Europe recognises the need for action to protect the environment and ensure the security of its citizens. This requirement will be met through its Space programme, EC Directives, GMES and INSPIRE. Central to their successful implementation is the development of common specifications for data documentation, collection, and exchange. The project will address this central issue of “data harmonisation”, which is widely considered a prerequisite for interoperability among spatial information systems.
The primary aim of the project will be to define geospatial data implementation specifications and guidelines with the following main objectives. To:
To produce sustainable results for future use in GMES activity, INSPIRE, FP projects and other operational scenarios, a five-step approach will be adopted in the project. The fundamental principles underpinning this approach will be the involvement of all interested parties throughout the project; the development of specifications based upon a clear understanding of user requirements (users include public organisations and the citizen who has requirements involving the use of spatial information for some defined purpose) and the availability of existing spatial data; the use of non-proprietary standards to document the specifications; the application of tried and tested ICT (Information, Communication and Technology) methods for developing the specifications (as documented by Open GIS Consortium and ISO); the testing of specifications through prototyping; and the iteration of these steps to achieve the desired results.
The first step is to identify the users, producers, intermediaries and other stakeholders that need to be brought together to develop the specifications based upon a clear understanding of their requirements, objectives and priorities – the ‘collaborative process’; to agree a common terminology to be used within the project such that all parties involved in the project ‘speak the same language’; and, to identify the standards, templates and methods, including development of use cases, to be used to develop the specifications.
The second step is to iteratively build the implementation specifications using proven collaboration processes such as spiral engineering processes (see figure 4) based upon the results of step 1. In this step it is envisaged that the project focuses on the requirements of the WFD and a subset of the INSPIRE components – hydrography / catchment areas and elevation - considered essential to meet those requirements, but also relevant for a large number of other thematic GMES application fields, such as water resources, risk management, etc.
The third step is to see that the specifications work under real world conditions by testing them within a prototype.
The fourth step is to provide the specifications to both industry and world standards bodies for appropriate consideration and feedback. Results of work undertaken in steps 2 and 3 will be developed according to approved ISO and OGC document templates so that the results can be efficiently considered. As a partner in this effort, OGCE will provide a continuous conduit of communication between the project partners and standards organisations.
The fifth step is to track incremental costs and benefits as a proportion of the total costs (or benefits) of the harmonisation work activities and to document the process for future specification work – the ‘repeatable sustainable capability’ that will be documented within the exploitation guidelines.
The RISE consortium
(*) EuroGeographics will be represented by the EuroGeographics Head Office for management, coordination, communication and strategic activities, and four of its members for the more technical tasks: