GeoCat - Looking back on 2010
The day of Christmas Eve seems to be a good day to look back on an in many respects enervating year.
With GeoCat we've been working on some great projects that have helped to advance our dreams and have given a lot of satisfaction. I will mention a few here. What is great about these projects is that they have helped us advance the GeoNetwork opensource project significantly. Considering that one of my main reasons to leave the security of a United Nations job for a less secure private company adventure was that it would help GeoNetwork opensource to develop faster, I feel really proud about my team and about the GeoNetwork core developers!
Interesting GeoCat projects
The Dutch National Georegistry (NGR) has been a project we've worked on since GeoCat started back in 2007. The official launch happened during the GSDI conference in Rotterdam in 2009.
This year we've worked on improving it, updating the National Metadata Profile validation and improving INSPIRE related OGC CSW support among others. We've also worked together with Geonovum and the Dutch Kadaster to ensure the NGR can be moved onto the operational infrastructure of the Kadaster. The Kadaster will be responsible for all operational aspects of the central part of the Dutch SDI.
Support to Scandinavian National SDI's
GeoCat worked hard to support Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Scotland with their catalog implementations. These countries have joined their efforts and resources to take GeoNetwork opensource to a level that meets their national and INSPIRE requirements. Much of the custom development of their catalog implementations is done by the countries themselves, while GeoCat has taken up most of the generic requirements and implemented them in GeoNetwork. The three released versions of GeoNetwork v2.6 include a lot of what has been developed in the context of this project. The project will continue in 2011 and the resulting operational catalogues should appear in due course. Looking very much forward to that!
The Dutch Waterboards - Het Waterschapshuis
In collaboration with Nieuwland consulting GeoCat is working for Het Waterschapshuis to develop a central geo infrastructure (Geo-voorziening). Het Waterschapshuis is the executive agency on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for the 26 regional water authorities (Waterschappen) in The Netherlands, a government body comparable with the Provinces. The Geo-voorziening will be operational early 2011 and will provide country covering data layers related to all water management aspects The Netherlands has to deal with. These layers correspond to data required by the INSPIRE directive. The metadata descriptions of these layers will be catalogued in a central repository that will feed its content into the National GeoRegistry (NGR). The individual Waterschappen will be able to upload the data subsets they are responsible for. These subsets will be aggregated into nationwide OGC WMS (INSPIRE View) services. The GeoCat Bridge extension to ArcMap acts as a Bridge between the Waterschappen and the Geo-voorziening to upload and regularly update data and metadata. It will also allow a Waterschap to upload other (locally interesting) data layers to be served on the infrastructure. The data is loaded into PostGIS and served using GeoServer and GeoNetwork opensource.
At the FOSS4G2010 conference in Barcelona we launched the first version of GeoCat Bridge. Bridge helps GIS professionals to deploy metadata and map services quickly from their ArcMap (ArcView, ArcEditor & ArcInfo) desktop applications.
It converts all symbology to standards OGC SLD symbols and optionally uses GeoServer custom extensions to get an even better rendering of the maps. Metadata can be edited and validated against National metadata profiles. The metadata is kept with the data, using the default ESRI way of managing metadata and is published as clean ISO19139 metadata in a GeoNetwork metadata catalog. Since it supports the INSPIRE required metadata fields, it is extremely well suited to quickly publish INSPIRE complaint metadata and services. It saves ArcMap users lots of double work when publishing data on GeoServer, benefitting of the strong classification and symbology support ArcMap offers to them. Bridge is a product we're extremely proud of at GeoCat and hope it will give you as much excitement as it gives us developing it!
Other things that make me happy
The list is pretty long! I should start with my real kids here ;)
But when it comes to professional joy, the development of that other baby made me happy:
- GeoNetwork opensource was selected as the platform of choice for the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) Clearinghouse. (GEO Portal.org)
- The Australian Spatial Data Directory
- Institute of Volcanology and Seismology of FEB RAS, Russia
- Ministerio do Meio Ambiente, Brasil Geo processamento
These are just a few. I can't possibly name all new GeoNetwork based nodes that were created this year. I've seen them in more languages than I could ever have imagined. From Dutch to Finish, from Turkish to Russian and Greek.
What else can I say than a big thank you to all those that have used a tool that was once my baby, but now is a big kid that doesn't need his father that much anymore. I just wish GeoNetwork to grow more and more in the years to come, developed by all those other great people surrounding him. And I will definitely still contribute with whatever I can!
We at GeoCat have another challenging year ahead with exciting new projects, among whom is the Adaption Clearinghouse for Europe (information related to Climate Change Adaptation). I'll try to write more about them during the year :-)
And if you need our support, we're here to help you!
Thank you and a Happy 2011!
Founder and chair of the GeoNetwork opensource Project Steering Committee
Owner of GeoCat bv