Wetransform is currently participating in an exchange programm for young scientists from countries in the West Balkan. Nikolina is researching how to use INSPIRE to exchange and display information on atmospheric conditions relevant for geodesic applications. This article is based on a recently published IJSDIR paper she has authored.

Currently, the Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina have strategies at the state level, and national level strategies are under development. The idea for the future is that after adopting this national strategy, the iGEO portal will play the role of the core component for NSDI services.

Towards a national strategy: The Role of INSPIRE

Eleven years after INSPIRE was conceived and five years after its formal adoption, we can see clear results and benefits. Every day, more and more spatial data within the framework of INSPIRE becomes available throughout the EU e.g. Geodata Services for European soil data. They may not yet be harmonized, since that process has just started, but data is already available for discovery and viewing.

The INSPIRE process has involved hundreds of experts and professionals from all over Europe. This participatory approach is certainly innovative, not only in relation to the development of SDIs, but also for the formulation of public policy at the European level.

Current Situation

The online geoportal (named “iGEO”) makes it easier for citizens, governments, and private-sector users to find and access vast quantities of national geographic information and related services. The iGEO portal is currently an experimental research application, but it may have the potential to become the official national Bosnian and Herzegovinian portal for SDI.

The geoportal has already proven its value as an essential component of civil infrastructure planning and design. An actively operating geoportal means that other governmental organizations can use iGEO data and make their data accessible. This is the first step in establishing a Bosnia-Herzegovinian national geoportal as part of a national SDI.

The geoportal is modeled after the EU INSPIRE Directive to share geographic information across Europe. This geoportal was created by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The data available through the geoportal includes digital orthophotos, base maps, administrative units, and land survey information (Figure 1).

Wetransform is currently participating in an exchange programm for young scientists from countries in the West Balkan. Nikolina is researching how to use INSPIRE to exchange and display information on atmospheric conditions relevant for geodesic applications. This article is based on a recently published IJSDIR paper she has authored.

Currently, the Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina have strategies at the state level, and national level strategies are under development. The idea for the future is that after adopting this national strategy, the iGEO portal will play the role of the core component for NSDI services.

Towards a national strategy: The Role of INSPIRE

Eleven years after INSPIRE was conceived and five years after its formal adoption, we can see clear results and benefits. Every day, more and more spatial data within the framework of INSPIRE becomes available throughout the EU e.g. Geodata Services for European soil data. They may not yet be harmonized, since that process has just started, but data is already available for discovery and viewing.

The INSPIRE process has involved hundreds of experts and professionals from all over Europe. This participatory approach is certainly innovative, not only in relation to the development of SDIs, but also for the formulation of public policy at the European level.

Current Situation

The online geoportal (named “iGEO”) makes it easier for citizens, governments, and private-sector users to find and access vast quantities of national geographic information and related services. The iGEO portal is currently an experimental research application, but it may have the potential to become the official national Bosnian and Herzegovinian portal for SDI.

The geoportal has already proven its value as an essential component of civil infrastructure planning and design. An actively operating geoportal means that other governmental organizations can use iGEO data and make their data accessible. This is the first step in establishing a Bosnia-Herzegovinian national geoportal as part of a national SDI.

The geoportal is modeled after the EU INSPIRE Directive to share geographic information across Europe. This geoportal was created by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The data available through the geoportal includes digital orthophotos, base maps, administrative units, and land survey information (Figure 1).

Overlaying transparent and opaque layers
Figure 1.Overlaying transparent and opaque layers: geodetic plan scale 1:1000 overlayed over the 1m orthophoto

Technically, the iGEO geoportal offers web services allowing access to the most precise base map data. This data can be accessed by Bosnia-Herzegovinian local municipalities, government agencies and utility infrastructure organizations. The portal provides full catalogue service web (CSW) functionality via the CSW plug-in. The following standard CSW operations are currently supported:

  • GetCapabilities
  • GetRecords
  • GetRecordById
  • GetDomain
  • DescribeRecord

The Internal Catalogue Store supports two metadata schemes:

