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INSPIRE in RDF: guidelines for encoding data

Clemens Portele, Johannes Echterhoff, Robin Smith and Michael Lutz

(Submission #141)


The default encoding for spatial data in INSPIRE is based on XML/GML. This default encoding was selected, because GML was the only encoding capable of representing data according to the INSPIRE application schemas and because the OGC standards referenced in the technical guidelines for INSPIRE network services are based on XML.

In e-Government and open data activities in Europe, the Linked Data principles and RDF are increasingly used. Publishing INSPIRE data in RDF should, therefore, simplify the discovery, access and use of spatial data in Europe for additonal actors and stakeholders.

The INSPIRE legal acts and the data specifications explicitly allow for additional encodings of spatial data in INSPIRE beside the GML-based default encoding. Article 7 of regulation 1089/2010 requires that for each encoding a so-called encoding rule has to be specified covering in particular two aspects:

a. How are the INSPIRE application schemas represented (schema level)? b. How are data instances, the spatial objects, encoded (instance level)?

A draft for such an encoding rule is under development [1] in an open process [2]. 

On the schema level, each INSPIRE application schema is essentially represented by an INSPIRE RDF vocabulary, an OWL ontology. The encoding rule states how the elements of the conceptual model of INSPIRE may be mapped to RDF/OWL concepts. A key aspect is to support a flexible mapping that allows, for example, the reuse of existing RDF vocabularies and avoiding artefacts from the conceptual model that are undesirable in an RDF encoding. This mapping has to be documented for each INSPIRE application schema so that users can understand the data.

Draft RDF vocabularies for selected INSPIRE application schemas have been created [3] as input for two INSPIRE pilots that are testing the creation and use of spatial data in RDF.

On the instance level, the encoding rule also specifies guidance and requirements for the representation of spatial objects in RDF, for example, how to represent geometries.

The experiences from the pilots as well as any other input will be used to improve the draft encoding rule and RDF vocabularies. It is planned to present the results to the INSPIRE Maintenance and Implementation Group (MIG) for consideration as a potential additional encoding for INSPIRE data.

This presentation will briefly introduce the work in a speed presentation and use a breakout to solicit feedback, discuss the approach and answer questions.

[1] [2] [3]


Topic Area:  [2.8] Innovation and technologies for spatial data collection, processing and integration in spatial data infrastructures (for example; Galileo/EGNOSS, Copernicus data and services, sensor web, Internet of Things, Big Data analytics)
Abstract Type:  Speed Presentation (5')

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