Spatial Data Infrastructures and Web Geo-Services for the INSPIRE Directive

IREA has a long-term experience in the implementation and usage of Geo-Services on the Web for Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDI) in the framework of the  INSPIRE European Directive (2007). This experience has been gained during past international projects, such as AWARE and IDE-Univers.

The architecture and the geo-services are nowadays well known, widespread, standardized and implemented since they address some basic needs in Geographic Information management, particularly as regards cartography and thematic mapping. The interface specifications of geo-services is defined by the OpenGeospatial Consortium (OGC). An example of geo-service is the Web Map Service (WMS), which enables the visualization and overlaying on the Internet of geo-data or physical fields represented as raster maps, coming from several and distributed servers. WMS is a service for geo-data; services for performing geo-processing are instead associated to specific data: they implement a certain algorithm to obtain new data from input data by performing geographical/spatial analyses; for instance they compute the centroid of a polygon, the spatial extents of a digital image, a coordinate transforms, a run of a model, etc.

In this context IREA has implemented its own web services that allow to host and distribute the geo-data produced by the research activities of the Institute. The paper "OGC Web Services in the workflow of a research Institute dealing with Remote Sensing data", presented at the International Conference on Data flow: from Space to Earth, Venezia (Italy), 21-23 March 2011, briefly describes the paradigm defined for establishing the infrastructure of the Institute.

The Web Services developed at IREA following the OGC standards are: discovery services or CSW (Catalogue Service on the Web) to enable the search for geo-data by means of their metadata; visualization and access services of different types: WMS (Web Map Service), WFS (Web Feature Service) and WCS (Web Coverage Service), to allow the geo-data deployment. Moreover some WPS (Web Processing Service) have been developed and the orchestration of different types of services has been realized to allow the on-line use of run-off simulation hydrological models in the Alps (AWARE project). For all this services client applications/geoportals have been implemented to allow users to access and exploit data and services on the Web.