Tuesday, September 15, 2009

INSPIRE Download Service implements OGC WFS

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 the ability to download pre-defined datasets or pre-defined parts of datasets.

To support the "Download Service" requirement, INSPIRE defined a draft Download Service Technical Guidance to ensure that online services of Member states are compatible in a trans-boundary context - and a look into the guide yields some interesting similarities with the ISO/DIS 19142 (OGC Web Feature Service edited by Peter Vretanos from CubeWerx). Specifically, the Download Service "Get Spatial Objects" is implemented by the GetFeature operation of WFS, "Describe Spatial Object Types" is implemented by the DescribeFeatureType operation of WFS, and other operations of WFS like Capabilities and Filter Encoding are represented as well.

Why did INSPIRE base elements of the Download Service on WFS? I suppose 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 spatial data is stored, made available and maintained at the most appropriate level. I suppose 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 - WFS.

- Jeff


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