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WFS 3.0 - the next version of the Web Feature Service standard

Clemens Portele

(Submission #146)


OGC is in the process of revising its Web Feature Service standard (WFS), one of the INSPIRE download service options. Like the current version WFS 2.0, WFS 3.0 will continue to support creating, modifying and querying features (in INSPIRE terminology: "spatial objects") on the Web. At the same time, this revision is a refresh of the 20-year old OGC Web Service architecture and is intended as a modern, modular version of WFS that is easier to implement and use - including by developers with a general ICT background. While the technologies are modernised, the fundamental concepts are unchanged and WFS 3.0 can be implemented as a facade to a server implementing WFS 2.0, i.e. on top of the current spatial data infrastructures.

The modernisation affects several design goals that will be presented in the talk. One example is that WFS 3.0 should not be a monolithic web service, but that it provides API building blocks that can be used in modern Web APIs that want to support fine-grained access to spatial data. The same API will be able to support other requirements, too, such as map portrayal of the data or application-specific workflows.

It is essential that the standard leads to efficient implementations, happy developers of both server and client components, and satisfied users of such components. This has an impact not only on the technologies used by WFS 3.0, but also on the standardisation process: First of all, discussions and design decisions are primarily informed by implementations and developer feedback ("code first"). In addition, most of the work including discussions and drafting is done in a public GitHub repository ( and developers that are not members of OGC or ISO/TC 211 can - and are - contributing to the development of the new standard.

A draft of the first part of the standard (the "Core") has been released in April 2018 after several months of implementation, discussions and testing (, including in a 2-day WFS 3.0 Hackathon in March 2018.

This talk builds upon the work presented in the talk "Spatial Data on the Web - tools and guidance for data providers" at the INSPIRE Conference 2017, which has been one of the inputs to the work in the WFS 3.0 standardisation process.

The presentation will finish with examples how WFS 3.0 can support INSPIRE.


Topic Area:  [3.6] Making INSPIRE work for ICT developers
Abstract Type:  Oral Presentation

Additional Fields

Academic:   No
Data Provider:   Yes
Data User:   Yes
INSPIRE Implementer (IT):   Yes
INSPIRE newbies:   No
Policy Officers:   Yes
Public Administration (MS/Regional/Local):   No
Thematic specialists:   No

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