Charter for Geospatial Interest Group

15 Jan 2015

Charter for Geospatial Interest Group

The Geospatial Interest Group (IG) addresses all issues related to data representing locations in space and/or time (in the sequel, for simplicity, termed “geospatial data”). Such data are present in virtually all sciences – a proverbial statement says that 80% of all data is spatially referenced. Both sensors (like GPS in cars or satellite cameras) and simulations (such as weather forecasts) generate an ever-increasing wealth of such data which scientists are most keen to leverage. However, severe challenges are associated with capturing, managing, and analyzing geospatial data – effectively, often they are “Big Data” with all sorts and combinations of volume, velocity, variety, and veracity issues. When being used these data frequently face disciplinary, organizational, or simply legacy obstacles.

The Geospatial IG aims at gathering all major stakeholders involved along the geospatial data value chain. It will take stock of existing issues, standards, and experiences. In doing so it will not only consolidate, but also contribute own original findings where possible. Areas addressed include the following (with an initial question added that aims at sparkling discussion to eventually crystalize WG topics):

·      geospatial data modeling, management, analyzing, and sharing;

Initial question: “why can’t we correlate two datasets offered by different data centers in different domains (such as satellite data centers and climate data centers)?

Initial WG topic suggested: “Leveraging OGC Big Geo Data standards for INSPIRE – a case study for SDIs”.

·      uncertainty in datasets;

Initial question: “How does uncertainty add to uncertainty in a processing chain step?

Initial WG topic suggested: “Interoperablity testbed to understand uncertainity issues in multiscale Geospatial Data analysis (use cases: Transport, En­vir­on­ment)”

·      geospatial data re-use across domains, and cross-domain interoperability of location information;

Initial question: “how can we exchange data between domains X and Y, where X and Y are RDA IGs with geospatial data?

Initial WG topic suggested: “Interoperability experiment on geo data and services provided by RDA IG/WG members”.

Due to this overarching perspective, and long-term perspective of these challenges, the topic requires an IG to be established rather than a short-term, narrow WG. The Geospatial IG itself will spin off Working Groups (WGs) to address topics of interest that have been isolated by the IG itself and its collab­or­ation with other RDA groups expressing needs in geospatial data handling. For example, developments in standards of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) allow the implementation of geospatial web services, enabling GIS ‘mashups’ to be seamlessly assembled by combining datasets from various sources and semantic frameworks. However, to derive intelligent outcomes there needs to be understanding on the methodologies to quantify the uncertainties of the spatial data that these results produce. Conversely, the IG serves as a competence center for geospatial issues within RDA.

Within RDA, the Geospatial IG sees manifold connections to other groups, including but not limited to: metadata, citation, publishing, context, Big Data Analytics, agriculture, urban data. By participation in the group meetings common interests will be scouted and approached continuously, and liaison will be established ideally by pairing a Geospatial IG member with a member of the target group; eventually, cross-IG WGs may emerge this way.

The Geospatial IG does not compete with any existing activity the domain. Rather, efforts will be made to get an active participation of the major international institutions like OGC, ICA, OSGeo, GEO, ESSI/AGU, EarthCube, AGILE, and relevant W3C community groups (Cartography, Geometry API, Geospatial Semantic Web, Places, SVG mapping, Location and Addresses). Notably, OGC and OSGeo are already represented by the initial proposers; further personal liaisons will be sought by inviting RDA members involved in the target body into the IG.

Once the IG is established we will invite the community to propose WGs in their areas of interest and these WGs will then be working on producing key outputs as agreed in the WG workplans along the timeframes specified.

The Geospatial IG will be co-ordinated by a Chair and three Co-Chairs, initially these individuals:

·      Suchith Anand (UK) chair

·      Peter Baumann  (Germany); co-chair

·      Luciene Delazari (Brazil); co-chair

·      Andrea Perego (Italy); co-chair 

The list of currently 60 members of the IG-to-be shows a broad coverage of all continents (except Antarctica), which will be mobilized to leverage its diverse expertise within RDA as well as its geographic spread for global outreach.

Telecons and face-to-face meetings of the group and of eventual working groups will be organised alongside the regular RDA meetings and also at other meetings (for example in parallel to ICA, OSGeo conferences). The Interest Group will use the RDA structures for on line collaboration between the face to face meetings.