Nov 112011

“An INSPIREing tool enabling researchers to share their geospatial data over the web”

The Open Geospatial Consortium’s Web Map Service (WMS) is a core standard underpinning many Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDI) throughout the world.  This includes INSPIRE, the UK Location Programme and our own UK academic SDI.  The WMS Factory Tool created by the IGIBS project; for the first time, allows users to upload their data and automatically generate a fully standards based, INSPIRE compliant WMS.  Users can control styling and view their data alongside a broad range of other data from a broad range of content providers.  The WMS Factory Tool has been created in partnership with Welsh Government and students within UK academia in anticipation of the revolution in the use of Geographic Information that will come about through the increasing availability of data via interoperability standards in conjunction with the UK Location Programme and INSPIRE.

The WMS Factory Tool was developed in close cooperation with students at the University of Aberystwyth’s Institute of Geography and Earth Science in the context of their growing repository of data related to the UNESCO designated Dyfi Biosphere Reserve.  If a student is doing a project and generating data, and they need to be able, for purposes of analysis and integration, to view that data alongside data from the spectrum of Welsh public authorities establishing INSPIRE compliant services, then this tool lets them do so quickly, without the need to waste time sourcing, extracting, transforming and uploading data from a range of non-interoperable proprietary formats.

The working prototype has been developed and configured so that data is uploaded to EDINA machines.  The following video gives a flavour of how the tool works:

Note that as an advanced feature access can be restricted using Shibboleth (open source Security Assertion Markup Language implementation used in the UK Access Management Federation) so only authorised users can access the service and so that other organisations in the federation can make more data available.

The software is easy to deploy and configured so that data may be uploaded and WMS generated at user specified locations.  Here is a good place to start with documentation.

And here is a picture of the team that brought you this product.  More information on IGIBS can be found throughout this blog starting with the about page.

Core IGIBS Project Team at Welsh Government Offices in Cardiff on the 11th Nov, 2011

The software is in prototype at the moment, but is in a condition where it can be deployed.  EDINA commits to maintaining this software for a minimum of 3 years, ie, until Nov 2014, though it is likely the software will have developed considerably by then.

It is likely that this software will contribute to the growing suite of open source tooling available for use with INSPIRE compliant services and encodings, most obviously as a means for users within the UK academic sector to create WMS (temporary or persistent) for use with UK Location Programme network services.

At its heart is the Minnesota Mapserver WMS software, very stable, well understood and highly regarded software.  The IGIBS software is available for download.  It is licenced under the modified BSD licence, meaning, in précis, that the software is made available using a permissive free software licence, which has minimal requirements in respect of how the software can be redistributed.

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