Data Harmonisation and Publication for Nature Conservation


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Presentation from the AGI Geocommunity 2011 conference in Nottingham (UK).

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  • Hello, my name is Richard Rombouts and I work for Snowflake.You have come to today's talk titled: ‘Data Harmonisation for Data Conservation’ or, if even better – How I Learned to Love INSPIRE.
  • When talking about Data Harmonisation, Publication and Nature Conservation, you automatically think of one word: INSPIRE.And of course managing Nature Conservation and Environmental issues on a European level was one of the key drivers behind INSPIRE.Let’s remind ourselves briefly what this INSPIRE is all about.In essence the INSPIRE legislation boils down to two key themes:Data Harmonisation:To be able to share data across Europe the datasets have to be harmonised. In INSPIRE this is achieved by defining data specifications.INSPIRE specifies 34 different themes such as Cadastral Parcels, Protected Sites and Administrative Boundaries, divided over 3 Annexes. Data Access:To be able to make this harmonised datasets available publicly, the INSPIRE Directive specifies rules for making your data discoverable (via metadata services), viewable (view services) and downloadable (network services).
  • One of the first things people will always show you when talking about INSPIRE are The Big Deadlines.So, lets have a quick reminder of these deadlines.So, we have deadlines to meet and we have data publishing requirements to fulfil. Putting these requirements into a directive is the stick which the commission is using to make us do this.
  • So that was the Big Frightening Stick. However….I told this would be a positive story. Let’s talk now about flowers, birds, trees and badgers and how to protect them.With some 30 project members from all over Europe, the NATURE-SDIplus project’s main aim is to establish a Best Practice Network on geographical information for nature conservation,Stimulate the members andto target users at improving the harmonisation of their datasets on nature conservation to better exploit and access them.The project Consortium will interact with INSPIRE Drafting Teams both to tune the adopted solutions according to INSPIRE specifications and to support the Implementation of the Directive at network level.Data availability will be assured by the data providers and the national co-ordinator of data providers belonging to the NATURE-SDIplus Consortium, whilst other data will be sought during the project by exploiting the potentiality of the network in terms of new members and the recruitment of new data providers.Best Practices on interoperable datasets for nature conservation will be collected, implemented and validated at network level through a consensus building approach.
  • Let me tell you a bit about this project.The main goal is to establish a best practise network on sharing nature conversation information across European member states.Instead of inventing their own set of standards, it was decided to adopt the specifications and guidelines set out by the INSPIRE Directive.As Member States have to transpose the INSPIRE Directive in their national legislation, adopting INSPIRE provides the project with a solid foundation to build on.The participants in the NatureSDI project are all domain experts and during the project helped the INSPIRE Drafting Teams with their feedback on the various data specifications.One major goals of the project is to disseminate the results of the project to the wider European audience.
  • ChallengesWhilst INSPIRE compliance will result in interoperable and standardised data sharing; the road to INSPIRE compliance for Nature Conservation is not without its obstacles. The Nature-SDIplus project is just one such example of a European project working to overcome challenges and achieve best practice for INSPIRE.About 30 participanting organisations from the public, private and academic sector from more than 10 European countries. 
  • In short, this slide tells you one thing: They did it!
  • Not a unique projectINSPIRE is not the only international initiative that aims to harmonise and share datasets.Some examples are the SESAR Joint Undertaking that aims at harmonising air traffic management information in Europe; the OneGeology project which working on standardising the geological domain. The CAFE project was one of the first projects to really embrace the INSPIRE specifications for exchanging air quality data.The Light Bulb MomentEvery few months public sector bodies are given yet another set of requirements to publish data. If this is starting to feel like groundhog day then you have probably spotted the connection – this is not a series of separate requirements and initiatives, it is the same thing appearing in different guises. This is a result in a change of culture on the part of the public, and a change of attitude by politicians. The web is the first place people go to for information and they expect to find it. Public sector organisations cannot afford to look at all these requirements in isolation. If you do that each new requirement is a problem because it requires you to do something outside of your normal operations i.e. publish data. If you look at the problem overall you will see that you are in an environment where data publishing is now the normal thing to do, not the exception. So, if you make data publishing a normal part of your operations you should be able to take each new requirement for data in your stride. By developing a capability for data publishing you can meet the whole gamut of data publishing requirements efficiently by reusing technologies and skills.
  • Does this mean that publishing INSPIRE data will yield a direct benefit to you (other than getting the commission off your back)? Probably not. You have the data, the commission want it, you have to do work to publish it. But developing a capability for exchanging data will make it easy to deliver your INSPIRE commitments and you can then start using that capability to deliver efficiencies in your own business.The technologies and standards used for open data, INSPIRE and other web-services all build on the same stack of web standards. Skills and technology you use to deliver one can be reused on the other. You can use INSPIRE as a roadmap for implementing data exchange. You don't have to think about what formats you should use, how people should be able to find and access your data and so on. You can take the INSPIRE template and apply it again and again to different datasets. Remember that all the web standards are based on eXtensiblemarkup language - it is an open invitation to extend and adapt the standards.
  • I told you this story had a happy ending......Accept data exchange as part of your day to day work.Let INSPIRE provide you with tools and skills.Reap the benefits of better decision making.
  • Data Harmonisation and Publication for Nature Conservation

    1. 1. Data Harmonisation and Publication for Nature ConservationOR How I Learned to Love INSPIRE<br />Presented by Richard Rombouts<br />Snowflake Software<br />
    2. 2. INSPIRE<br />Data Harmonisation<br />Data Specifications<br />Annex I, II and III<br />Data Access<br />Network Services<br />
    3. 3. The Big Stick<br />
    4. 4. The NatureSDI Project <br />Best practice network for SDI in Nature Conservation:<br /><br />
    5. 5. The Project<br />Establish Best Practice Network on nature conversation information<br />Harmonise nature conversation data against INSPIRE data specifications<br />Interact with INSPIRE Drafting Teams<br />Disseminate results to wider European audience<br />
    6. 6. The Challenges<br />Source data held in non-conformant formats<br />INSPIRE requires the creation of previously uncaptured data (e.g. ‘Owner’ label)<br />Cross boundary working means different coordinate reference systems in use<br />Publication of sensitive data (e.g. location of endangered species)<br />Multilingual and multicultural audience<br />
    7. 7. The Deliverables<br />Project website<br />Project Wiki<br />Online training material<br />Geoportals<br />Good Practises list<br />Using Snowflake’s GO Publisher software to:<br />Harmonise data against INSPIRE Annex I, II and III Themes<br />Publish data using INSPIRE compliant Download Services<br /><br />
    8. 8. Aviation<br />Geology<br />Not a unique concept…<br />Air Quality<br />Clean Air For Europe (CAFE)<br />
    9. 9. The Carrot<br />INSPIRE requires a set of technologies and skills<br />Those skills can be re-used to solve other problems<br />The INSPIRE standards can be extended and re-applied<br />INSPIRE can be used as a roadmap to developing a data publishing capability<br />
    10. 10. Love INSPIRE<br />Accept data exchange as part of your day to day work.<br />Let INSPIRE provide you with tools and skills.<br />Reap the benefits of better decision making.<br />
    11. 11. The End<br /><br /><br />