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From 22nd to 24th of October, this year’s only international INSPIRE event took place in Helsinki, Finland. The goal of this event was to showcase actual applications, to open the INSPIRE community to more external people, and to provide training for INSPIRE implementers and solution builders.

INSPIRE Helsinki 2019 Group Photo
INSPIRE Helsinki 2019 Group Photo

Tuesday started with a set of refreshingly short addresses both from the local organising committees and from Michael Lutz from the JRC. Michel explained that the priorities of the incoming European Commission under the designated president Ursula von der Leyen are highly aligned to the INSPIRE effort. Aspects such as a new green deal, digital transformation in all of society, and the impact and regulation of Artificial Intelligence.

After the intro, Bart de Lathouwer, president at the OGC, talked about how easy- to- implement standards based on “mainstream” ICT approaches can democratize access to location data. In the same vein, he put a lot of emphasis on the “spatial is NOT special” mantra. The spatial community was quite a bit ahead of the curve, but right now it has a lot of rather peculiar approaches and standards that do not translate well to achieving interoperability with other business areas. I fully agree that “spatial” has been a walled off niche for too long. Other than that, I mostly found the glimpses Bart gave into what technologies and trends OGC is currently evaluating such as Edge Computing, Maps for CAVs, Geo IT Ethics and the impact of data science to be very interesting.

The second keynote was delivered by Hanna Niemi-Hugaerts, the Director for IoT at the Forum Virium. I found it very impressive to what her organisation and others have done to establish a true developer ecosystem in Helsinki and the surrounding areas. She explained what the roles open data and easy- to- use API played in that success story, but what I was missing was a clearer view about what role INSPIRE has already played or could play in that ecosystem.

After the keynotes, we were all treated with a short intro into to all challenges. Out of these presentations, the “Find the best seaside vacation spot” presentation clearly stood out as an excellent example how to communicate the benefits of an undertaking like INSPIRE to a wide audience. We then all enjoyed a nice dinner, with an “acapella” finale courtesy of the “Three Wise Men”.

Second day, workshop day! Wednesday had three parallel tracks, one focused on challenge entrant presentations, and two full filled with workshops. In the morning, there was an in-depth workshop on GeoServer and hale studio. Quite a few people I met discussed this workshop and the general approach to use hale studio, Geoserver and the app-schema extension to provide INSPIRE compliant data and services, and I realized that due to the multi-stage nature of the process, many people still view it as a complicated process – and mostly blame hale studio for not making it easier 😊.

In the afternoon, there were several workshops that I anticipated highly. The first one was from Peter Baumann, Kathi Schleidt and Jordi Escriu, and detailed how one might be able to implement INSPIRE compliant WCS 2.0 download services. This is definitely a topic for a separate, upcoming post. As the editor of the draft GeoJSON encoding rule for INSPIRE data, I was also anticipating the Esri-led workshop titled “Making INSPIRE Useable with ArcGIS and Alternative encoding”. It was very interesting to see Esri’s work on making spatial data more accessible through the Hub product, and to learn about new experiences that take spatial data as one component. The scope for which the encoding rule was presented, however, led to intense discussions. Maybe this would be another topic I need to write an article on in the next weeks…

Giordano Colombi from AELER Technologies, Christopher Hönn and me then concluded Wednesday with our workshop on “A Framework for building successful Solutions on INSPIRE”. This workshop built on our experiences in supporting AELER and others in building up real solutions on the INSPIRE Infrastructure. While attendance was a bit on the low side, we got a really engaged group and very interesting discussions, particularly on organisational readiness for INSPIRE-based solutions. One aspect we discussed in depth was the lack of clear licensing terms. Even when there are open data licenses, a case like using data for this challenge was usually not a good fit. In preparation for the challenge, we had reached out to 41 data providers, of which only 16 responded in an any way, and in the end, only 5 agreed to allow us to use their data for the challenge.

