Geoss support to geo communities



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GEOSS Support to GEO Communities

Recommendations and Best Practices for Community Portal Development


Version 1.0
Revision History

Version

Date

Editor

Comments

1.0

15 August 2015

Ken McDonald

Version for public release

0.9a

26 July 2015

Ken McDonald

Updates from Lionel Menard

0.9

23 July 2015

Ken McDonald

Draft w/ revised GCI architecture diagrams

0.8

22 June 2015

Ken McDonald

Updates

0.7

15 Apr. 2015

Ken McDonald

Draft w/ add’l input and comments from team

0.6

14 Sept. 2014

Ken McDonald

Draft for IIB review and AIP Input

0.5

23 June 2014

Ken McDonald

Updates

0.4

29 May 2014

Ken McDonald

New Draft w/ input from IIB/WPS material, new title

0.3

19 Mar. 2014

Ken McDonald

Working Draft

0.2

29 Dec. 2013

Ken McDonald

With David Arctur comments

0.1

12 Dec. 2013

Ken McDonald

Draft

0.0.1

12 Oct. 2013

George Percivall

Annotated Outline













Document Contributors/Contact Information

If you have questions or comments regarding this document, you can contact:




Name

Organization

Contact Information

Ken McDonald/Editor

NOAA/STC

kenneth.mcdonald@noaa.gov

George Percivall

OGC

gpercivall@opengeospatial.org

David Arctur

Univ. of Texas

david.arctur@utexas.edu

Jan Rene Larsen

AMAP

jan.rene.larsen@amap.no

Stefano Nativi

CNR

stefano.nativi@cnr.it

Lionel Menard

MINES-ParisTech

lionel.menard@mines-paristech.fr

Guido Colangeli

ESA

guido.colangeli@esa.it

Arne-Jørgen Berre

SINTEF

arne.j.berre@sintef.no

Gregory Giuliani

UNIGE, UNEP/GRID

gregory.giuliani@unepgrid.ch

Steve Browdy

IEEE/OMS Tech

steveb@omstech.com

Gary Geller

NASA/JPL

ggeller@geosec.org

Glenn Rutledge

NOAA/NESDIS

glenn.rutledge@noaa.gov

Bart De Lathouwer

OGC

bdelathouwer@opengeospatial.org

Ingo Simonis

OGC

isimonis@opengeospatial.org

Satoko Miura

JAXA

miura.satoko@jaxa.jp

Siri Jodha Singh Khalsa

NSIDC

sjsk@nsidc.org

Martin Yapur

NOAA/NESDIS

martin.yapur@noaa.gov

Osamu Ochiai

GEO SEC

oochiai@geosec.org

Doug Nebert

USGS-FGDC

The writing team wishes to acknowledge the many ideas and efforts that our colleague Doug Nebert contributed to the concepts and development of GEOSS and the GCI and his constructive comments on early versions of this paper.
Table of Contents

Purpose and Scope of this Document 4

Background 5

Global Earth Observing System of Systems (GEOSS) 5

GEOSS Common Infrastructure (GCI) 6

Community Objectives 7

GEOSS Information System: What community portal developers should know 8

GEOSS Architecture 8

GEOSS Use Cases 10

Data Sharing Principles – GEOSS Data-CORE 12

Interoperability Arrangements 12

Roles for Metadata and Documentation 12

Registration Metadata 12

Resource Metadata 13

Accessing GEOSS Data and Services 14

Community Portals in the GEOSS Architecture 14

14


Community Portal Interactions with GEOSS 14

Community Portal/GCI Functional Interfaces and Recommendations 15

15

Experience of the Architecture Implementation Pilots 19



Challenges in Developing Community Portals 19

Resources for building a community portal 20

Examples 20

Tutorials 24

GEOSS Registration Process 24

Accessing the Discovery/Access Broker (DAB) 25

Code 25

Products 25



References 25


Purpose and Scope of this Document


Over the last ten years the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) has been implementing the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) to provide decision support information and tools to users in a wide variety of communities. This ‘system of systems’ is linking together observing systems around the world, supporting development of new systems where gaps exist, and promoting common technical standards to enable development of coherent data sets. And to further facilitate data access, sharing, and coordination a GEOSS Common Infrastructure (GCI) has been developed that enables a user to locate and access a great variety of observations, tools, and other resources. The GEOSS Portal (http://www.geoportal.org/) is a component of the GCI that provides a broad view of all of the resources available from GEOSS.

The GEOSS Portal allows a user to narrow their search by the nine GEO Societal Benefit Areas (SBAs). However, most communities are also interested in developing their own portals that tailor searches of GEOSS resources according to their own needs and that integrate both GEOSS and non-GEOSS resources. They also wish to develop their own specialized applications and components that provide value-added services utilizing GEOSS and non-GEOSS resources. To do this they will need to interact with various GCI components directly, an approach consistent with the GEO System of Systems concept and which GCI supports. Also, servicing a broader set of needs of the GEO communities will strengthen their connection to GEOSS, promote the best practices of GEOSS, and enhance its sustainability.

The purpose of this document is to help the developers of community portals utilize the GCI and maximize the benefits they can get from it. We define a Community Portal as “a community-focused website that provides a human interface to content that may come from distributed resources.” The document was prepared based on recommendations from several events in 2013: The GEOSS Future Product Workshop; a working meeting for the Vision and Architecture for the GEOSS Information System; the Sprint to Plenary for the GEO-X Plenary; and the strong emphasis on community portals within the GEOSS Architecture Implementation Pilot, Phase 6 (AIP-6). Community Portals were initially identified as essential components for GEOSS based on responses to a Request for Information from the GEO Architecture and Data Committee in 2007. This document collects and builds on subsequent work both in GEO Tasks and external to GEOSS.

The authors of this document include some the key architects and engineers who have developed the components of the GEOSS Common Infrastructure (GCI) as well as representative from a number of communities who have or intend to develop Community Portals. The intent has been to ensure that the recommendations are responding to the actual needs of the various communities. The document reflects the reality that the collection of communities will have both common and specialized needs and that the recommendations should accommodate this diversity to the greatest extent possible.

This document focuses on Community Portals but the recommendations also address user clients and applications as well as the infrastructure elements that the communities have developed to support their own discipline-specific needs. It aims to increase the content available to a Community Portal by accessing the GEOSS Information System and, in particular, the data collections that are registered in GEOSS. The recommendations will promote the best practices and conventions that have been established during the development of the GCI and provide guidance and assistance to the communities on their use. The document will also target access to GEOSS services but with the recognition that communities will likely need to access non-GEOSS resources in support of their research and applications.

This is not a requirements document, rather, it is a collection of recommendations, best practices and available resources aimed to spur further development and use of Community Portals to benefit users of Earth Observation information. Further, as additional communities actively engage with GEOSS it is envisioned that they will enrich the accessible components and services and guide the continued development of the GCI components as they evolve to better serve the needs of the communities.


Background

Global Earth Observing System of Systems (GEOSS)


The GEO Vision is to realize a future wherein decisions and actions, for the benefit of humankind, are informed by coordinated, comprehensive and sustained Earth observations and information.

Key GEO Objectives include:



  • Improve and Coordinate Observation Systems

  • Advance Broad Open Data Policies/Practices

  • Foster Increased Use of EO Data and Information

  • Build Capacity

A major barrier to meeting the GEO objectives is the difficulty in discovering and accessing the rich set of EO data and information resources that exist today or are planned in the future. The various agencies of individual GEO members have developed data and information systems that support their collections of EO data but these are targeted to their own specific programs and user communities. A major GEO initiative is to develop the capability to link these systems together such that the full set of EO resources are available to the entire set of users through a Global Earth Observing System of Systems (GEOSS). By coordinating the development of a GEOSS Common Infrastructure (GCI) and the policies and procedures for its use, GEO is enabling users across the nine Societal Benefit Areas access to this diverse but integrated set of EO resources.

Figure 1. GEOSS Overview


GEOSS Common Infrastructure (GCI)


GEOSS consists of a global and flexible network of content providers and aims at providing decision-support tools to a wide variety of users. A set of core components and functions, known as the GEOSS Common Infrastructure or GCI, was designed and deployed to:

  • Allow GEOSS resources (e.g. systems, data, services) to be easily discovered and accessed

  • Improve interoperability for existing and future observation systems

  • Document and share a set of interoperability arrangements and best practices that can be used as a reference for future projects

  • Build an Open Infrastructure in accordance with the GEOSS Data Sharing Principles

A detailed description of GEOSS and the GCI is provided in Section 3.

