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Enhancing interoperability with standards-based geospatial information

Laura J. Reece, Ph.D.,
Chair, Metadata Registry and Crosswalk activity
Metadata Focus Group
Geospatial Intelligence Standards Working Group (GWG) NSG

Geospatial data is data about things—where something is, what the shape is, what type of thing it is—plus many other attributes. Raw geospatial data, however, is nearly useless to humans without translation into more meaningful forms of expression. Current geospatial data consists in part of vector and raster data, sensor data, symbology, feature data, and images, all of which need to be expressed in human-readable format and to retain the context in which the data were collected. Some uses of geospatial systems include creating new analyses of data via custom depictions of information, e.g. layering map data with sensor data to depict the geographic distribution of a traveling plume of toxic material.

The GeoSpatial Community is made up of many and diverse organizations that cover a broad spectrum of activities. Standards are necessary to facilitate wider and more efficient use of geospatial data, now used in everything from cell phones to healthcare. Among the community, sharing of datasets is common; data is usually utilized by many other organizations/people than the creator, a situation making the use of standards even more critical. Since geospatial systems guide our planes, forecast our weather and aid us in getting emergency help in critical situations, accurate, precise and timely information is essential. The 2003 geospatial standard, “ISO 19115: Geographic Information—Metadata” has become a principal benchmark to which many other datasets are being crosswalked for reference, and to which new systems are being built. 19115, which references ISO/IEC 11179-3, is part of a larger 19100 family of standards that describes metadata for other geographic datatypes and geographic services. The 19100 series of geographic standards provides basic principles and requirements for standardization of geographic information. Several registers and registries of 19115-based and cross-walked geographic information are being developed. The presentation will touch on several of the registries containing geospatial information, and how they will be used for geospatial infrastructures and architectures to enhance interoperability.

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