  • Dublin Core
  • ISO Metadata Profile

iGEO raster and vector layers are registered using metadata, which describes the location, age, quality, and other characteristics of the resources (Figure 2). With access to this mapping material information, organizations can make decisions based on the best resources available. iGEO represents the geoportal component of the NSDI initiative in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 Utilizing raster imagery
Figure 2. Utilizing raster imagery – Municipality Prijedor: topographic map 1:25.000 (TK 25)

The Geoportal provides the datasets concerning the following aspects:

  • administrative boundaries
  • buildings
  • cadastral parcels
  • colored DTM
  • scanned maps (regardless of map scale)
  • geographical names
  • hydrography networks
  • ortho-photographies (regardless of resolution)
  • railway networks
  • road networks
  • airports runways
  • governmental buildings
  • cadastral trigonometric points (levels I-IV)

Currently, we are working towards establishing interfaces with the GeoNetwork platform to enable setting up an INSPIRE view service with GeoNetwork and GeoServer.

The impact of iGEO - One Infrastructure, Many use cases

At this point iGEO-related experimental web services already handle data requests from local municipalities and utility companies, such as the Municipality of Banja Luka, the Municipality of Prijedor, the Municpiality of Gradiška, the Municipality of Teslić, M:Tel (telecommunications provider based in the Republic of Srpska), Vodovod i kanalzacija (RS-based local water and sewer company), Elektro-Krajina (regional electricity company), and many others.

There are two software projects under development based on the iGEO services geoportal as a principal data source: AreaCAD-GIS and BrownInfo. More iGEO-based specialized applications are envisioned and their planned architectures are at different stages of completeness by utility infrastructure organizations regionwide.

 Overlaying raster and vector layer/geodetic state map grid
Figure 3.Overlaying raster and vector layer/geodetic state map grid (scale 1:5000) over the orthophoto layer

The web services provided carry detailed metadata on accompanying data layers, according to ISO/TS 19139-2:2012 Geographic information – Metadata standard based on OpenGIS Consortium (OGC) rules (Figure 3):

  • Web Map Service (WMS)
  • Web Feature Service (WFS)
  • Web Coverage Service (WCS)
  • Web Map Tiled Service (WMTS)
  • Catalogue Services for the Web (CSW)
  • Streaming KML
  • Geography Markup Language (GML)

All data provided by iGEO are serviceable by all the before mentioned web services.

 Point-wise vector layer visualization/cadastral trigonometric points
Figure 4.Point-wise vector layer visualization/cadastral trigonometric points over the topographic map layer
 Streaming KML/KMZ services in Google Earth/Municipality Prijedor
Figure 5.Streaming KML/KMZ services in Google Earth/Municipality Prijedor: 3D buildings and building metadata
 Streaming super-overlays in Google Earth/Municipality Banja Luka
Figure 6.Streaming super-overlays in Google Earth/Municipality Banja Luka: topographic map draped over DTM
 OpenLayers (web-based) representation of administrative boundaries
Figure 7. OpenLayers (web-based) representation of administrative boundaries of Republic of Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina

AreaCAD-GIS

AreaCAD-GIS is INOVA informaticki inzenjering’s project representing a multi-tier GIS technology enabling organization-wide authoring and publishing spatial plans, metadata and design information quickly and easily for distribution, internally or on the web. The application targets municipal spatial (urban) planning departments’ productivity improvement and reduction of the time necessary for the issuing of building permits and tracking of their execution, as well as building legalization issues (Figure 8). It also serves as a bridge between a centralized municipal GIS repository and spatial planner acquisition tools by using various types of thin clients – to display acquired cadastral and urban data.

 City of Prijedor's municipal AreaCAD-GIS Server web portal
Figure 8. City of Prijedor's municipal AreaCAD-GIS Server web portal

AreaCAD-GIS utilizes iGEO-based web services to query and visualize Bosnia-Herzegovinian administrative data and topographic maps (Figure 9).