Community Objectives


As the recommendations contained in this document have been developed a deliberate effort has been devoted to understanding and responding to the general needs the various GEO communities. This has included discussions with community representatives on the writing team who have been involved in developing or at least planning the development of portals for their respective communities (overviews of a number of these portals are presented in a later section). While it is impossible to completely or precisely represent the objectives of the diverse set of GEO communities what follows is our current understanding of the common goals associated with the development of community portals.
Most portal developers will want to provide their stakeholders with free, easy and open access to data tools, and services. Data resources may be raw data and data products, but also metadata about observational programs, projects, and observational platforms. Decision makers at all levels are key stakeholders for GEOSS, and these are often governmental and non-governmental organisations and communities. All communities and stakeholders are welcome, and encouraged, to use and contribute to GEOSS.

 

The providers of observational assets may or may not have their own system for registering and storing these resources. In case they have their own system they may be willing to provide access to it so that externals can have access to its resources and services. Externals can be humans or machines, and in both cases, the information providers should be willing to organize the information according to a certain standard. In general, these providers will wish to keep control over their legacy data and favor the hosting, maintenance and update of such data for the benefit of the community.



 

Communities will need to be in dialogue with the individual information providers and will be interested in following the progress of the information providers’ activities and in understanding if they meet certain targets. The communities may also like to define certain Indicators which will document and quantify changes in the topic area that is subject to observation. The data resources are meant to support the production of these Indicators.

 

The communities are often faced with the challenge of supporting the discovery and access of data from multiple sources and generally are adopting a system of systems architecture (SoS) in their own environments with these characteristics:



1) A three-tiered model for access, mediation and client capabilities:

  1. The access tier is where the observational assets is stored, and will be operated by the information providers.

  2. The mediation tier will hold a registry of information providers and harvest information from these. This level will also make sure that the harvested information is in agreement with agreed protocols.

  3. The client tier will be the place where the stakeholders and the governance body will have access to the harvested information.

2) The community platform may be linked up to a more general purpose platform with a global scope that includes other information providers, Indicators/SBAs, stakeholders, and topic areas. Ideally, the local and the global platform should share protocols. If not, a mapping mechanism between the protocols should exist. It should also be possible to associate assets at the global platform to the community platform and the opposite.

3) Ideally, the protocol for the harvesting of information should be compliant with international recognized standards like ISO.


GEOSS Information System: What community portal developers should know

GEOSS Architecture


The GEOSS Information System is being developed to support distributed deployment, access and management of services on Earth Observation data. It is comprised of the GEOSS Common Infrastructure and all of the relevant components and services provided by the participating GEO communities. An overview of the GCI architecture is shown in Fig. 2 below. The initial set of GCI components included a Component and Services Registry (CSR) that contained metadata required for the discovery and access of these resources, a Clearinghouse that would harvest registered metadata catalogues to support search of the resources and a GEO Web Portal to present the GCI services to the user. The GCI also included additional registries of standards and interface used by the GEO community, and best practices based on their on-going implementation experience.

Figure 2. The components of the GEOSS Common Infrastructure (GCI)

Since the initial implementation of the GCI was made operational in 2007, considerable evolution and expansion in portal services and distributed search capability has taken place. A new component, the Discovery and Access Broker (DAB) has been implemented that enables a broader search of EO data resources by harvesting the contents of the CSR and brokering them with the extensive data collections supported in major EO repository catalogues. For a number of commonly used client protocols, the DAB can support search by a set of standard criteria and access to data and information resources that are registered with GEOSS and provided by a diverse set of EO data providers. The DAB also supports discovery and access to data collections that are visible via distributed search of catalogs and brokers such as those of the weather and Earth observation satellite communities. In that the DAB has assumed and extended the functionality of the Clearinghouse the latter has been retired as a GCI component. Today, the GEO Web Portal (now called the GEOSS Portal) has evolved to interface with DAB to provide access to the wider set of EO resources and has made advances in providing community-focused services. In addition to this interactive portal, an application programming interface (API) has been developed for the DAB (the DAB API), which allows programmatic access to the DAB for resource discovery (see section ).

Although to date much of the focus of GEO has been on the development of the GCI and the registration of relevant Earth observation data and services the GEOSS vision includes all of the community-developed components that contribute to GEO objectives. This broader picture of GEOSS is shown in Figure 3 where the components are characterized as part of a service layer in a 3-tier model.



  • The top tier (Client Tier) is the one with which people deal directly. It provides the interfaces to describe and use the services offered. It includes the GEOSS Web Portal, Community Portals and Client Applications;

  • The middle tier (Mediation Tier) embodies all the business processes required to respond to requests issued by clients. The services in general embody everything from authentication to complex geoprocessing on sets of data from various repositories and from generation of map views to statistical charts that the client gets back at the end of the process;

  • The lower tier (Access Tier) provides read and/or write access to data, whether it is geospatial data, accounting records, or catalogue entries stored in any of a dozen different types of registries.



Figure 3. GEOSS Components

In the figure, “ACCESS” implies the services in the Access Tier, i.e., FTP, WMS, WCS, WFS, OPeNDAP, Ordering, SOS, SAS, SPS. Some of the ACCESS services are also provided in the Mediation Tier and maybe access by the Clients. For more detail on the figure including descriptions of each component and service see the GEOSS AIP Architecture http://www.earthobservations.org/documents/cfp/201302_geoss_cfp_aip6_architecture.pdf


GEOSS Use Cases


As with the Internet on which it is largely based, GEOSS will be a global and flexible network of content providers allowing decision makers access to an extraordinary range of information. Use Cases are reusable functions deemed most essential to using GEOSS. The GEOSS use cases depict easy, familiar processes for providers to publish GEOSS components, as well as for users to discover and access them across many communities of practice. A summary of GEOSS Use Cases was developed within the Architecture Implementation Pilot (AIP) activity and provides a summary of the functionality to be provided by GEOSS (Figure 4 below).

Figure 4. Use Cases: the essential functions of GEOSS

The uses cases identify two types of “actors” that are involved in GEOSS but the full complement and their responsibilities are:



Actor

Description

GEOSS User

Discovers, consumes, and exploits GEOSS resources

GEOSS Resource Provider

Deploys, operates, registers GEOSS resources

SBA Integrator

Builds network of organizations and components to achieve objectives of an SBA community

GCI Operator

Operates GCI components and approves registrations

As evident from their description, the SBA Integrators have the responsibility to integrate all relevant components of the GCI and those of the community to meet the requirements of the particular SBA community. Because of this role the SBA Integrators are the primary audience for this paper.



Data Sharing Principles – GEOSS Data-CORE


The GEOSS 10 Year Implementation Plan defines the GEOSS Data Sharing Principles:

"There will be full and open exchange of data, metadata, and products shared within GEOSS, while recognizing relevant international instruments and national policies and legislation. All shared data, metadata, and products will be made available with minimum time delay and at minimum cost. All shared data, metadata, and products for use in education and research will be encouraged to be made available free of charge or at no more than the cost of reproduction.”

GEOSS has committed to: 1) maximize the number of documented datasets made available on the basis of full and open access; 2) create the GEOSS Data Collection of Open Resources for Everyone (GEOSS Data-CORE), a distributed pool of documented datasets with full, open and unrestricted access at no more than the cost of reproduction and distribution; and 3) develop flexible national and international policy frameworks to ensure that a more open data environment is implemented, thus putting into practice actions for the implementation of the GEOSS Data Sharing Principles;

Interoperability Arrangements


GEOSS depends on resource providers accepting and implementing interoperability arrangements, including technical specifications for collecting, processing, storing, and disseminating shared data, metadata, and products. GEOSS interoperability is based on non-proprietary standards, with preference to formal international standards. Interoperability is focused on component interfaces thereby minimizing impact on systems other than those interfaces to the shared architecture. The standards and other interoperability arrangements used by GEOSS components are found in the Standards and Interoperability Registry (SIR).

Roles for Metadata and Documentation


The use of metadata is fundamental to certain aspects of GEOSS, and how Earth observation resources are discovered and shared via the GCI. There are two primary sets of metadata that are associated with GEOSS-registered resources: 1) registration metadata, and 2) resource metadata. Registration metadata is information provided when resource providers register their resources with the GCI. It consists of both administrative and technical information that is used to support the resource discovery and access functions of the GCI. It can also be used by GEOSS users to understand what has been registered. Resource metadata, on the other hand, is the actual metadata associated with the Earth observation resource, which exists independent of GEOSS registration.

Documentation can refer to many things within the context of GEOSS and the GCI. If a community has a best practice or guideline that it wishes to make available to the GEOSS-wide community in order to share and utilize its resources, it can do so by providing that documentation in total to the GEOSS Best Practices Wiki (BPW), as explained in Section 5.2, or it can just populate the BPW with a summary and a pointer to the Community Portal area where the documentation is kept. The BPW does not currently have an actual register that is interoperable, so a Community Portal can only provide a click-through to it.

