Linking Geospatial Data on the Web

It was a year ago that Alex Coley and I first started discussing the idea of a workshop around geospatial data and how it can link with other data sources on the Web. Alex is the person at the UK’s Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) who is behind things like the Bathing Water Data explorer (developed by Epimorphics’ Stuart Williams) and the recent release of flood-related data. It didn’t take us long to bring in John Goodwin from Ordnance Survey, Ed Parsons from Google and the Open Geospatial Consortium‘s Bart De Lathouwer and Athina Trakas. That was the team that, on behalf of the Smart Open Data project, I worked with to organize the Linking Geospatial Data workshop that took place in London in early March.

For various reasons it took until now to write and publish the report from the event (mostly my fault, mea cupla) but a lot has been going on in the background, only some of which is evident from the report which just focuses on the workshop itself.

The workshop was really about two worlds: the geospatial information system world, effectively represented by OGC, and the Web world, represented by W3C. Both organizations operate in similar ways, have similar aims, and have more than 20 members in common. But we also both have 20 years of history and ‘ways of doing things.’ That has created a gap that we really want to fill in – not a huge one – but a gap nonetheless.

I hope the report gives a good flavor of the event – we were honored with contributors from places as distant as the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute on the US West Coast, Natural Resources Canada, the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan and the Australian government plus, of course, many European experts.

End result? I’m delighted to say that W3C and OGC are in advanced and very positive discussions towards an MoU that will allow us to operate a joint working group to tackle a number of issue that came up during the workshop. At the time of writing the charter for that joint WG is very much in its draft state but we’re keen to gather opinions, especially, of course, from:

  • OGC and W3C members who plan to join the working group;
  • developers expecting to implement the WG’s recommendations;
  • the closely related communities around the Geolocation Working Group and Web application developers who will want to access sources of richer data;
  • members of the wider community able to review and comment on the work as it evolves.

If you have comments on the charter, please send them to public-gdw-comments@w3.org [subscribe] [archive].

Better yet, if you’re going to the INSPIRE conference in Aalborg next week, please join us for the session reviewing the workshop and the charter on Tuesday 17th at 14:00.

Those links again:

One Response to Linking Geospatial Data on the Web

  1. Phil-
    just learnt about the kick-off of this exciting work through my RDA channels. I am intrigued by watching several loose ends coming closer to each other with this W3C/OGC collaboration.

    To contribute to this effort, I can gladly offer a helping hand on the topic of “Coverage in Linked Data”, we have some background in that from OGC coverage standardization (co-chairing the coverage related groups) and several projects.

    Here is the public wiki of our OGC activities around coverages: http://external.opengeospatial.org/twiki_public/CoveragesDWG/WebHome

    best,
    Peter

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