INSPIRE Knowledge Base


Work group on a generalized natural sciences online spatial information system of federal scientific institutes in Belgium
Mission and Objectives: 
GNOSIS aims at opening the scientific collections and data archives of the Belgian federal scientific establishments, in an open and integrated way, in order to respond to the constantly growing demand from the scientific community, private organisations and the wider public for regional data in Belgium, Africa and world-wide. GNOSIS started in 2004. Initially involved in GNOSIS are the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences; the Royal Museum for Central Africa and the Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium, but it is the express intention that other federal and regional scientific establishments in the possession of similar data can join in order to open up their information. GNOSIS involves information in the fields of geology, mineralogy, zoology, meteorology and geography, with georeference as the common component. The information at the participating establishments is at various stages of computerisation, varying from central databases to ad hoc personal databases to analogue archive material. The objectives of GNOSIS are: - to offer the information to the user in an integrated way. The integrated approach is of great importance, as the study of problems affecting the environment, agriculture, nature conservation is interdisciplinary by nature. - to create an open architecture using open standards as much as possible. The open approach will allow other establishments to join easily and to enrich the GNOSIS offering. The open approach will also allow access to the information in different ways, via a central web-portal, but also via direct access. - to create a decentralised architecture, where data remain at the respective data owners/distributors. With a decentralised approach we implement the principle of subsidiarity where each organisation remains in charge of data access, presentation and distribution of its own data. - to create a web-portal for easy access to the data: search, presentation, access to information; - to use open standards as much as possible; - to have a multilingual approach, in particular using multi-lingual thesauri to support multilingual search.
Formal Mandate: 
Temporary association of three Belgian scientific institutes and a private partner, to set up a spatial data infrastructure for the distribution of information in the fields of geology, biology, meteorology and geography.
- Design open, integrated and decentralised architecture for the distribution of the data holdings of the involved organisations. - Definition of ISO 19115 compliant metadata profile to describe the data holdings of the involved organisations. - Creation/Migration of the metadata of the data holdings into the new metadata profile - Set up of a prototype architecture - as a proof of concept - using a subset of the data holdings of the involved organisations. - Building of the operational architecture at the different involved organisations for the distribution of their data holdings. - Gradually extent the number of offered data holdings, also including other partners.
Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences; Royal Museum for Central Africa; Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium; G.I.M.-Geographic Information Management nv.

Which role(s) do you foresee for the SDIC in INSPIRE development

  • participate in the review process
  • yes
  • implement pilot projects to test/revise/develop the draft Implementing Rules
  • yes
    Geographic Domain
    Belgium, Africa, World
    Societal Sector
    Specific Expertise
    Previous Experience relevant for INSPIRE development
    GNOSIS experiences are related to the setup of an infrastructure for spatial information using to a wide extent open standards (from OGC and ISO). (1) metadata: definition of a metadata profile based on ISO 19115; establishing a metadata catalog based on COTS software (IONIC); compiling metadata according to the defined profile, for a wide range of data sources; (2) spatial data harmonisation using the multilingual thesaurus of UIGS (MT) for geological data (3) network services and technologies - Discovery services: establishing a metadata catalog including multilingual search allowing to publish, manage and find data and services; - View services: using OGC WMS standards to view and query the data, in combination with other data offered through WMS, supplying different reference coordinate systems - Delivery services: query and download a data selection as GML via WFS
    Environmental application domains
    Monitoring biodiversity/ Soil resources management, Mineral resources management, Climate change, Agriculture management
    Primary Business
    Research, Natural sciences