News > Standards

One of the big debates surrounding INSPIRE in 2017 centers around the fitness for purpose of the INSPIRE data specifications. Earlier this year, the Germany National Mapping and Cadastral Agency BKG thus asked us to perform a study to identify practical issues in the INSPIRE data specifications that make implementation and usage harder. They also asked us to document recommendations on how to improve on the Technical Guidance and the Implementing Rules.

As you might know, one of our company’s goals is to help make standards better. For us that means that we use data-driven, analytic approaches to identify places of overspecification or underspecification as well as inefficient or overly complicated data structures. We also systematically look for mismatches between existing data and the targeted implementation platforms. In earlier posts, we’ve described some of the methods we use for that.

One of the big debates surrounding INSPIRE in 2017 centers around the fitness for purpose of the INSPIRE data specifications. Earlier this year, the Germany National Mapping and Cadastral Agency BKG thus asked us to perform a study to identify practical issues in the INSPIRE data specifications that make implementation and usage harder. They also asked us to document recommendations on how to improve on the Technical Guidance and the Implementing Rules.

As you might know, one of our company’s goals is to help make standards better. For us that means that we use data-driven, analytic approaches to identify places of overspecification or underspecification as well as inefficient or overly complicated data structures. We also systematically look for mismatches between existing data and the targeted implementation platforms. In earlier posts, we’ve described some of the methods we use for that.

Methods used in Schema and Data Analysis

The BKG has now published the final version of the report on the GDI-DE website.

In this report, we analyse five data specifications (Buildings, Species distribution, Environmental monitoring facilities, Utility and governmental services and Natural risk zones) from two perspectives:

  • Is there unnecessary complexity in the technical guidance that hinders adoption by users?
  • Do the specifications really support key use cases such as e-reporting or COPERNICUS in-situ data provision? We specifically looked for patterns that would be problematic for use cases such as Data Management, Data Exchange, Data Transformation, Data Analysis in a Desktop GIS and Data Publishing through INSPIRE Services.

In the report, we describe proposals where the INSPIRE Implementing Rules or Technical Guidance can be amended to ensure the interoperability of spatial data sets and services with reasonable efforts for the authorities concerned. The proposals include concrete references to alternative encodings and simplifications (e.g., multiplicity, voidable, flattening, data type).

Resources:

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At wetransform, we’re dedicated to make open standards work for our users and customers. The members of our team have been involved with standardization projects such as CityGML, INSPIRE, 3D Portrayal Services and SoilML at their previous organisations like Esri and Fraunhofer. We want to continue to contribute to effective, open standards.

At wetransform, we’re dedicated to make open standards work for our users and customers. The members of our team have been involved with standardization projects such as CityGML, INSPIRE, 3D Portrayal Services and SoilML at their previous organisations like Esri and Fraunhofer. We want to continue to contribute to effective, open standards.

OCG Meeting

We have therefore joined the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and just taken part in our first Technical Committee (TC) Meeting. We will, in particular, contribute to Smart Cities standardization and we will also work on the actual standardization process and documentation. In both areas, we believe that the data-driven design tools we’re building will help to create better standards, faster.

I joined the 99th OGC TC meeting in Dublin from Monday Evening to Wednesday afternoon. I attended the Europe Forum, the Smart Cities ad-hoc meeting as well as sessions on 3D, such as the CityGML SWG meeting and the 3DIM Domain Working Group’s sessions. Here are a couple of highlights from each of these sessions:

  1. Europe Forum: Michael Lutz (JRC) told us about their development of central tools for validation and conformity testing of INSPIRE data. For this purpose, they are putting a lot of effort into building a complete set of Schematron validation rules, which are now available under https://github.com/inspire-eu-validation. Michael explained that developing the validation rules “was a really valuable exercise to validate and clarify the technical guidance”. I think this is an important insight and think that we should also apply it to the INSPIRE extensions methodology project.

  2. Smart Cities Ad-Hoc: Without doubt, “Smart Cities” is one of the most hyped concepts de jour. Bart de Lathouwer presented a lot of different standardization bodies and projects such as ESPRESSO, FCP1/buildingSmart, ITU-T SG20 and the JTC1/WG11 smart cities working group where the OGC is involved. It seems that everybody wants to make their claim, so there is certainly going to be overlap, over- and underspecification and some general confusion about what we are actually standardizing when we work to build smart cities.

  3. CityGML SWG: One of the big wins that CityGML had was the establishment of their four semantic levels of detail. The concept is realtively easy to understand, and even organisations that don’t implement the format adopt the terminology. However, one of the core goals of the current CityGML 3.0 work is to rework part of the “multiple representation framework”. The main objective is to decouple interior and exterior level of detail. Looks like we’ll have three interior and three exterior levels in the future!

  4. 3D Information Models Working Group: To me, the most interesting presentation was about standards used for simulation and modelling, particularly in the defense sector. In that space groups like the Simulation Interoperability Standards Organisation work to build smaller standards, open systems and architectures which distribute capabilities to lightweight services.

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