Thursday morning then started with my keynote presentation. I started with perspectives about what makes a platform successful. Then I transitioned into how the SDI we have now could evolve to become a distributed, open and effective platform that would transform spatial and environmental data from the underutilized resource it is right now to a key component of solving global challenges such as climate change, migration and biodiversity. Towards the end I had to speed up a bit to leave enough space for discussions. As hoped, there were a lot of thoughtful and interesting questions, which were later also picked up by the panel.



However, before the panel discussion it was time for a true highlight – the announcement of the overall winners across the three challenges. All three winning teams showed how INSPIRE data can be used to solve a wide range of problems:

  1. First place: Team Minerva Intelligence – Geohazards in Italy
  2. Second Place: Team West Coast Surfers – Floods in England
  3. Third Place: Team Statistics Finland – Best Seaside vacation spot

I was particularly impressed by Jake’s presentation of the entry from Minerva Intelligence. They showed the potential benefits of building on interoperable data and services most clearly. The team used a wide range of INSPIRE components,from extending the Natural Risk Zones model with “Susceptibility Zones”, added a detailed landslide classification taxonomy built with ACE to a codelist, and finally built their machine learning model on several fully harmonised INSPIRE data sets. Those data sets were harmonised using hale studio and were served as INSPIRE View and Download Services via hale connect. Minerva has been a customer of wetransform since July 2018, and the collaboration has been very productive and friendly.

Minerva and wetransform
Jake, Minerva's Geospatial Technology section head, and I

After the challenge finals, the panel discussion and closing remarks came up, with a nice video greeting from DG ENV’s Joeri Robbrecht. I couldn’t help but notice the two wetransform postcards (you know, the limited 2016 and 2017 editions) in the background 😊.

To me, the event felt very focused. I liked the fact that there were only three parallel tracks; now, not there was less of a risk of “missing out” on one of the interesting and helpful workshops or challenge presentations. I also really liked the concept of having INSPIRE challenges, though I think the format needs to be changed to be more attractive. The way it was, the effort-to-benefit ratio was apparently not that appealing to student groups or independent teams. On our end, obtaining the data for the challenge proved to be rather hard.

So, did the event achieve its objectives? I would say, partially. It was a meeting of the core INSPIRE community, with maybe 20 to 30 new faces. I personally judged the “outreach” to get new communities to adopt INSPIRE to be rather low. On the other aspects, it was successful. The workshops were of high quality and most people I talked to were very positive about them.

I very much enjoyed the hospitality of the NLS, the venue, the discussions, and the food. I already look forward to another event in Finland, though for now our team at wetransform focus on the WE User Forum (29th/30th of January 2020,Darmstadt, German language) and the INSPIRE 2020 Dubrovnik conference.

Here are a few other impressions from the event:



From 22nd to 24th of October, this year’s only international INSPIRE event took place in Helsinki, Finland. The goal of this event was to showcase actual applications, to open the INSPIRE community to more external people, and to provide training for INSPIRE implementers and solution builders.

INSPIRE Helsinki 2019 Group Photo
INSPIRE Helsinki 2019 Group Photo

Tuesday started with a set of refreshingly short addresses both from the local organising committees and from Michael Lutz from the JRC. Michel explained that the priorities of the incoming European Commission under the designated president Ursula von der Leyen are highly aligned to the INSPIRE effort. Aspects such as a new green deal, digital transformation in all of society, and the impact and regulation of Artificial Intelligence.

After the intro, Bart de Lathouwer, president at the OGC, talked about how easy- to- implement standards based on “mainstream” ICT approaches can democratize access to location data. In the same vein, he put a lot of emphasis on the “spatial is NOT special” mantra. The spatial community was quite a bit ahead of the curve, but right now it has a lot of rather peculiar approaches and standards that do not translate well to achieving interoperability with other business areas. I fully agree that “spatial” has been a walled off niche for too long. Other than that, I mostly found the glimpses Bart gave into what technologies and trends OGC is currently evaluating such as Edge Computing, Maps for CAVs, Geo IT Ethics and the impact of data science to be very interesting.

