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Notes from CGA Workshop, Rome, November 2001 " /> " /> Updated:

NOTES FROM CGA WORKSHOP
ROME, 5-6 NOVEMBER 2001


Present: Roberto Cervellati, Chiara Ramorino and Janet Thomson

1. FUTURE OF CGA

a. Italy. Loretta Meneghini, who retires at the end of 2001, maintains the website at Bologna. It is probable that she will be able to continue with this work, on a part-time basis, until the SCAR meeting in July 2002. It is also possible that she would be willing to continue during 2003, to provide continuity of support for SCAR. Chiara and Roberto are committed to completing as much of the new CGA as possible before July 2002, and they would be prepared to maintain the database for as long as is required, subject to the availability of resources at ENEA.

It was suggested that a letter from the SCAR WG-GGI to the Director of the Antarctic Project of Italy indicating the value that SCAR places on the CGA and its maintenance, may help to ensure continuity of the project through the changes at SCAR.

b. Germany. Janet reported that Jörn Sievers was interested in continuing with the maintenance of the database, and he thought that his institute in Frankfurt would be able to maintain the website. He would be unable to undertake the work himself until 2007, and he was not sure when Germany would be able to take over the maintenance of the website. Together with Heinz Bennat, he intends to write a proposal for submission to his Director next summer. It is hoped that Jörn will receive a reply from his Director before the WG-GGI meets in Shanghai in July 2002.

c. Other options. The need for further long-term activity on the CGA was dependent on the response from countries to the renewed request for descriptions. If there is a good response, it was suggested that we should regard the new CGA, with descriptions, as more or less complete at Shanghai. The on-going maintenance of the database would then be a relatively minor task, which could be undertaken by the new SCAR secretariat. However, if the response was minimal, the WG should seek a co-ordinator to continue with the work.

We agreed that if the work continued, it could be conveniently divided into two roles, one of maintaining the database, and the other of maintaining the website. Whilst it would be good to have one person taking on both tasks, it was thought unlikely that we would find someone competent to do so. We discussed the skills that a person would need to maintain the CGA and we produced the following list of skills required:

  1. Understanding of databases would be important. The database is currently in DB format but it may be exported easily to Access.
  2. A knowledge and understanding of geography.
  3. Fluent in the English language, and a working knowledge of other languages.
  4. Patience and an ability to work accurately.
  5. Some knowledge of websites and their maintenance (desirable but not essential).

The work is not a full-time occupation. It is dependent on the volume of material sent in by countries and the data tend to arrive in bursts. Time could be spent on researching names on maps, to overcome the problem of identifying names with different co-ordinates that should be linked to the same feature. This task would be a background activity, to occupy the time between submissions of new entries.

Conclusions:

  1. A key activity for the WG is to agree either to participating in the long-term continuation of the project or to pass the task to the SCAR secretariat. This decision is dependent on the response from members to the request for descriptive material for the new CGA.
  2. If the WG continues with the project, then we should identify a suitable organization to take over the maintenance of the CGA website.
  3. It had been important in the past for a non-claimant nation to co-ordinate the project. However, the policy of the CGA was well established now and this status was less of an issue. Nevertheless, we need someone with commitment to act as co-ordinator.
  4. The work of maintaining the website and of maintaining the database did not need to be carried out by the same person, nor by the same organization.
  5. Ideally, the person maintaining the database should have the range of skills identified above.
  6. Research into the history of Antarctic names as recorded on maps and charts and in books, etc. could be added to the task of maintaining the database.

None of us was clear how our work would continue under the new SCAR regime. The CGA had benefitted from being a collaborative effort by the WG. Would there be the same national involvement in adding data to the CGA if the work was being co-ordinated by a small group of people who were no longer linked to the WG?

2. SHANGHAI, 2002

We agreed that a good way of maintaining the profile of the CGA within SCAR was to publish a sample of the new CGA. This would have a different cover, to distinguish it from the existing CGA publication, and it would contain the descriptions received for all features that had names beginning with the letter 'A'. A separate publication would be 'What's new in the CGA since August 2000'.

With these publications in mind, we spent some time discussing and simplifying the guidelines for descriptive entries in the CGA. Roberto planned to send a letter to WG members with the amended guidelines soon, setting a new deadline for receiving the entries so that the publications could be prepared for Shanghai.

3. OTHER MATTERS

Following on from these discussions, we spent several hours checking entries on screen in the existing CGA. Paul Cooper, at BAS, had identified potential linkages of some features as he worked on the development of a hierarchy of Antarctic names. Paul had also identified several typographic errors which Chiara would refer back to the nations who supplied the data.

Janet Thomson
15 November 2001