Documentation can also refer to metadata that a data provider includes that describes the resource in terms of quality, usage, citation, licensing, etc. Some of these topics can already be provided within the metadata standard being used. In the cases where resource documentation cannot be provided in traditional metadata, the resource provider can make it available in a different web-accessible form and point to it from within the standard metadata. Community Portals can then make this documentation available to its users via the metadata.

Registration Metadata


Registration metadata can be supplied in two ways. One way, which, to date, has been the primary and preferred way to supply this metadata is to go through a manual registration process by filling out a registration form provided by the CSR. This form collects the administrative and technical metadata required to assist the GCI in the discovery and access of Earth observation resources. Some examples of this metadata include:

  • Type of resource being registered; e.g. catalog, dataset, portal, service, etc.

  • Description of resource being registered

  • URLs for the resource metadata and the resource interface

  • Geographic bounding box and time constraints of the resource being registered

  • Standards used to access and use the resource being registered

  • GEO Member Country or Participating Organization supporting the registration

  • … and more

Community Portals can provide a click-through to the CSR registration form, which is found at http://geossregistries.info/geosspub/main.jsp.

A second way to supply registration metadata, which is typically used when there are many resources to register, is to use a Web Accesible Folder. The WAF will contain XML files, each of which is a metadata file written to the ISO 19139 standard, which is the representation standard used for the ISO 19115 metadata standard. The WAF itself would be manually registered in the CSR so that the individual Earth observation resources to be registered can be found and processed. An example of such a registration metadata file is provided in the Appendix. It is recommended that Community Portals provide a means to generate these metadata files for community data providers wishing to contribute to GEOSS.

Community Portals can also provide the community with access to the registration metadata of GEOSS-registered resources. This is done, currently, through the CSR. There is a manual way in which to see this metadata, which the Community Portal can make available vis a click-through to http://geossregistries.info/geosspub/resource_search.jsp. Once the search for resources is completed, the details can be seen by logging in. It is also possible to access the registration metadata via an API. The details for this are explained at http://geossregistries.info/portaldeveloper.html. The interoperability mechanism utilized is the OGC CSW standard, and an example of the GetCapabilities document returned by the CSR is found at http://geossregistries.info/geonetwork/srv/en/csw?Request=GetCapabilities&Service=CSW&Version=2.0.2.

In future versions of the GCI, the CSR may no longer provide API services; however, access to registration metadata may still be available through the GEOSS Web Portal. These details will be provided once they are available as the GCI evolves.


Resource Metadata


Resource metadata is the metadata made available by the resource provider and associated with the actual Earth observation resource. A canonical example is the metadata associated with a dataset, which contains information about the data in the dataset, such as timestamp of acquisition, geographic location of acquisition, quality information, etc. Community Portals will have access to this metadata once a GCI search is completed and the result set of that search is available. Community Portals can perform GEOSS searches by allowing community users to click-through to the GEOSS Web Portal or by providing community users with a GEOSS search page in the Community Portal. In the latter case, the Community Portal will need to query the GCI Discovery and Access Broker (DAB) directly. In both cases, once the result set is available, the Community Portal can make resource metadata available to users in a nicely presented interface or in a raw metadata file.

The resource metadata is provided as an XML document using the ISO 19139 standard for representing ISO 19115 metadata. This is the internal metadata model used in the GCI and returned by the DAB. Although numerous other metadata standards may be used by data providers, the GCI and, in particular, the DAB, translates all received resource metadata to the ISO 19115 metadata model.

The DAB provides a JavaScript API that Community Portals can use to search the DAB directly and provide metadata results to their community users. It is found at http://api.eurogeoss-broker.eu/docs/index.html.


Accessing GEOSS Data and Services

Community Portals in the GEOSS Architecture


Figure 5 below illustrates how Community Portals and their associated infrastructure elements may interact with the GCI. Note that Community Portals are themselves a resource that can be discovered and accessed through the GEO Web Portal—giving them more visibility. Also, note that the portal can utilize the GCI to provide a custom view of GEOSS resources, so that only those resources of interest to the community are visible. The diagram also shows the interactions where the GCI can access the Community Infrastructure components.

Figure 5. Interactions between GEOSS Common Infrastructure and Community components.



Community Portal Interactions with GEOSS


As described in Sec. 2.3, community portals provide access to data and information resources useful to its stakeholders and are typically developed in support of a particular program, science discipline and/or application. These resources may be registered and accessible from the GCI or from other sources. The community portals can access both GEOSS and non-GEOSS data, provide a view of them customized for their users and support value-added services on the data resources (processing, analyses, visualization, etc.). Figure 5 in Section 3.7 introduced the interfaces between the GCI and the community components and demonstrates the two-way interactions between the GCI and community components. The following sections will more fully describe these interfaces and present recommendations to guide the development of the community components. The goals of these recommendations are to enable the community to fully utilize the capabilities of the GCI and to facilitate the use of the communities’ capabilities by the full GEO community.