 City of Banja Luka's municipal AreaCAD-GIS implementation
Figure 9. City of Banja Luka's municipal AreaCAD-GIS implementation running on the Autodesk Map 3D platform

BrownInfo

BrowInfo is a University of Banja Luka research project initiated with the aim of defining universal standards of identification, inventory and classification of brownfield sites. It aims to devise sets of effective methods for the collection, systematization, presentation and storage of brownfield-related data for use in the future as a basis for decisions on starting brownfield regeneration projects. Figure 10: BrownInfo software implementation related to Business Zone Incel, Banja Luka

BrownInfo software utilizes iGEO-based web services to query and visualize utility infrastructure data and orthophoto maps for targeted Banja Luka region (Poslovna zona Incel/Business Zone Incel).

Conclusion and outlook

The main stakeholders have already been “inspired” in each country as well as at the European level, which has triggered many other initiatives. Awareness has been raised throughout the public sector and individuals and organizations have been encouraged to think about their roles and the datasets for which they are responsible.

All eyes are now clearly focused on the MS. Their experiences of implementing INSPIRE in the coming period will be crucial for the planning and preparatory activities already started for the review of the INSPIRE Directive. The efficient implementation of INSPIRE also involves cost–benefit considerations, which are a core part of the process. It is important to raise awareness, especially among users, of the need to monitor the benefits, which will not immediately be obvious.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina there is no official strategy for establishing NSDI, there are just borderline strategies at the entity level for Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Administrative borders and complex relations between these two entities have resulted in a situation in which we are still waiting for Bosnia and Herzegovina to officially adopt a national strategy for NSDI. Our idea for the future is that after adopting this strategy, iGEO portal will play the role of the core component for NSDI services.

The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska have not yet assigned a national geoportal, but significant progress has been made with the help of iGEO. The primary challenge faced by them in their INSPIRE Implementation is one that is faced by the majority of INSPIRE Implementers: data harmonization. This challenge, though, can be dealt with easily if the right tools such as Hale Studio are at hand.

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We’re proud to announce that together with Geosparc, Epsilon Italia and Fraunhofer IGD, wetransform has been awarded a EUROSTARS EUREKA grant. The grant with a total volume of 700.000 EUR will enable our group to build a cloud solution to make geospatial data ready for new applications, such as Environmental Reporting, Big Data Analytics, Spatial Data Infrastructures and Smart Cities.

We’re proud to announce that together with Geosparc, Epsilon Italia and Fraunhofer IGD, wetransform has been awarded a EUROSTARS EUREKA grant. The grant with a total volume of 700.000 EUR will enable our group to build a cloud solution to make geospatial data ready for new applications, such as Environmental Reporting, Big Data Analytics, Spatial Data Infrastructures and Smart Cities.

INSPIRE GIS Kickoff
The partners of the INSPIRE GIS Project at the project kick-off meeting in Gent on 21st of October 2016

We will build on hale studio, hale connect, geomajas and other open source technology to develop a full solution to design, transform, validate and publish geospatial data. This solution enables organisations to create, maintain and consume INSPIRE data easily and cost-effectively.

In the project, wetransform, Fraunhofer and Geosparc will develop several key capabilities:

  • New touch-first User Interfaces for schema mapping
  • Serverless transformation and download services
  • Cartographic visualization and analysis for linked data
  • Interfaces for Web-Accessible geospatial content

In addition to the technical work, Dirk Frigne of Geosparc will act as the project coordinator, and Giacomo Martirano of Epsilon Italia will take responsibility distribution and technology partner network.

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Wetransform collaborates with partners to build a network of INSPIRE experts and to distribute the hale connect INSPIRE platform solution. As part of this collaboration, we will regularly invite guest posts. This post was written by Giacomo Martirano, Stefania Morrone and Fabio Vinci of Epsilon Italia and edited by Thorsten Reitz of wetransform.

Since 2014, we’re working on the GeoSmartCity (GSC) project. Our goal is to demonstrate that making geo-data interoperable and reusable by means of open standards creates an economic value. Its scope encompasses two scenarios: underground infrastructures and green energy, and it addresses four target groups: public authorities, utilities, small businesses and citizens.

