2016 – Great Lakes Geospatial Data Access
Purpose: The goal of the SharedGeo Great Lakes Geospatial Data Access Project was to demonstrate the ability to serve and share current and historical spatial data that are related to the Great Lakes area, surrounding watersheds and wildlife habitats.
The goal of the SharedGeo Great Lakes Geospatail Data Access Project was to demonstrate the ability to serve and share current and historical spatial data that are related to the Great Lakes area, surrounding watersheds and wildlife habitats. This effort was a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funded project by the US Environmental Protection Agency and administered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
In this project which ran from 2010 to 2016, SharedGeo researched and developed techniques to use open-source tools to serve, catalog, map and distribute spatial data. The project had 3 main parts: 1) spatial data web services & data download; 2) a spatial data catalog; and 3) a web map integration tool.
1. Spatial Data Web Services & Data Download
SharedGeo created a hardware and software system that has initial capacity to store and serve up to 50 terabytes of data. SharedGeo’s focus for this system is to serve large imagery and remotely-sensed datasets for the entire Great Lakes basin in fast and reliable services. The datasets include current and historical oblique photography, aerial imagery and remotely sensed data such as LiDAR and RADAR.
GLRI Project Grant & Companion Project Links
The datasets were loaded, indexed, tiled and then served in the most appropriate way for each data type. Many datasets were served as OGC-compliant Web Map Service (WMS) and/or Web Feature Service (WFS) services. The scalable software and hardware configuration ensured that the services are delivered with maximum speed and reliability. The services could be used by GIS and mapping desktop and web applications and so can be easily integrated into an organization’s work flow.
In addition to the data services, imagery and remotely sensed data were downloadable. Data could be clipped to a user-defined area of interest and downloaded for use on a local computer. This might be useful for project-specific needs or for field work where web connections are unavailable.
By delivering these spatial data web services and downloadable datasets, SharedGeo contributed to the base data necessary to inventory, evaluate, prepare remedies for, and monitor results of projects in the GLRI core focus areas such as combating invasive species, protecting watersheds and restoring wetlands and other habitats.
2. Spatial Data Catalog
SharedGeo set up a GeoNetwork data catalog node which aggregates metadata describing spatial data for the Great Lakes area. The GeoNetwork tool did this by “harvesting” existing data catalogs such as the Great Lakes Information Network hosted by the Great Lakes Commission. Other harvested data catalogs include those by State, Province and Non-Governmental Organizations doing work in and around the Great Lakes.
The harvested metadata provided a robust list of spatial data layers that can be queried by topic, geography or keyword. GeoNetwork outputs an Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC)-compliant catalog service (CS-W). This allowed other tools (not just GeoNetwork) to be used to query the catalog. For this project, SharedGeo decided it would be most useful if metadata and layers could be searched inside the web map interface, so this was built within Co-map, the GLRI SharedGeo web map.
3. “Co-map” Web Map
Spatial data could be viewed, queried and browsed using the SharedGeo web map tool, Co-map. Co-map included the SharedGeo-hosted imagery and remotely-sensed data services along with an OpenStreetMap basemap. In addition, Co-map allowed a search of all the metadata inventoried in the GeoNetwork data catalog. If those data had map services available, then those data could be added right into the map. This allowed potential integration of hundreds of Great Lakes spatial datasets and allowed users to make custom maps. It is this flexibility that SharedGeo hoped will help both support and expedite user decisions on whether data layers are useful and appropriate for their needs.
Co-map also allowed for data download. Imagery and remotely sensed data that are hosted by SharedGeo could be clipped to a user-defined area of interest and downloaded for use on a local computer. This could be useful for project-specific needs or for field work where web connections are unavailable.
This proof of concept project successfully concluded in 2016.