Community Portal/GCI Functional Interfaces and Recommendations


Note: The specific recommendations will be based on the experience of the GCI component developers and the community teams that have or will be developing components that interact with the GCI. They will be added to the report as they are discussed and approved by the writing team.
The highlighted interface shown below in red is the link from the GCI to a community-developed portal and represents the most basic interactions between the GCI and the community components. The community portal should be registered in the GCI if it provides access to data and/or services, either directly or indirectly through a brokering service, which would be useful to the GEO community at large. This link could be the only interaction between the GCI and the Community Portal but the extent to which it supports additional interactions with the GCI should be noted in the registration process.

Figure 6. Link between GEOSS Portal and Community Portal

Table 1. Link to/from Community Portal - Recommendations


Reference Number

Recommendation

Comment/Rationale

REC-LCP-001















The next interface noted in Fig. 7 below defines what might be called a Community GEOSS Portal that accesses the GCI components but provides a particular thematic view of GEOSS resources. The community portal or brokering service could access the GCI DAB for each query synchronously or a community catalog could be constructed by harvesting relevant information from the GCI. Community clients may interact with the DAB using its GOESS API or via one of the many discovery interfaces published by the broker (e.g. OGC CSW, OpenSearch, OAI-PMH etc.). A complete description of the use of these interfaces is provided in Section 5.2 Tutorials. Whereas the GEO Portal has to serve the entire GEO community, these types of portals can assist their users by highlighting those GEOSS resources that are most relevant to its target set of users and also control how those resources are presented. These portals also can support integration of GEOSS and non-GEOSS resources. As a result of the direct interactions with the GCI the developers of these portals are in a position to utilize and promote the GCI standards and best practices within their respective communities.


Figure 7. Community Portal to GEOSS


Table 2. Community GEOSS Portal - Recommendations


Reference Number

Recommendation

Comment/Rationale

REC-CGP-001










.

.

The next interface highlighted in Fig.8 refers to cases where the GCI accesses components of the Community Infrastructure to provide its clients (GEOSS Portal or others) with access to the target community resources. The current distributed search function that allows the DAB to access community catalogs (CWIC, FedEO, WIS, etc.) is a case of utilizing this type of interface.


Figure 8. GCI Access to Community Infrastructure


Table 3. GCI Access to Community Infrastructure - Recommendations


Reference Number

Recommendation

Comment/Rationale

REC-ACI-001















The next interface that is shown in Fig. 9 below is not actually between components but instead represents the interactions between the implementers of access services among and across the different GEO communities. The integration and inter-use of data and services from all GEO communities and disciplines are greatly facilitated if sharing and collaboration are envisioned during the implementation of such services.




Figure 9. Integration of GEOSS and non-GEOSS Registered Resources
Table 4. Integration of GEOSS and non-GEOSS Resources - Recommendations


Reference Number

Recommendation

Comment/Rationale

REC-IGN-001















The final interface between the GCI and community components highlighted in Figure 10 shows the registration of appropriate community resources in the GCI. As communities become more closely engaged and interdependent with GEO and the GCI they will be more likely to promote and enable the use of GEOSS standards and best practices for the access of data and services and also the registration of Earth observation data and services in the GEOSS registries.


Figure 10. Registration of Community Resources


Table 5. Registration of Community Resources - Recommendations


Reference Number

Recommendation

Comment/Rationale

REC-RCR-001

















Experience of the Architecture Implementation Pilots

Challenges in Developing Community Portals


(rough ideas in need of extensive editing)

Focus vs. General Utility – Developers of community portals are focused on the immediate needs of their respective communities whereas the GEOSS/GCI is attempting to assure that all resources are generally available to address the full range of Societal Benefit Areas. While it may take some additional resources to assess and utilize the Best Practices of GEOSS, the benefit to the communities is the access to broad set of GEOSS data and information as well as the shared experience of other GEO community development teams.

Evolution of GCI – The development of the GCI is a long-term process and its components have evolved and will continue to do so to meet the changing requirements of the GEO community and to incorporate advances in information technology. This can certainly impact those communities that are using the GCI but their close engagement with this evolutionary process and input into the design decisions can mitigate many of the communities’ concerns.

