Australian Spatial Research Data Commons
PLEASE NOTE: THIS PROJECT IS CLOSED, COMPLETED ON 30 JUNE 2012. CONTENT IS "FROZEN" FOR ARCHIVAL PURPOSES AND CURRENT UP TO 30 JUNE 2012
The Australian Spatial Research Data Commons (ASRDC) project is a collaborative project between CSIRO and the Australian National Data Service (ANDS). It shares a common goal of data interoperability with the AuScope and Spatial Information Services Stack (SISS) projects and seeks to leverage their technical developments and services to replicate their success with deployments beyond the geoscience realm.
The general principle of information exchange across organisational boundaries and the particular issue of research access to government and other organisation data holdings is common across many disciplines and almost all national research priorities, and CSIRO Flagships suffer this issue. The approach taken by AuScope to address the geoscience issues has already been adopted by other groups (eg CSIRO Land and Water under the Water for a Healthy Country Flagship) and is clearly applicable across other domains.
ANDS has recognised this and the progress made and is seeking to expand this activity substantially to expand the breadth of deployments beyond just geoscience agencies and boost the development/ease of deployment of the SISS. The ASRDC project directly supports the existing infrastructure deployment to Government agencies supplying pre-competitive geoscience information as well as its further development and expands this to other earth science related agencies including those required for ground and surface water, energy, agriculture, carbon capture and storage.
Five principal outcomes will be achieved.
- ASRDC, working with a range of participants, will make discoverable and accessible to the research community a range of government spatial data holdings from multiple independent organisations as part of an interoperable, open standards based spatial data commons and community of practice.
- ASRDC will develop some of the core services and governance arrangements needed for a spatial data commons to be operated beyond the lifetime of the project by participants. This will include complete applications or services comprising client interface (e.g. web portal or web service interface), middleware and data repository components. The participants will have an enduring custodial role to maintain the service and associated repository for the community. The principal participants will be those government agencies who are custodians of data important to national research priority areas (e.g. Government departments of primary industry, Bureau of Meteorology ) and the users of that data (e.g. CSIRO Flagships). Core services identified include:
- Registry Service – providing a service interface to register meta-data. At a minimum this will contain a register of registries that are available. The registers also play a role in governance of standards associated with the spatial data commons (e.g. publication of interoperability profiles, controlled vocabularies, data standards)
- Discovery portal – a discovery portal providing access to federated registry/catalog services (including but not limited to the one in the previous dot point)
- ASRDC will integrate with a number of the components being developed by ANDS as part of the ARDC core infrastructure. This will include:
- a persistent identifier service
- feeds from authoritative sources of information about people, organisations, research activities, funded programs
- a collections registry to store discovery metadata harvested from data holders by the ASRDC, remapped appropriately
- discovery services to enable users of the Data Commons to find and access data holdings, combining cross-disciplinary and general discovery at the ANDS level with disciplines-specific discovery at the SISS level
- vocabulary services to ensure that the data is of high quality and thus the discovery services produce the most effective experience
- ASRDC will develop common software components that can be deployed with spatial data holdings to make the holdings accessible within the spatial data commons. The expertise needed to maintain and deploy those components will also be developed in a sustainable form within project participants. Production quality deployment of such services is needed, and SISS can provide a quality assurance and support service by performing development that makes the reference implementations robust, packaged, versioned and testable against interoperability service profiles. Service implementations will be openly available to all organisations.
- ASRDC will build the infrastructure to enable holders of spatial data to deploy and operate relevant data servers and OGC compliant services and a consequent increase in the number and variety of spatial data sets made available through common access mechanisms.
It is important to recognise that this strategy has been used successfully by AuScope Grid and the SISS project and is a direct continuation and expansion of that approach. The expansion itself is already in evidence with linkages rapidly forming to other domains and organisations beyond the geosciences (e.g. Water, Soils). ASRDC is principally boosting this expansion and development.
The ASRDC project will establish the spatial research data commons by working with Government data providers to add their data to the commons and working with researchers to ensure they are able to discover and access the information from the spatial data commons. This will require four coordinated strands of activity:
- Deployment: deploy the SISS offering at selected data providers, adapting it and configuring it as required to accommodate new feature types and requirements
- Data flows: ensure that data within the data provider organisations is made available for description, and that these descriptions (and ideally access to the data) are then made discoverable through the ARDC and ASRDC.
- Spatial Information Services Stack: Development of an production grade open source reference implementation which provides an open standards based information exchange layer above the data stores of the information provider making it both discoverable and accessible.
- Standards: Development of the community information models which are necessary to establish and sustain the community of practice which the spatial data commons supports.
Project Clients and Deployments
ASRDC Web Utilities