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Spatial Information Services Stack


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The Spatial Information Services Stack project is being developed as a collaboration across multiple open source projects to provide a complete suite of tools that allow for spatial data interoperability including, WFS, WMS, GML application schema development and registries. The AuScope project is deploying the SISS across multiple Australian Government agencies and research organisations and is developing a Web based portal for accessing the infrastructure and encouraging the development of other client tools (like Excel WFS plugins). As the stack is built on open source technologies others are welcome to utilise the stack and assist in its development.

The SISS makes use of existing technologies where possible (Geoserver, Fullmoon and Geonetwork amongst others). Development consists primarily of feature enhancement (particularly to support application schema like GeosciML and WaterML) along and hardening to raise the quality of service level and ensuring the stack is complete (e.g. the Auscope portal discovers services it can use via the registry solution Geonetwork.The application schemas supported by the enhanced Geoserver can be developed and validated with conformance tests via the Fullmoon framework). The principal objective is to ensure a complete solution can be made from the various parts.

The SISS project will:
  • develop some of the component services and functional capabilities needed to realise a spatial information data commons within Australia supporting linkages with academia, research, public and private sector data and service providers and users
  • leverage the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and ISO standards that have been adopted by a number of NCRIS capability areas and institutions in Australia and worldwide for which various reference implementations already exist for information services and portal interfaces
  • combine and build on existing expertise in this foundation area in order to assist multiple NCRIS capability areas and institutions that have interest in geospatial web service middleware and clients.
  • establish capabilities to enable standards based networks developed by other communities such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics National Data Network to interact with and benefit from the spatial capabilities developed through this proposal
In doing so, the spatial data infrastructures being developed by individual NCRIS capability areas (and other organisations) will be able to interoperate and thus share resources and establish a spatial information data commons that will also be accessible by other communities of interest.

Three principal outcomes will be achieved.

  1. SISS will develop and initiate some of the core services needed for a spatial data commons to be operated beyond the lifetime of the project by identified project 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 identified participants will have an enduring custodial role to maintain the service and associated repository for the community. Core services identified include:
    • OGC Catalog 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)
  2. SISS 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 identified project participants. A number of NCRIS capability areas (e.g. Auscope, IMOS) and Australian jurisdictional and domain based SDI projects (e.g. Western Australian Shared Land Information Platform (SLIP), CSIRO Water Resources Observation Network, Marine Portal, Queensland Government Enterprise architecture projects, GeosciML Testbed, CSIRO SEE Grid) share a common service and software component base, usually based around OGC service standards and open source reference implementations of middleware to support these. 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.
  3. SISS will build a skill base able to work with 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.
Whilst the project has a significant emphasis on a baseline of OGC standards it is anticipated that a number of other non-OGC components are likely to be required to fulfil the needs of the NCRIS community in particular niches (e.g. OPeNDAP). It is anticipated these will be more properly identified during the detailed planning phase.

Project Approach

Previous developments in Australia and internationally have provided a set of technology selections and subsequent development to meet SISS requirements. In many cases most of the technical requirements are already met and only small enhancements, hardening of components, packaging and support are required for deployment to occur. The following open source technologies have already been identified:
  • Geoserver
  • GeoNetwork
  • THREDDS, Hyrax
  • Hollow World
  • Full Moon
The SISS project will combine expertise from the participants, in particular Auscope, in order to harden and package these open source components and develop them further in order to meet the SISS user communities’ requirements. This expertise will be combined with additional staff, supported by NEAT, in the Australian Research Collaboration Services organisation. This will expand the available skills base and allow ARCS to provide an enduring hosting, support and maintenance activity of value to its user community.

Auscope, IMOS and the CSIRO have existing strong relationships with the open source communities concerned and in most situations have commit rights to the source code repositories. These will be used to ensure both SISS and the open source community can benefit from each others ongoing development efforts. It is anticipated that once a suitable introductory period has passed the SISS team will have a similar relationship but in the meantime the existing relationships can be used to review and commit code from SISS back into the open source community.

Initial activities focus on packaging, quality assurance and number of small enhancements to the open source components so they meet the minimum requirements of the SISS user community. These requirements have been developed by the user community as result of previous activities. The SISS reference group provides a forum for acceptance and change of these requirements as the project evolves.

Once the minimal requirements are met, deployment of information services will begin with participant organisations and ARCS hosted services. Developments to enhance and harden the stack will continue in parallel with the deployments with the reference group providing prioritisation and acceptance of change requests. The deployments of the SISS will occur with support from the collaborating organisations and technical support from the SISS core team. A number of deployments and associated information services have already been identified (see Major Milestones).

Throughout the project the SISS core team will document methodologies and provide support tools for use by the deploying organisations to aid in the creation and configuration of the information services stack with in their environments.

Project Scope

The SISS project is responsible for:
  • Developing a number of enhancements to meet SISS user requirements (see the detailed plan) to the following open source components:
  • Geoserver (and its dependent technology Geotools)
  • GeoNetwork
  • Hollow World
  • Full Moon
  • Hyrax, THREDDS
  • Client tools (udig, Google Earth web portals) – used as reference implementations and necessary for service testing and configuration
  • Packaging the SISS components into coherent releases
  • Developing and maintaining a regression and conformance testing framework to ensure SISS community requirements are met for packaged releases
  • Documenting best-practice methodologies on the use of the SISS components and tools
  • Develop support within the stack for integration with the AAF and interoperation with the national data grid infrastructure
  • Fixing bugs in the components identified by the SISS user community
  • Providing technical and development support to organisations using the SISS to deploy information services
  • Providing a “user forum” for community feedback and notification regarding the SISS
The SISS project is not responsible for:
  • Information services (products) that use the SISS or the databases which contain that data – this is a joint responsibility of the participating organisation with SISS providing technical and development support in deploying the SISS. A number of information services have been identified and collaboration arrangements confirmed (see detailed plan) and the project will deliver these. Any other deployments of the stack will receive technical and development support with in capacity constraints but are not considered to be in scope as a delivery measure.
  • Providing quality assurance, support and maintenance of features added by the open source community that are not identified as essential to the SISS community
  • Development of community standards and information models. Best practice methodologies and tooling support will be provided to communities wishing to use the SISS and wanting to develop suitable standards.
Further information of the SISS activities and each of the component developments can be found on the Auscope and SEE Grid Twikis - the links are provided in the related pages section at the top of this topic.

-- RobertWoodcock - 17 May 2009

Topic revision: r9 - 08 Mar 2012, RyanFraser

Current license: All material on this collaboration platform is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence (CC BY 3.0).