientists and educators around the world have made innovative use of the newly accessible data; and the initiative has received much positive publicity. The reason for the success of OneGeology since its inception lies in its three unifying goals: (1) to make existing geological map data Web accessible; (2) to transfer know-how to the developing world; and (3) to accelerate the progress of an emerging geoscience data interchange standard. As a result of the publicity and media profile of the initiative, a fourth goal has been added: to use OneGeology to raise the public profile and understanding of geoscience.