Friday, February 1, 2008

Surrender! Geoinformatics is GIS and we do 'biogeoinformatics'

Most people associate the term geoinformatics with geospatial information systems (GIS). Encyclopedia Brittanica online links the term with an article about geographic information systems. The Wikipedia entry for geoinformatics - despite giving a quite broad definition in the first sentence- also suggests this in it's definiton for the term.
But of course the term geoinformatics has a much broader scope, in my opinion it is covering any aspect of informatics in earth sciences. However, as the term was first adopted by geographers for geospatial info systems decades ago, geoinformatics will probably always remain (sniff..) .. GIS and remote sensing stuff.
In this light, is geoinformatics really the kind of science we actually are doing at Snet? Probably not. During the last years we have organized conference sessions which we called something like 'geoinformatics for sedimentology, stratigraphy and paleontology'. Yes, we indeed had some problems to correctly label our field of interest.
Today I found this page about biogeoinformatics of hexacorals and I thought: ..halleluja.. this is exactly what we are doing: bio-geo-informatics! Normally I hate these combinations of paleo-, bio-, geo-, chem-, phys- like paleobiochemical cycles of bla bla, but hey, we indeed do a bit of 'bio' and a bit of 'geo' and a bit of informatics, Bingo!
So I decided to surrender! I confess we are not doing geoinformatics, we are doing geobioinformatics, sorry: biogeoinformatics.

No comments: