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Checking the completeness and consistency of geographic metadata is not enough: evolution towards smart contracts for checking accuracy and correctness

Javier Nogueras-Iso, Manuel A. Ureña-Cámara, Lacasta Javier and F. Javier Ariza-López

(Submission #9)


Geographic metadata are an essential tool to facilitate the discovery and monitoring of resources in Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDI). In order to promote the interoperability of catalogues and systems exploiting these metadata, standardization bodies like ISO or SDI initiatives like INSPIRE have defined well-known metadata models such as the ISO 19115 family of metadata standards or metadata regulations.

Additionally, it is remarkable that all these standardization efforts include either abstract test suites (e.g. ISO 19115) or requirements and recommendations (e.g. technical guidelines for implementing the INSPIRE metadata regulation according to ISO/TS 19139) to assure that the syntactic and semantic interoperability between systems is feasible. On the one hand, XML encoding specifications are provided to avoid syntactic heterogeneity, i.e. harmonizing the exchange format and structure of metadata. On the other hand, semantic heterogeneity issues are minimized thanks to the own definition of metadata models (sometimes accompanied with requirements/recommendations like those proposed by INSPIRE), which establish specific data domains for each metadata element, and even the use of controlled vocabularies for many of them. Moreover, this interoperability is usually automated with tools based on XML Schema validation or schematrons. These tools are focused on checking the quality of metadata in terms of completeness (commission or omission of metadata elements) and consistency (both metadata format and structure/domain of metadata elements). However, little attention is paid to the accuracy of metadata, which refers to the accurate description of resources using factual and correct information. Should a catalogue maintain metadata records incorrectly classified with a descriptive keyword (e.g., an administrative boundaries layer classified as “land use”), or whose resource locator links to an unreachable and defunct web site?

Therefore, our proposal is to adapt ISO/TC 211 quality standards for geographic information to check the quality of geographic metadata. In these quality standards not only completeness and consistency are reviewed, but also accuracy and correctness of temporal, positional and attribute information are exhaustively covered. Furthermore, trying to envision the future of SDIs with minimized human interaction, automatic controls of metadata accuracy and correctness could be the base for blockchain-based SDI smart contracts. Blockchain technology enables the definition of an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions (contracts) between parties in an efficient and verifiable way. In a blockchain scenario SDI nodes could commit to unpublishing metadata and resources, or at least to revising them, when something is detected as incorrect.


Topic Area:  [3.2] Tools and technologies
Abstract Type:  Oral Presentation

Additional Fields

Academic:   Yes
Data Provider:   Yes
Data User:   Yes
INSPIRE Implementer (IT):   Yes
INSPIRE newbies:   No
Policy Officers:   Yes
Public Administration (MS/Regional/Local):   Yes
Thematic specialists:   No
Comments:   Spatial Data Infrastructures; INSPIRE; metadata; ISO 19115; quality; accuracy; blockchain

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