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Here, we describe the development and implementation of standards for the dissemination of geoscience information. We do this from the perspective of the British Geological Survey, but this perspective is considered typical of many geological survey organizations. When geoscience data dissemination occurred through the use of paper maps, standards were mainly developed by individual organizations. The introduction of digital systems for map production and data storage required the development of corporate data models. The evolution of the Web as a means of searching for data led to the development of metadata standards, first at the national level, but soon after at the international level as well. The requirement for interoperable digital geoscience data has led to the need for an accepted international conceptual data model, and so we describe the development and implementation of GeoSciML, the GeoScience Markup Language (GSML). Agreement on a schema enables delivery of data in a standard form, but semantic harmonization is required for full interoperability. The implementation of Web services using GeoSciML requires the use of Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) open standards, but difficulties have been encountered through lack of full compliance with these standards on the part of software suppliers. The UK Digital National Framework is a means of achieving interoperability between data from different domains at a national level, and it is a good basis for compliance with the mandatory pan-European INSPIRE (Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe) framework. The international standards described here are essential in order to meet society's growing demand for interoperable geoscience information in a wide variety of applications.

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