The second keynote was delivered by Hanna Niemi-Hugaerts, the Director for IoT at the Forum Virium. I found it very impressive to what her organisation and others have done to establish a true developer ecosystem in Helsinki and the surrounding areas. She explained what the roles open data and easy- to- use API played in that success story, but what I was missing was a clearer view about what role INSPIRE has already played or could play in that ecosystem.

After the keynotes, we were all treated with a short intro into to all challenges. Out of these presentations, the “Find the best seaside vacation spot” presentation clearly stood out as an excellent example how to communicate the benefits of an undertaking like INSPIRE to a wide audience. We then all enjoyed a nice dinner, with an “acapella” finale courtesy of the “Three Wise Men”.

Second day, workshop day! Wednesday had three parallel tracks, one focused on challenge entrant presentations, and two full filled with workshops. In the morning, there was an in-depth workshop on GeoServer and hale studio. Quite a few people I met discussed this workshop and the general approach to use hale studio, Geoserver and the app-schema extension to provide INSPIRE compliant data and services, and I realized that due to the multi-stage nature of the process, many people still view it as a complicated process – and mostly blame hale studio for not making it easier 😊.

In the afternoon, there were several workshops that I anticipated highly. The first one was from Peter Baumann, Kathi Schleidt and Jordi Escriu, and detailed how one might be able to implement INSPIRE compliant WCS 2.0 download services. This is definitely a topic for a separate, upcoming post. As the editor of the draft GeoJSON encoding rule for INSPIRE data, I was also anticipating the Esri-led workshop titled “Making INSPIRE Useable with ArcGIS and Alternative encoding”. It was very interesting to see Esri’s work on making spatial data more accessible through the Hub product, and to learn about new experiences that take spatial data as one component. The scope for which the encoding rule was presented, however, led to intense discussions. Maybe this would be another topic I need to write an article on in the next weeks…

Giordano Colombi from AELER Technologies, Christopher Hönn and me then concluded Wednesday with our workshop on “A Framework for building successful Solutions on INSPIRE”. This workshop built on our experiences in supporting AELER and others in building up real solutions on the INSPIRE Infrastructure. While attendance was a bit on the low side, we got a really engaged group and very interesting discussions, particularly on organisational readiness for INSPIRE-based solutions. One aspect we discussed in depth was the lack of clear licensing terms. Even when there are open data licenses, a case like using data for this challenge was usually not a good fit. In preparation for the challenge, we had reached out to 41 data providers, of which only 16 responded in an any way, and in the end, only 5 agreed to allow us to use their data for the challenge.

Thursday morning then started with my keynote presentation. I started with perspectives about what makes a platform successful. Then I transitioned into how the SDI we have now could evolve to become a distributed, open and effective platform that would transform spatial and environmental data from the underutilized resource it is right now to a key component of solving global challenges such as climate change, migration and biodiversity. Towards the end I had to speed up a bit to leave enough space for discussions. As hoped, there were a lot of thoughtful and interesting questions, which were later also picked up by the panel.



However, before the panel discussion it was time for a true highlight – the announcement of the overall winners across the three challenges. All three winning teams showed how INSPIRE data can be used to solve a wide range of problems:

  1. First place: Team Minerva Intelligence – Geohazards in Italy
  2. Second Place: Team West Coast Surfers – Floods in England
  3. Third Place: Team Statistics Finland – Best Seaside vacation spot

I was particularly impressed by Jake’s presentation of the entry from Minerva Intelligence. They showed the potential benefits of building on interoperable data and services most clearly. The team used a wide range of INSPIRE components,from extending the Natural Risk Zones model with “Susceptibility Zones”, added a detailed landslide classification taxonomy built with ACE to a codelist, and finally built their machine learning model on several fully harmonised INSPIRE data sets. Those data sets were harmonised using hale studio and were served as INSPIRE View and Download Services via hale connect. Minerva has been a customer of wetransform since July 2018, and the collaboration has been very productive and friendly.

