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Where are we going?

Readers of this BLOG will realize that it is part philosophy, part hard core tech, and part GML tutorial. Since we have been slogging through a fair bit of the technology it is time for more of the philosophy. Those terrified of angle brackets should breathe a sigh of relief. Note that this blog is not a review of things geo-spatial in a general sense. For that I would suggest Allan Doyles think blog.

So on with the philosophy. What do we mean by the GeoWeb? Why was GML created?

The point is not a difficult one to say – but is more than a little tricky to achieve.

  1. Imagine all of the worlds geo-spatial databases online via the Internet.
  2. Imagine all of them accessible through a simple standard set of interfaces (e.g. OGC Web Feature Service).
  3. Imagine being able to subscrbe to dynamic web feeds from any of the services (so your database could stay up to date).
  4. Imagine being able to request a style engine (see our little note on Styling GML to KML to get the idea) to request data from any of these servers and let you view your request as SVG or as an overlay on Google Earth, Microsoft Virtual Earth etc.
  5. Imagine being able to create your own service that accepts these web feeds and dynamically computes statistics, demographics etc etc etc.
  6. Imagine subscribing to real time alerts whenever there are changes in geographic information.
  7. Imagine being able to dynamically track events like hurricanes, ocean going ships or aircraft and being dynamically informed when they reach a specific destination.

What will it take to accomplish this ? Is it close or far away?

I would say CLOSE – VERY CLOSE.

It needs:

  • An open standard to express geographic information (GML).
  • An open standard for geographic requests and transactional data feeds (WFS)
  • An open standard for expressing access controls (XACML/SAML)
  • Public viewing engines – (Google Earth)

This is the GEOWEB. !

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