Wetransform collaborates with partners to build a network of INSPIRE experts and to distribute the hale connect INSPIRE platform solution. As part of this collaboration, we will regularly invite guest posts. This post was written by Giacomo Martirano, Stefania Morrone and Fabio Vinci of Epsilon Italia and edited by Thorsten Reitz of wetransform.

Since 2014, we’re working on the GeoSmartCity (GSC) project. Our goal is to demonstrate that making geo-data interoperable and reusable by means of open standards creates an economic value. Its scope encompasses two scenarios: underground infrastructures and green energy, and it addresses four target groups: public authorities, utilities, small businesses and citizens.

Geosmartcity image

The main challenge we encountered during the project lies in the harmonization of spatial datasets of 11 pilots belonging to 8 different Member States. To address this challenge, we defined a set of use cases and made an inventory of the source datasets used by the 11 pilots. Starting from these user cases, we collected and structured the data modelling requirements.

From the requirements, it was clear that the pilots would need information that is not covered by the INSPIRE data specifications. We thus decided to develop an extension of the INSPIRE data models. In line with the extension methodology described in the INSPIRE Generic Conceptual Model, the GeoSmartCity application schemas import INSPIRE application schemas and add new elements.

We initially planned to start our data modelling work on the extended data models already contained in the Data Specification Technical Guidelines (but not in the Implementing Rules) and to extend them in order to meet the GeoSmartCity data modelling requirements, but this approach was disregarded due to the following reasons:

  • As highlighted in the INSPIRE website, the extended data models should be considered as draft and therefore be used with caution. Extended application schemas in fact are not present in the official repository of INSPIRE schemas and in most cases no valid relevant XML Schema exists in draft schema repository yet.
  • Extended schemas present in the INSPIRE draft schema repository do not entirely fit for purpose because major changes would still be necessary to meet the GeoSmartCity data modelling requirements.

Therefore, we decided on a second approach. We extended the relevant INSPIRE core application schemas (included in the Implementing Rules) and re-used attributes defined in the INSPIRE extended draft application schemas (included only in the Data Specifications). Finally, we added new object classes.

In this way two important results have been achieved:

  • Full consistency of the GeoSmartCity data models with the corresponding INSPIRE core schemas, which are binding by law, has been ensured, i.e. conformity of the datasets to the GeoSmartCity data models implies conformity to the relevant INSPIRE core schemas;
  • The extension process begun from a solid starting point, constituted by the relevant INSPIRE core schemas.

We designed the UML data models with Enterprise Architect and used it to generate the GML application schemas (XSD files). In order to ensure full correctness of the XSD files, some manual fine tuning has been necessary.

To validate that the data model satisfies the pilot use case requirements, we used the transformation testing methodology. In this approach, the model is populated with harmonized data, which is then used. To perform the actual data transformation from heterogeneous source datasets towards the common GeoSmartCity target data models, we used the open source transformation tool HALE. The team behind HALE, wetransform, has supported us in GeoSmartCity, and they are now building an end-to-end INSPIRE solution. This solution will make it much easier to design data models based on open specifications like INSPIRE.

If you want to learn more about the GSC data models and download the XML schema files, check these links:

Still want to know more about INSPIRE data specifications, INSPIRE services, or INSPIRE data transformation? Visit our joint booth with Epsilon Italia, Geosparc and wetransform at GWF 2016!

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Wetransform develops a data-driven approach to the design of data models. We do this because we believe this will help in the faster development of higher-quality shared specifications, with lower risks in implementation.

In this data-driven approach, we aim to improve the quality of a data model with every iteration. This implies the question what kind of data and analysis we can use to measure quality of a data model. In this article, we’ll share a bit of the reasoning behind our approach.

Wetransform develops a data-driven approach to the design of data models. We do this because we believe this will help in the faster development of higher-quality shared specifications, with lower risks in implementation.

In this data-driven approach, we aim to improve the quality of a data model with every iteration. This implies the question what kind of data and analysis we can use to measure quality of a data model. In this article, we’ll share a bit of the reasoning behind our approach.

