Classification of Geographic Web Services for Building an Efficient Geographic Information System Offering Profitable Value Added Services

By Kleiner, Carsten; Aliste, Alberto Garcia | Journal of Digital Information Management, October 2008 | Go to article overview

Classification of Geographic Web Services for Building an Efficient Geographic Information System Offering Profitable Value Added Services


Kleiner, Carsten, Aliste, Alberto Garcia, Journal of Digital Information Management


1. Introduction

Nowadays basic geographical data such as elevation or land use data is increasingly available free of charge by public institutions in a large number of countries. These basic data sets are enormously important as input to be able to derive valuable information in many domains such as hydrology, cartography, and geodesy. The basic data sets typically undergo a complicated conditioning process in order to generate the valuable domain data. In many cases among those steps for processing data are enrichment, reassessment, conversion, combination, merging, and computations. These steps are partly performed by GIS software and partly manually by domain experts. In any case the process of obtaining the final valuable domain data requires a lot of resources. Therefore it is important to be able to use the generated domain data not only by the generating domain expert but to make it available to a large number of interested parties.

A service provider will have the desire to have an as large number of interested service consumers as possible either for commercial reasons (i.e. the generated domain data may be purchased by others to co-finance the costly generation process), for scientific reasons (e.g. to be able to evaluate the correctness and quality of the generated data by other domain experts) or for any other reason (e.g. to be able to integrate the generated data into larger domain specific processes to be able to obtain even more valuable data). In any case it is important to be able to provide the generated data in a very flexible form to be able to offer it to an audience as large as possible. Currently the most promising technology to achieve this goal seems to be Web Services within a SOA ([20]). Since in general we deal with geographic data Geographic Web Services should be used to offer the generated data.

This article is based on a case study where we used publicly available elevation data that was obtained from satellite flights. We processed this data in order to obtain valuable hydrological base data such as flow direction of surface water and borders of watersheds. The obtained data sets may be used e.g. in computation of the water induced surface erosion. Since the obtained data is very valuable for many stakeholders it might be used as foundation for a commercial service. A commercial service should be available to a large range of customers. Therefore we designed a set of web services that provide the obtained data as well as metadata about it and arbitrary subsets of the data to service consumers. From these experiences we derived a set of best practices for setting up a geographic information system that can be used as a foundation for our services. Also and as a main contribution we developed rules on how to classify the set of possible web services. Furthermore we analyzed which of those classes would be best suited to be used as a commercial service by looking at several different service properties.

The article is organized as follows: after a review of related work in the next section we will give a brief introduction to the hydrology domain and explain the process required to transform the elevation base data into hydrological valuable data. Only the structurally important parts necessary to understand the best practices derived later are explained. Thereafter we explain how to group the web services in certain categories and analyze several properties of each category. Finally we conclude with overall experiences and best practices for offering commercial value added geographic web services and present ideas for future work.

2. Related Work

The use of a SOA in order to federate different GIS for a unified view on all data within an institution has been described in [22]. In contrast to our approach the SOA is mainly used for data integration and the end user services are mainly web map services ([18]). …

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Classification of Geographic Web Services for Building an Efficient Geographic Information System Offering Profitable Value Added Services
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