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BP Principles

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This page attempts to set out the wider context or the broad scope of problems that the Best Practice Document will address. As such this may well form the introduction of the document itself. Rather than highly detailed description of "How" semantic and linked data approaches are used with reference to geospatial information, the intention is to discuss "What" are problems we are trying to solve and in terms of the communities "Who" will benefit from adopting these best practices. The detailed "How" part will of course make up the majority of the document.


  1. The key principle then is that through the adoption of best practices identified in the documents the discoverability and linkability of Geospatial Information published on the web should be improved. This recognises that currently that geospatial information is not easily discoverable, or for that matter easy to link to an an appropriate level of granularity for many applications. For example it should be possible to email a link to a individual land parcel stored in a municipal cadastral system.
  2. We should aim to deliver benefits to the broadest community of web users possible, application and tool builders addressing the needs to the mass consumer market should find value and guidance in the document. While our primary goal is to develop 5-star linked spatial data, we hope that our solutions for dicoverability and linkability can also be applied to other spatial data on the Web.
  3. We will not reinvent.
  4. We should comply with the principles of the W3C Best Practices for Publishing Linked Data and the (developing) W3C Data on the Web Best Practices. Where we do not, this will be identified and explained.
  5. Best practices have to be visible. This means: "We will link to at least one (or two, three?) publicly available example(s) of a non-toy dataset that follows the best practice." The best practice document is about the web, and it is difficult to state something as best practice on the web if there is nothing attainable on the web that illustrates the best practice.
  6. Something related to keeping the best practice advice up to date -- like that it will be reviewed every 3 years or something (I am uncomfortable about this one-- klt)
  7. Best practices should have the goal of making it easy for non-experts to work with spatial data on the web. I.e. easy to find (this is also mentioned as a requirement in the UCR), but also easy to publish and easy to use (these two are not mentioned as requirements) -- Linda
  8. In some cases, we make best practice recommendations on matters that are not exclusively related to spatial data on the web as defined in our Charter, but are considered by the Working Group to be essential considerations in some use cases for publishing and consuming Spatial Data on the Web. -- Kerry (in response to some of the email discussions in May and June)
  9. The Best Practice document should describe its intended audience, and this audience should be as broad as possible (i.e. not for experts only).
  10. There should be many (small) examples in the the Best Practices, as examples can be a good way of communicating an idea and are a good way to start an implementation (just copy the example and change a few things if necessary).
  11. We should avoid tight coupling with Upper Ontologies ("compatible with" rather than "dependent upon"); we want to avoid data publishers having to commit to a given world view, as specified within a particular Upper Ontology, in order for them to use the Best Practices and any ontologies we develop ourselves.
  12. The Best Practices must be actionable by web application developers who just (!) want to use spatial data not become GIS experts; spatial data is just one facet of the information space they work with, so let's not make it special by requiring up front knowledge.
  13. The Best Practices should provide guidance for data publishers, a target audience that is known to have difficulties adopting new ways of doing things. If the BP document can be read by a data publisher as a comprehensive set of guidelines for publishing spatial data on the web, these important stakeholders will be helped a lot.