First of all, when we say data-driven, we mean four kinds of data:

  • Data that can be derived from the model itself by static analysis
  • Data that can be derived from vertically mapping the model to various implementation platforms
  • Data that can be derived from comparison to other models
  • Data that can be derived from usage of the data model

Let’s dip into each of these.

Static analysis of relational models and of object models has been around for a long time. There is some interesting research & development work like SDMetrics and UML Metrics Producer, but most of the ideas haven’t made it into typical design processes – when compared to JSLint or other code analysers that are part of most build processes nowadays. The measures created in static analysis focus on counting types and properties to assess size and to identify loops and nesting depths to calculate structural complexity. They are especially helpful when dealing with transient complexity. In these cases, the model currently under design might seem simple, but it imports other models that contribute greatly – and in an opaque way – to the overall complexity of the model. Some tools also look into behavioral complexity by analyzing the number and structure of the messages exchanged between objects in a model. Finally, there are solutions that can identify design patterns.

Vertical mapping is the process of transforming a conceptual model to logical models in various implementation platforms. It includes mapping a UML model to an XML schema or a relational database schema, or mapping an Ontology to an RDF schema. We measure properties of the vertical mapping to determine how well suited a conceptual model is for implementation on various platforms. Consider the following example: A complex conceptual model like the INSPIRE Data Specifications can be mapped well to XML, but it’s rather hard to map effectively to an Esri Geodatabase system.

Comparative analysis helps find out whether there are similar models, and tells us how the metrics gained from vertical mapping analysis and static analysis stack up against each other. To identify similar models, we abstract them to graphs and then compare structures, value types and labels. After identifying similar models, we assess the model under design by seeing where it falls in its cohort: Is it by far the most complex model? Is it very small in comparison? Or is it highly connected to other models?

Usage analysis is core to understanding the quality of a model. It encompasses several different types of measures:

  • Effectiveness of the model: How large and complex is an actual instance of an object graph? How efficient can the instance be created and parsed?
  • Coverage of the model: How much of the model is actually used? Are there hot spots in usage? Are there points where the model is not differentiated enough?
  • Usage: Which parts of the actual instances are actually consumed by up-stream applications? Is there data in the model that is never used?

We do not create more abstract joint scores from these individual metrics. The designers have to look at each value – most of them unitless – and decide what goal they want to reach for in their next iteration – more effective storage in relational database systems? Less model excess? They can then apply the modification and see what the result is both in the primary metric, but also in all the other metrics.

Stay tuned for further updates on agile, data-driven model design!

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We’re happy to announce the start of the smarticipate project. Fraunhofer IGD and wetransform teamed up with eight partners from five countries to work on an answer for the burning question of Smart Cities denizens:

“How can I best improve the urban environment I am in right now?”

We’re happy to announce the start of the smarticipate project. Fraunhofer IGD and wetransform teamed up with eight partners from five countries to work on an answer for the burning question of Smart Cities denizens:

“How can I best improve the urban environment I am in right now?”

Smarticipate Logo

Currently, Smart Cities mostly collect data and provide it to select experts, such as urban planners. Going forward, we believe the insights gained from this data also have to be available to citizens and businesses. The information has to be accessible and usable – there has to be a proper dialog between the smart city and its smart citizens.

Through the apps and services the group builds, citizens will be able to engage in a dialog with the smart city. They will see its information like an additional layer on reality, and be able to act on it. They push and pull interactions with public authorities, business and other citizens. Citizens create projects or get notified of them as they move along their daily life. They contribute in playful, constructive ways, to make the best possible impact. This is key for cities like Rome, London and Hamburg – our project pilot sites – that want to reach out to citizens and get them engaged in constructive and creative ways.

WeTransform will help the project to manage and integrate both baseline open data and content generated by citizens. The work we do will include setting up our platform for designing, transforming and publishing data sets in open standards, such as CityGML or INSPIRE. In the next weeks and months, expect to hear more about the data management and harmonisation challenges that a smart city project encounters, and how we resolve them!

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