OpenStreetMap and INSPIRE: Can the twain meet?
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OpenStreetMap and INSPIRE: Can the twain meet?



Talk given at FOSS4G Denver, Wed, 09/14/2011. ...

Talk given at FOSS4G Denver, Wed, 09/14/2011.


The INSPIRE directive ( aims to create a pan-European Union (EU), spatial data infrastructure to enable the sharing of spatial information across Europe. The directive requires that common specifications, based on OGC and ISO standards, are adopted by EU Member States.

OpenStreetMap (OSM) is a free editable map of the whole world which is made by people like you.
OpenStreetMap allows you to view, edit and use geographical data in a collaborative way from anywhere on Earth.

At a higher level INSPIRE and OSM have some similar goals like
creating and adopting a common set of geospatial standards and building an international SDI where
maps and data are readily available for purposes like routing and disaster management.
Both are aiming to remain vendor-neutral and free from proprietary mapping monopolies.

But in many aspects INSPIRE and OSM are complete opposites:

INSPIRE has a top-down, formal, legislative, "GIS-" approach, defined mainly by National Mapping and Cadastral Agencies (NMCAs). The "de jure" standards are verbose (GML), containing many "optionals".
NMCAs have ample geodata. End-users are in the first place governments.

OSM on the other hand has a bottom-up, informal, "Neogeographic" approach is defined by its users.
Standards for geodata and network APIs are developed but in a more agile and organic fashion. Geodata is the main project artefact that is created by users but also through imports of available open datasets. Enduser is you.

With mainly differences between OSM and INSPIRE we could just stop here, but that is not the purpose of this talk.
My aim is to show where these projects can learn from each other and how they could collaborate
and possibly integrate at the technical level. Several scenarios will be elaborated. Why ? Well, basically for the good and future of mankind !



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  • Let's look at the two worlds and see if and how they can or need to be united.

OpenStreetMap and INSPIRE: Can the twain meet? OpenStreetMap and INSPIRE: Can the twain meet? Presentation Transcript

  • OpenStreetMap and INSPIRE: Can the twain meet ? Just van den Broecke FOSS4G Denver (CO), USA Sept 14, 2011
  • “Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet” Rudyard Kipling, The Ballad of East and West, 1889
  • “Never the twain shall meet”Two things which are so different as to have noopportunity to unite.Twain derives from the Old English twegen, meaning two. The phrase “never thetwain shall meet” was used by Rudyard Kipling, in The Ballad of East and West(1889): "Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet."There, Kipling is supposedly lamenting the misunderstandings between the Britishand the inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent.
  • Collaborative project to createa free editable map of the world “The Wikipedia of Maps”
  • EU legislation to create a pan- European Union SDI● sharing spatial information among EU public sector organisations● public access to spatial information across Europe “The Euro for Geodata and Maps”
  • try to create, maintain and provide maps and data
  • SDI
  • Common Objectives● Vendor (Google/Yahoo/MS/..) neutral● Free from proprietary mapping monopolies● Adopt common set of standards/APIs● Seamless, cross-border maps & data● Not just maps, also raw data
  • Maps & data for any purpose● Maps: base, topo, thematic● Routing● Name search● Disaster management● ...
  • Diffs – Processformal informaltop-down bottom-uplegislation spontaneoushierarchy networkwaterfall agilepaid volunteered
  • Diffs – Standardsstandards 1st implementation 1stcommittee communityheavyweight (GML) lightweight (tags)frozen living
  • Diffs – LicenseServices/data Services/data multiple-options open/reusable free-->closed ODBL unclearTools Tools up to NMCAs mainly FOSS FOSS/proprietary some proprietary
  • Diffs – End-userspublic admins anyoneanyone ?
  • PoCNMCA-to-OSM-to-INSPIRE “OpenStreetMap as Esperanto”
  • ●FOSS for INSPIRE ●Google Code Project ●Mailing List
  • deegree INSPIRE Node
  • Multiple ETLs . .
  • – osm2inspire GDAL/OGR XSLT OSM INSPIRE Planet GML Data
  • OSM Esperanto OSM OSM2 Import INSPIRE OSM INSPIRE Data GML..
  • Quoting Kipling Oh, East is East and West is West, and never thetwain shall meet,Till Earth and Sky stand presently at Gods greatJudgment Seat;But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed,nor Birth,When two strong men stand face to face, though theycome from the ends of the earth!