Minerva and wetransform
Jake, Minerva's Geospatial Technology section head, and I

After the challenge finals, the panel discussion and closing remarks came up, with a nice video greeting from DG ENV’s Joeri Robbrecht. I couldn’t help but notice the two wetransform postcards (you know, the limited 2016 and 2017 editions) in the background 😊.

To me, the event felt very focused. I liked the fact that there were only three parallel tracks; now, not there was less of a risk of “missing out” on one of the interesting and helpful workshops or challenge presentations. I also really liked the concept of having INSPIRE challenges, though I think the format needs to be changed to be more attractive. The way it was, the effort-to-benefit ratio was apparently not that appealing to student groups or independent teams. On our end, obtaining the data for the challenge proved to be rather hard.

So, did the event achieve its objectives? I would say, partially. It was a meeting of the core INSPIRE community, with maybe 20 to 30 new faces. I personally judged the “outreach” to get new communities to adopt INSPIRE to be rather low. On the other aspects, it was successful. The workshops were of high quality and most people I talked to were very positive about them.

I very much enjoyed the hospitality of the NLS, the venue, the discussions, and the food. I already look forward to another event in Finland, though for now our team at wetransform focus on the WE User Forum (29th/30th of January 2020,Darmstadt, German language) and the INSPIRE 2020 Dubrovnik conference.

Here are a few other impressions from the event:



(more)

This year’s INSPIRE event is being held in Helsinki from the 22nd to the 24th of October, with the theme of harvesting the “Sea the of European Spatial Data”. Coders, project managers and data owners will come together to discuss the latest trends and to inspire new developments.

The Highlights

Data Challenges

The event will facilitate different data challenges that aim at solving real world problems by using open data and innovative technology. The topics for these will range from finding the best seaside vacation whilst ensuring sustainability, to making everyday commutes better by using weather, air quality and road data. Wetransform has also organized a data challenge along with AELER technologies that will focus on optimization of intermodal freight transportation. Whether you’re a student, developer or a project manager, each of these data challenges will provide you with valuable insights into the usage of open data. You can learn more about these challenges here.

Workshops

INSPIRE implementation consists of various stages such as metadata management, data transformation, publishing services and validation. Each of these stages can be tackled in a variety of ways. After these stages have been tackled, you still have to build applications on the INSPIRE standard.

To this end, the event will host workshops that will demonstrate some of the best practices for INSPIRE implementations such as using OGC API features and building applications on top of the INSPIRE standard.

Keynotes

The keynotes will be delivered by some of the most prominent personalities of the INSPIRE world. These are the ones that have been involved in the conceptualization, development, execution and the application of the INSPIRE standard. Bart De Lathouwer (President of the Open Geospatial Consortium), Hanna Niemi-Hugaerts (Director, IoT, Forum Virium) and our very own, Thorsten Reitz (Founder and CEO, wetransform GmbH) will be keynote speakers at the conference.

Their talks will discuss the past, current and future trends relevant to INSPIRE. One of the topics that will be discussed is the usage of simple alternative encodings to improve the usefulness of INSPIRE data.

As a sneak peek of what’s to come, you can check out this video on the GeoJSON Alternative Encoding, and how it acts as an alternative to the INSPIRE standard in order to provide high-quality data visualizations.

Implement INSPIRE with one day of work for just 500€/year

As usual, wetransform representatives will be present at the event and ready to offer advice on implementing the INSPIRE directive. If you’d like to set up a meeting with us to discuss a cost-effective and fast approach to implementing INSPIRE, or if you’d just like come say hi, click on the button below and send us an e-mail!