Missing Functionality – In some cases the GCI has not addressed some of the technical challenges that are important to the various communities. An example is user authentication and authorization.

Duplication of Products/Services – In a large enterprise such as GEOSS that integrates many catalog and broker capabilities it is inevitable that individual products and services will show up multiple times in result sets.

Resources for building a community portal

Examples

Name of the Portal: Energy Community Portal

URL: http://www.webservice-energy.org

GEO SBA: Energy, Health, Water,

In the field of renewable energy, the most known and likely oldest international initiative is that of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) which consistently organized for many decades the collection and exchange of meteorological data. Measurements of solar radiation made in each country by the national weather bureau are stored in the World Radiation Data Centre in Saint-Petersburg, Russia.

Focusing on the African continent and solar radiation, many efforts have been made to produce maps of solar resources (Solar Radiation Atlas of Africa, 1991) or data sets of radiation estimated from satellite images, e.g. HelioClim (Blanc et al. 2011; Lefèvre et al., 2013), or NASA SSE (Stackhouse et al, 2004; Zhang et al, 2009). Experience shows that potential users of such data do not necessarily know all available data sets depicting the resource in a given region. Should the user know the existence of the HelioClim database, it may be difficult for them to identify the appropriate data set since the HelioClim database comprises several data sets, having the same geographical coverage but different spatial and temporal resolutions, and different temporal coverage (Blanc et al. 2011).

A tool permitting to search and discover data sets on renewable energy resources and the properties of these data would be highly beneficial to the users of those data. It should allow simple keywords based queries as well as advanced spatial and temporal based queries on selected area of interest, regions and/or themes. Data users should be able to view the main properties of the answers, thus helping them selecting the most appropriate data set(s).

Conversely, providers of data have an interest in having their data exploited by users. Most often these data are available in servers on the Web, thus of easy access. However, putting data into a Web server does not ensure their visibility. Therefore, they will benefit from a discovery tool since the existence of their data sets will be more widely known.

The advantage of having a single point of access to search for renewable energy related information is an asset for all actors. It tackles a large panel of data sources in renewable energy to search for (solar, wind, bioenergy, geothermal, marine…), provides a global coverage and enables a uniform presentation of each available data set or application.

The webservice-energy Community Portal

This webservice-energy community portal is an initiative of MINES ParisTech launched in 2008 to support the renewable energies community. Since 2011 it evolves as a Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI). Such SDI includes Open Source applications servers providing access to resources through Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Web Services. This includes:



  • A GeoServer® instance proving access to maps, layers and vector based information through OGC Web Map Service (WMS) and Web Feature Service (WFS)

  • A PyWPS® and Intecs® instances proving access to process (eg. Time series retrieval, environmental impact assessment…) through OGC Web Processing Service (WPS)

  • A 52°North® instance providing access to in-situ measurements through OGC Sensor Observation Service (SOS)

  • A THREDDS Data Server (TDS) providing access to gridded NetCDF marine energy archive that are accessible using among other OGC Web services (WMS, WCS)

  • And finally a key component as a geospatial catalog using GeoNetwork®, registering into a single point of access all resources that comes from the applications servers using ISO metadata standard and being accessible through OGC Catalog Service for the Web (CSW) standard protocol.

The catalog gathers the description of geo-referenced resources that worldwide data providers wish to make available as a formal reference about his/her resource. This description includes mandatory and facultative fields as a form of a metadata record. ISO standards (ISO 19115, 19119, and 19139) support this formal metadata record description.

The catalog provides two mains features:



  1. Search and discovery of resources

    1. The catalog provides human friendly and machine-to-machine interaction to search and discover its internal resources. Search can be made ranging from simple free text keywords based approach to advanced spatial and temporal based queries on selected area of interest, regions and/or themes.

    2. The catalog gives access to detailed metadata information’s as human friendly web-based pages as well as machine-to machine oriented presentation such as XML files in conformance with ISO 19115/19119 standard.

    3. The catalog content can be harvested and synchronized with other CSW based catalog or brokered such as the GEOSS Discovery and Access Broker (DAB). This enables the content of the webservice-energy catalog to be accessible through the GEO Web Portal (GWP). Either the full catalog content of only part of it can be harvested. Fine-tuning the content to be shared is made possible with existence of virtual CSW server entry points. Well-defined criteria can be applied (e.g. Only deliver metadata according to a given theme such as “solar energy”).



