Sunday, February 15, 2009

INSPIRE View Service inspired by WMS

INSPIRE is a Europe-wide initiative launched several years ago and developed in collaboration with Member States. It aims to make geographic information available to support formulation, implementation, and monitoring of European Community policies. A key INSPIRE requirement is defining a web service that can be implemented across Member states to provide a visual representation of geographic information by creating an image of the data using portrayal rules - making it possible to display, navigate, zoom in/out, pan or overlay viewable spatial data, display map legends and relevant metadata from any Member state.

To support this "visual representation" requirement, INSPIRE defined a draft View Service Implementing Rule (IR) to ensure that online services of Member states are compatible in a trans-boundary context - and a look into the INSPIRE "View Service" yields some interesting similarities with the ISO 19128 Web Map Service (OGC WMS 1.3). Here's a look at mandatory and optional service operations from both the INSPIRE View Service and ISO 19128 -

Get Service Metadata (m) - GetCapabilities (m)

Get Map (m) - GetMap (m)

Get Feature Information (o) - GetFeatureInfo (o)

A comparison of the Get Map request parameters of INSPIRE View Service and ISO 19128 yields even more similarities -

Request type - REQUEST
Layers - LAYERS
Styles - STYLES
Coordinate Reference System - CRS
Bounding box - BBOX
Image width - WIDTH
Image height - HEIGHT
Image format - FORMAT

Of course, the INSPIRE View Service is based on the ISO 19128 (OGC WMS 1.3) plus SOAP bindings. Why did INSPIRE base the View Service on WMS? Well, INSPIRE coordinators believed a pan-European framework should be based on spatial information infrastructures created by the Member States, and that such infrastructures should be designed to ensure that spatial data are stored, made available and maintained at the most appropriate level. They also wanted to ensure that it's possible to combine spatial data from different sources across the Community in a consistent way and share them between users and applications.
To do this, they turned to an international standard for pan-European interoperability - ISO 19128 (OGC WMS 1.3).
- Jeff


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