This year’s INSPIRE event is being held in Helsinki from the 22nd to the 24th of October, with the theme of harvesting the “Sea the of European Spatial Data”. Coders, project managers and data owners will come together to discuss the latest trends and to inspire new developments.

The Highlights

Data Challenges

The event will facilitate different data challenges that aim at solving real world problems by using open data and innovative technology. The topics for these will range from finding the best seaside vacation whilst ensuring sustainability, to making everyday commutes better by using weather, air quality and road data. Wetransform has also organized a data challenge along with AELER technologies that will focus on optimization of intermodal freight transportation. Whether you’re a student, developer or a project manager, each of these data challenges will provide you with valuable insights into the usage of open data. You can learn more about these challenges here.

Workshops

INSPIRE implementation consists of various stages such as metadata management, data transformation, publishing services and validation. Each of these stages can be tackled in a variety of ways. After these stages have been tackled, you still have to build applications on the INSPIRE standard.

To this end, the event will host workshops that will demonstrate some of the best practices for INSPIRE implementations such as using OGC API features and building applications on top of the INSPIRE standard.

Keynotes

The keynotes will be delivered by some of the most prominent personalities of the INSPIRE world. These are the ones that have been involved in the conceptualization, development, execution and the application of the INSPIRE standard. Bart De Lathouwer (President of the Open Geospatial Consortium), Hanna Niemi-Hugaerts (Director, IoT, Forum Virium) and our very own, Thorsten Reitz (Founder and CEO, wetransform GmbH) will be keynote speakers at the conference.

Their talks will discuss the past, current and future trends relevant to INSPIRE. One of the topics that will be discussed is the usage of simple alternative encodings to improve the usefulness of INSPIRE data.

As a sneak peek of what’s to come, you can check out this video on the GeoJSON Alternative Encoding, and how it acts as an alternative to the INSPIRE standard in order to provide high-quality data visualizations.

Implement INSPIRE with one day of work for just 500€/year

As usual, wetransform representatives will be present at the event and ready to offer advice on implementing the INSPIRE directive. If you’d like to set up a meeting with us to discuss a cost-effective and fast approach to implementing INSPIRE, or if you’d just like come say hi, click on the button below and send us an e-mail!

(more)

As we shift to data-driven approaches towards decision-making, location intelligence begins to matter more and more. The effect of geodata encompasses many industries including construction and engineering, energy, insurance and real estate. The interoperability of geodata continues to play a critical part in facilitating information exchange across these industries.

From April 2nd to 4th 2019, the Geodata community came together for Geospatial World Forum. Stakeholders shared the relevance of geodata in different sectors. They presented a 360-degree perspective of the role played by geodata across different industries, including the challenges faced by different organizations and identifying where opportunities for collaboration exist. Specifically, the importance of location intelligence in bridging knowledge gaps and digitizing economies was brought to the forefront.

A recurring theme was that of the intersection of geodata and smart cities. Smart cities provide resilience, situational awareness and decision support. Covering aspects from building schools in the optimal location to provide the access to all citizens, to long-term goals such as containing climate change, smart cities centrally are aimed at improving the quality of life. To create an encompassing smart city from a truly data-driven perspecitve, reliable and well-maintained geodata is a must.

Marino Cavallo, the Head of Research and Innovation at the City of Bologna, spoke of the importance of the link between smart cities and sustainability, and how open geodata can boost citizen participation. The speech also included the example of Bologna to demonstrate how nature-based solutions can promote social cohesion, new enterprises and civic engament. You can find the paper abstract here and the presentation here.

Akshat Bajaj, wetransform’s marketing manager, presented on how an interoperable geodata could allow you to form a concrete basis to meet reporting standards. Achieving easy extensibility in such a situation promotes streamlined shift towards data-based approaches, which forms a reliable launch pad for developing smart city infrastructures. The case study focused on extending an INSPIRE dataset to XML type 2.

