Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Common base map data for all - Canada's Framework Data guide

The popularity of Google Earth and Microsoft Bing Maps has resulted in exponential growth in the use of Internet mapping. But as Google's use of government base map data demonstrates, Google and Microsoft will continue to need access to common base map data from organizations that create it and keep it accurate and up-to-date. The GeoConnections Framework Data Guide explains how to use this common base map information, called Framework Data, in Canada. Canada's Framework Data provides physical features and other types of information linked to Canada's geography - available as discrete information layers like those shown above in the Gaia SDI Platform so you can make you own maps and applications. Canadian framework data standards meet international norms such as the OGC WMS in Gaia, making the data compatible with both commercial and custom geospatial information applications.

- Jeff

Friday, December 18, 2009

Onix Networking awarded GIS SmartBUY BPA - Google, CubeWerx, Carbon Project software selected

Onix Networking Corporation, a leading information technology provider to the federal government since 1992, has been awarded Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) No. GSQ0009AE0027 for Geospatial Information Systems. This is a single award BPA to a Small Business, established competitively against the GSA Schedule for a five (5) year term and is open for ordering by all United States Federal agencies, Department of Defense Components, authorized state and local government entities, and authorized contractors.

Geospatial technologies and services offered by Onix Networking under the BPA include Google Earth™, Google Maps™, and Google Sketchup™, Carbon Project Gaia products, CubeWerx products and services from NT Concepts. Google Earth™ Enterprise solutions help organizations with imagery and other geospatial data make that information accessible and useful to all users who need access via an intuitive, fast application. Carbon Project Gaia is a platform designed for advanced geospatial network and SDI needs, and CubeWerx CubeSTOR is a highly scalable Spatial Data Warehouse product that handles massive amounts (terabytes) of geospatial data in vector, raster, imagery or metadata format. Together, these product offerings provide a wide array of GIS options to the government.

A simple, single point of purchase for Google™, CubeWerx and Carbon Project geospatial products is now available to the government through the BPA. This Geospatial SmartBUY Agreement will make geospatial technology more accessible, will help reduce costs and streamline administration, while improving access to high quality commercial geospatial software and support products for government users. It is Onix Networking's goal to provide the government with access to technically advanced products and the highest level of services.

“Onix has served as a trusted supplier to the Federal government for the evaluation, deployment, and integration of GIS solutions and numerous government customers have already selected Onix Networking as their provider of choice for securing Google™ GIS products,” said Onix Networking Federal Sales Manager and BPA Program Manager, Dal VanDervort. “This award significantly strengthens our ability to help government organizations deploy geospatial solutions simply and economically and we are pleased to have been chosen as the single small business awardee for this important initiative.”

This BPA has been designated as a co-branded GSA/FAS/SmartBUY PMO and DoD/ESI Agreement. Contractually, the Enterprise Software Agreement (ESA) is a GSA Multiple Award Schedule-based Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA), under the contract #GS-35F-5519H. Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs) reduce contracting and open market costs such as: search for sources, the development of technical documents, solicitations, and the evaluation of bids and offers.

Information regarding the agreement can be found on the Onix Networking SmartBUY website at http://www.onixgov.com/SmartBUY, on the SmartBUY website at http://www.gsa.gov/smartbuy, and on the DoD/ESI website http://www.esi.mil/.

From Onix Networking Corporation - http://www.onixnet.com/

Onix Networking is a trademark of Onix Networking Corp. All other company and product names in this document are the property of their respective owners.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

NHD SLD opens up world of WMS and Google Earth

A prototype Styled Layer Descriptor for National Hydrography Data (NHD) has been tested in Google Earth - opening up the world of OGC Web Map Services (WMS) even more for Google Earth users.

The SLD was developed by USGS and deployed as part of prototype WFS and WMS services. The capability highlights how SDI data providers can use the same underlying data to generate different types of maps - like a transparent overlay of hydrography on Google Earth - using a standards-based XML language from OGC.

The NHD SLD is based on cartographic specifications and USGS Symbol libraries were used to render geographic features in a cartographic quality map. To produce the SLD XML, map symbology documents '6psym403.pdf' and 'topomapsymbols.pdf' were used as templates to generate SLD encodings for NHD styles. Descriptions of the technical development effort and examples are available - as well as the prototype SLD encoding. The deployment is powered by standards-based WMS which can generate dynamic, scale-dependent maps and map legends as transparent overlays in Google Earth.

- Jeff

Friday, December 11, 2009

Best Practices address key NSDI topic - "Role-based Access Control"

New Best Practices envisions agencies moving from on-premise computing to access, discovery, processing & collaboration services on Internet cloud – leveraging shared Government Service Units

A set of Best Practices for one of the most important, but least understood, areas of Geospatial SOA – Role-based Access Control has just 'hit the street'. Development was coordinated between NSDI 2008 CAP Category 2 recipients and is designed to satisfy multi-agency requirements through modeling of business processes and related geospatial service components. As discussed in the report - these Best Practices will help the NSDI shed rigid, inward-looking approaches and transform into a more agile, responsive and customer-centric framework driven by collaborative partnerships.

This effort is important because Geospatial SOA based on OGC and other standards are strongly influencing development of the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA) Geospatial Profile, especially data access and update. These efforts have matured to a point where broad acceptance is now dependent on the capacity to secure data resources. In fact, organizations that are considering participation in the NSDI must also consider how they can establish distributed security frameworks for role-based access control to SOA resources. These requirements will continue to increase as data access transitions into data management with services like GeoSynchronization and Web Feature Server- Transactional (WFS-T) where loosely affiliated parties collaborate on maintenance of shared geospatial data resources.

Specifically, the lack of adequate Access Control solutions have contributed to a situation where many organizations have been avoiding deployment of their OGC services like WFS-T on the Web. The lack of such controls has forced data providers to adopt data sub-setting techniques to isolate access to geospatial data based on different projects, users, groups of users, etc. But such approaches have been proven to add hardware, software, implementation and maintenance costs for organizations deploying their OGC-based Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) services on standalone servers or cloud computing platforms.

To meet this challenge, this project defined and documented Best Practices in Geospatial SOA for Role-based Access Control - leveraging CubeWerx, The Carbon Project and OGC investments in developing solutions to solve this security challenge. The capability was deployed as part of a distributed SOA laboratory for Services Development, Test, and Evaluation (DT&E) designed to drive out Best Practices. Rather than dictating policies, the goal was to support policies already available in most organizations and provide components for supporting SDI Access Control Rules (SACR). These components were invoked in open geospatial web services, allowing simulation of trusted organizations in a federation, reuse of existing authentication methods and definition of new access control rules. Scenarios ranging from a hurricane response along the Gulf coast, cross-border information sharing, and regulatory permitting were executed and common Use Cases derived.

The resulting Access Control Rules were defined in an XML Schema using an XML file that can be dynamically parsed by OGC-compliant Web services. With this approach Authentication services can provide access control on a user-by-user basis. For example, several rules can be specified in an document, where each rule can apply to a different set of usernames, groups and/or roles.

The approach modeled in this project is compatible with IT industry-wide efforts working on “Identity Metasystems”, OASIS security standards for Information Cards, and the Web Services Protocol Stack that includes WS-Security, WS-Trust, WS-MetadataExchange and WS-SecurityPolicy. In particular, this Best Practice for Role-based Access Control adopted the philosophy of using Authentication methods defined by IT industry-wide efforts and focused on defining reusable SDI Access Control Rules for granting access to OGC services by role, geographic extent, feature and SDI operations. This approach adds significant new capability for deploying service components by allowing organizations to optimize data services and reduce costs.

- Jeff