The easiest way of getting a grip on geodata is through the use of tools that make it easier to manage. For specialists, such tools also function as a gateway to more meaningful dialogue with non-specialists. The key to success is broader support for important standards.
Most people recognise the potential of geodata. However, how do you get started with managing, publishing and using geodata effectively? The obvious solution is to add seamless support for geodata management to a tool that is already used to manage other types of data, like for example open data. This has several advantages:
- The tool will function as a hub for the management of geodata. This effectively means support for the standards used for both geodata and open data.
- It will make it easier for non-specialists to work with geodata.
- Specialists in geodata, also known as GIS data, shall receive a common point of reference when communicating with non-specialists.
We will take a closer look at these three points and how they are reflected in MetaSolutions’ open data platform EntryScape. First, a brief, slightly more philosophical aspect. Geodata by itself is valuable, regardless of whether it is open or not. Open data by itself is also valuable, regardless of whether it is geodata or not. Combining the management of geodata and open data increases the value of both.
Everything is built on standards
Standards are the key to sharing data effectively. This is particularly true for geodata. For a start, it makes it easier to describe general aspects of geodata sets in the same way as for other types of data sets. Publication of and access to data is thereby made simpler.
EntryScape supports all necessary metadata standards: DCAT-AP-SE version 2.0 is the standard used for open data and on dataportal.se. For geodata there is another standard from the EU’s Inspire Directive. In Swedish the standard is called NMDP 4.0, nationell metadataprofil 4.0. When this standard is used, geodataportalen.se can read the data.
Both DCAT-AP-SE and NMDP 4.0 are so-called metadata specifications. Or to put it more simply: standardised descriptions of what datasets contain and other information about them, such as who published them, when they were published, and so on. In short, it is information that overall simplifies publication and access. If data sets’ descriptions are standardised, they can be automatically published across many data portals and accessed using a variety of tools.
Simply put, custom metadata profiles in Entryscape ensure that the fields needed for managing, publishing and accessing geodata already exist. This means that the user or publicist does not have to determine the requirements and then implement them accordingly. Moreover, it is also possible to customise your own metadata profiles for geodata.
Entryscape can support customized open data and geodata profiles with the same simple interface. Just select the information relevant to you and the interface will be configured accordingly. Being able to make custom profiles is crucial to simplifying the management of geodata, which otherwise can easily become overwhelming.
Publishing geodata is complicated without proper support and often remains an internal process within a given department. Nevertheless, it is simplified with built-in support for standards in one tool, both for your own workflow and for further publishing. From there, the level of sophistication can of course be increased both in terms of depth and breadth. The bottom line is that it is made easy to get started with geodata and that management can be automated to the maximum extent possible. This all leads to geodata being “easy to put on portals”.
A common language
Geodata specialists are no different from any other type of specialists: they experience difficulties in communicating their specialisation to laypeople, who in turn are likely to experience even greater difficulty in making themselves understood.
By jointly using a common tool based on common standards, both parties will have a common point of reference. This allows them to move past technicalities and discuss what is truly interesting: creating value with geodata. Or to put it more simply: skip the technicalities and pick the low-hanging fruit.
This is how geodata’s hidden gold is revealed to the outside world, while simultaneously saving both time and resources.