  1. Metadata management

    1. The catalog enables Create, Read, Update Delete (CRUD) operations on all or part of its metadata records either by human actions under the administration section of the web-based platform and/or by machine-to-machine operation.

    2. The catalog is capable of harvesting remote resources. This powerful feature enables the catalog to interact with remote web-based geo-referenced resources. Theses resources can be deployed on geospatial web-based servers such as Mapserver® or GeoServer® as well as with other CSW catalog. This last option is made possible thanks to the respect of CSW standards and allows to create networks of catalogs seamlessly sharing their resources for the benefit of users and resources providers.

The webservice-energy community portal also offers access to:

  • Applications schemas developed by the international community on solar resource knowledge. These schemas helps to develop web services that are interoperable, i.e., that can be invoked by various remote applications.

  • A gallery of energy-related visualizations tools, apps and WebGIS client that make an extensive use of content available in the geospatial catalog. Such tools provide access to Web-based applications accessing resources and process via OGC based Web services (CSW, WMS, WFS, WPs and SOS).



Figure 1: Webservice-energy Community Portal



Figure 2: Webservice-energy Catalog



Figure 3: In-situ measurements SOS Web application
Name of the Portal: EnviroGRIDS portal

URL: http://portal.envirogrids.net

Description: The resources of the enviroGRIDS system are accessible to the large community of users through the BSC- OS Portal that provides Web applications for data management, hydrological model calibration and execution, satellite image processing, report generation and visualization, citizens oriented applications, and virtual training center. The portal publishes through Internet both the geospatial functionality provided by Web technologies, and the high power computation resources supported by the Grid technologies.

GEO SBA: Agriculture, Biodiversity, Climate, Disasters, Ecosystems, Energy, Health, Water, Weather

Components/Functionalities:

  1. GeoNetwork: search, discover, and access EnviroGRIDS core data sets.

  2. Geoportal: allows users to search, discover, and access data sets in the Black Sea catchment.

  3. Greenland: generates and executes on the GRID workows processing satellite images.

  4. gSWAT: allows users to calibrate SWAT hydrological models on the GRID.

  5. eGLE: implements both a user interface, and the tools for the development, the execution and the management of teaching materials.

  6. BASHYT: is a Collaborative Working Environment (CWE) on the web that relies on complex "physically based" hydrological, land cover and ocean models to support decision makers through a user-friendly Web interface.

Types of services: All componentes are able to publish and consume OGC services.

Types of involved infrastructures: SDI and Distributed computing platform (Grid)

Relation to GEOSS/GCI:

  • all datasets produced by enviroGRIDS are registered in the GCI.

  • EnviroGRIDS discovery client is interacting the the GEOSS CSR (using the CSW interface).

Further reading: EnviroGRIDS Special Issue on “Building a Regional Observation System in the Black Sea Catchment" freely available at: http://thesai.org/Publications/ViewIssue?volume=3&issue=3&code=SpecialIssue

Tutorials

GEOSS Registration Process


The "Bringing GEOSS services into practice" workshop aims at teaching how to configure use and deploy a set of open source software to set up a spatial data infrastructure (SDI). Trainees will learn how to publish and share data and metadata using OGC and ISO standards and how to register services into the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS).

The material related to the workshop (a tutorial in PDF, a virtual machine in OVA format and some general documentation on SDIs) can be downloaded at: http://www.geossintopractice.org

The tutorial is available in iTunesStore and Google Play Books.

The content of the tutorial is the following:

Chapter 1: Concepts on spatial data infrastructures

Chapter 2: How to store geospatial data? (PostGIS and flat rasters)

Chapter 3: How to publish geospatial data? (GeoServer, WMS, WFS, WCS, KML, SLD)

Chapter 4: How to document and search geospatial data? (GeoNetwork, CSW, ISO metadata)

Chapter 5: How to process geospatial data? (Python, WPS, PyWPS)

Chapter 6: How to view geospatial data? (WMS, OpenLayers, QGIS, KML)

Chapter 7: How to download geospatial data? (WFS, WCS, QGIS)

Chapter 8: How to analyze geospatial data? (WPS local/remote)

Chapter 9: How to share geospatial data? (GEOSS, Discovery and Access Broker)

Accessing the Discovery/Access Broker (DAB)


http://api.eurogeoss-broker.eu

http://essi-lab.eu/do/view/GIcat/GIcatDocumentation

http://essi-lab.eu/do/view/GIaxe


Code

Products

References




Content developed by Tasks of the GEO Infrastructure Implementation Board

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License





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