I attended a great lecture by Ian Jackson last week on One Geology. It was the annual UK GeoForum lecture and well worth attending. I loved the lecture. The aim of One Geology is to create global geological map data available via the web. Some people would have given up before they started. The concept of international negotiations to ask people to add data to something when you have no legal nor financial incentive to offer them would put a lot of people off trying! But Ian and his team ploughed on and are cracking it.
As a scientist, my natural reaction this global concept is to worry about the edges - the areas where the data doesn't match up leaving holes and overlaps. Perhaps it's because I work with safety critical data. But the One Geology approach is to collect what people can offer, put it together as best they can and then try to fix the problem. I think it's working. Now funding authorities can see the gaps/overlaps they are prepared to offer money to fix it. Before, they had no idea of the issue and what it looked like. A lesson to be learned?