It focused on identifying a method to easily extend INSPIRE data to meet e-reporting obligations, the challenges faced, and how they were overcome. Check out the abstract and presentation now!

Would you like to know more about such projects? Feel free to contact us and fully understand how you can extend open data to meet business requirements. If you would like to have a go at it yourself, you can register for a free trial of our product, hale connect, a cost-efficient cloud-based platform that allows you to comply with open standards with minimal efforts.

As we shift to data-driven approaches towards decision-making, location intelligence begins to matter more and more. The effect of geodata encompasses many industries including construction and engineering, energy, insurance and real estate. The interoperability of geodata continues to play a critical part in facilitating information exchange across these industries.

From April 2nd to 4th 2019, the Geodata community came together for Geospatial World Forum. Stakeholders shared the relevance of geodata in different sectors. They presented a 360-degree perspective of the role played by geodata across different industries, including the challenges faced by different organizations and identifying where opportunities for collaboration exist. Specifically, the importance of location intelligence in bridging knowledge gaps and digitizing economies was brought to the forefront.

A recurring theme was that of the intersection of geodata and smart cities. Smart cities provide resilience, situational awareness and decision support. Covering aspects from building schools in the optimal location to provide the access to all citizens, to long-term goals such as containing climate change, smart cities centrally are aimed at improving the quality of life. To create an encompassing smart city from a truly data-driven perspecitve, reliable and well-maintained geodata is a must.

Marino Cavallo, the Head of Research and Innovation at the City of Bologna, spoke of the importance of the link between smart cities and sustainability, and how open geodata can boost citizen participation. The speech also included the example of Bologna to demonstrate how nature-based solutions can promote social cohesion, new enterprises and civic engament. You can find the paper abstract here and the presentation here.

Akshat Bajaj, wetransform’s marketing manager, presented on how an interoperable geodata could allow you to form a concrete basis to meet reporting standards. Achieving easy extensibility in such a situation promotes streamlined shift towards data-based approaches, which forms a reliable launch pad for developing smart city infrastructures. The case study focused on extending an INSPIRE dataset to XML type 2.

It focused on identifying a method to easily extend INSPIRE data to meet e-reporting obligations, the challenges faced, and how they were overcome. Check out the abstract and presentation now!

Would you like to know more about such projects? Feel free to contact us and fully understand how you can extend open data to meet business requirements. If you would like to have a go at it yourself, you can register for a free trial of our product, hale connect, a cost-efficient cloud-based platform that allows you to comply with open standards with minimal efforts.

(more)

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INTERGEO 2018
08.10.2018 by Akshat Bajaj, Thorsten Reitz

INTERGEO 2018 is right around the corner, and will be bigger than ever. From 16th to 18th October, the EU Geodata community will come together in Messe Frankfurt with the aim to influence and innovate the very DNA of digital initiatives: geodata. With a diverse range of speakers and organizations joining in, all participants will be exposed to different perspectives on the rapid changes currently happening in the world of geodata.

Join us at our booth 12.1F.033 to learn about unique possibilities in Data Modeling, Data Transformations and Publishing and Viewing of WFS, WMS and ATOM services. See how you can solve challenges around INSPIRE, XPlanung, and ALKIS by leveraging our tools, Hale Connect and Hale Studio.

INTERGEO 2018 is right around the corner, and will be bigger than ever. From 16th to 18th October, the EU Geodata community will come together in Messe Frankfurt with the aim to influence and innovate the very DNA of digital initiatives: geodata. With a diverse range of speakers and organizations joining in, all participants will be exposed to different perspectives on the rapid changes currently happening in the world of geodata.

Join us at our booth 12.1F.033 to learn about unique possibilities in Data Modeling, Data Transformations and Publishing and Viewing of WFS, WMS and ATOM services. See how you can solve challenges around INSPIRE, XPlanung, and ALKIS by leveraging our tools, Hale Connect and Hale Studio.

(more)