DigRepStandardsGIS

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GIS Standards

  • Area: Geographic Information.
  • Standard: ISO geographic information series of standards.
  • About the Standard: ISO Technical Committee 211 Geographic information/Geomatics is responsible for the ISO geographic information series of standards. There are over 40 separate standards in this series all focused at standardization in the field of digital geographic information. The work aims to establish a structured set of standards for information concerning objects or phenomena that are directly or indirectly associated with a location relative to the Earth.
  • Version: Various, refer to ISO/TC 211 and ISO for status of standards.
  • Maturity: Levels of maturity vary depending upon the individual standard. For example the most mature in the series is ISO 6709 – Standard representation of latitude, longitude and altitude for geographic point locations while TS 19139 – Metadata – Implementation Specification is yet to be ratified.
  • Risk Assessment: The ISO geographic information series of standards addresses a diverse range of functions. The standards specify methods, tools and services for data management, acquiring, processing, analyzing, accessing, presenting and transferring geographic information between different users, systems and locations. Fact sheets for individual standards are available at www.isotc211.org providing general guidance on which sector (system developers, data producers, data users etc) the standard will be of relevance to.
  • Additional Notes: Following is a list of ISO/TC 211 published standards. A full list of geographic information standards (including those not yet published) can be obtained from ISO/TC 211.

ISO 6709:1983 Standard representation of latitude, longitude and altitude for geographic point locations

ISO 19101:2002 Geographic information -- Reference model

ISO/TS 19103:2005 Geographic information -- Conceptual schema language

ISO 19105:2000 Geographic information -- Conformance and testing

ISO 19106:2004 Geographic information -- Profiles

ISO 19107:2003 Geographic information -- Spatial schema

ISO 19108:2002 Geographic information -- Temporal schema

ISO 19109:2005 Geographic information -- Rules for application schema

ISO 19110:2005 Geographic information -- Methodology for feature cataloguing

ISO 19111:2003 Geographic information -- Spatial referencing by coordinates

ISO 19112:2003 Geographic information -- Spatial referencing by geographic identifiers

ISO 19113:2002 Geographic information -- Quality principles

ISO 19114:2003 Geographic information -- Quality evaluation procedures

ISO 19115:2003 Geographic information -- Metadata

ISO 19116:2004 Geographic information -- Positioning services

ISO 19117:2005 Geographic information -- Portrayal

ISO 19119:2005 Geographic information -- Services

ISO/TR 19120:2001 Geographic information -- Functional standards

ISO/TR 19121:2000 Geographic information -- Imagery and gridded data

ISO/TR 19122:2004 Geographic information / Geomatics -- Qualification and certification of personnel

ISO 19125-1:2004 Geographic information -- Simple feature access -- Part 1: Common architecture

ISO 19125-2:2004 Geographic information -- Simple feature access -- Part 2: SQL option

ISO/TS 19127:2005 Geographic information -- Geodetic codes and parameters


  • SOA Role: Some of the ISO geographic information series of standards relate specifically to making geographic information available as a web service, for example ISO/FDIS 19128 – Web Map server interface.
  • Further Information: Further information can be found at ISO/TC 211 and ISO.
  • Author: Anne Robertson, EDINA
  • Contributor: David Medyckyj-Scott, EDINA
  • Date Created: 05 Aug 2005

  • Area: Geographic Information.
  • Standard: ISO 19115 Geographic Information - Metadata.
  • About the Standard: ISO 19115 defines the schema required for describing geographic information and services. Geographic information are objects or phenomena that are directly or indirectly associated with a location relative to the Earth. ISO 19115 provides information about the identification, the extent, the quality, the spatial and temporal schema, spatial reference, and distribution of geographic data.
  • Version: Published International Standard as of 8th May 2003.
  • Maturity: ISO 19115 is immature in terms of any practical integration into business models and production systems. This is due to the inherent complexity of the standard and the still to be ratified ISO 19139 (the XML schema implementation of ISO 19115 required by developers to create applications based upon the ISO 19115 standard).
  • Risk Assessment: ISO 19115 defines almost 300 metadata elements. They are explicitly defined in order to help users understand exactly what is being described. Individual communities, nations or organizations may develop a community profile of ISO19115. A community profile shall contain the core metadata components, but not necessarily all the other metadata components. Additionally it may contain metadata elements that are not within ISO 19115. Attention should be given to selecting an appropriate profile. Examples of community profiles include: regional profiles such as North America, Europe, Australia; thematic profiles such as meteorological and hydrological profiles and sector-specific profiles such as the UK Government profile known as GEMINI and the UK Higher and Further Education profile known as AGMAP. AGMAP - the Academic Geospatial Metadata Application Profile – has been created to meet the needs of the UK Higher and Further Education community as part of the JISC funded Geo-Data Browser Go-Geo! projects.
  • Additional Notes: ISO 19115 defines:
  • mandatory and conditional metadata sections, metadata entities, and metadata elements;
  • the minimum set of metadata required to serve the full range of metadata applications (data discovery, determining data fitness for use, data access, data transfer, and use of digital data);
  • optional metadata elements - to allow for a more extensive standard description of geographic data, if required;
  • a method for extending metadata to fit specialized needs.
  •  : Though ISO 19115 is applicable to digital data, its principles can be extended to many other forms of geographic data such as maps, charts, and textual documents as well as non-geographic data.
  •  : ISO 19139 Geographic Information – Metadata – XML Schema Implementation as described above is under development.
  •  : ISO/WD 19115-2 Geographic Information – Metadata – Part 2: Extensions for imagery and gridded data is under development.
  •  : Up to date details on the status of these standards can be obtained from www.iso.org.
  • SOA Role: ISO 19115 is designed to provide metadata not only for geographic information and but also for geographic web services.
  • Further Information:
  • Author: Anne Robertson, EDINA
  • Contributor: David Medyckyj-Scott, EDINA
  • Date Created: 05 Aug 2005

  • Area: Geographic Information.
  • Standard: Open Geospatial Consortium Specifications.
  • About the Standard: Geographic information relates to objects or phenomena that are directly or indirectly associated with a location relative to the Earth. The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) has been the most active geospatial standardization body in recent years and has proposed many standards that have been adopted by ISO. The OGC is an international industry consortium consisting of approximately 279 companies, government agencies and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available interface specifications. OGC specifications support interoperable solutions that "geo-enable" the Web, wireless and location-based services, and mainstream IT. There are over 30 OGC specifications consisting of abstract and implementation specifications. Details of all specifications can be found at www.opengeospatial.org.
  • Maturity: An indication of the maturity of each specification can be gathered from the information found at www.opengeospatial.org/specs/. Maturity of all specifications varies, however broadly speaking, the abstract specifications are fairly mature, finalised in the late 1990s with some already translated to ISO standards e.g. OGC Abstract Specification Topic 1, Feature Geometry equates to ISO 19107 Geographic information – Spatial schema. Of the Implementation Specifications, there are a number which the geographic community as a whole are beginning to implement – the Web Map Service, Web Feature Service, Web Coverage Service and Geography Markup Language are well known.
  • Risk Assessment: OGC specifications are still regarded by many as bleeding edge. There are an increasing number of software products and data providers implementing OGC specifications, however all specifications are still evolving and versions update fairly frequently. The Web Map Service specification is probably the most widely implemented and therefore most stable specification today. OGC recognise the difficulty for software and data providers who wish their products to be compliant to particular specifications, to this end they have established a Compliance and Interoperability Testing and Evaluation Portal where software implementations can be checked against the latest approved specification.
  • Additional Notes: The standards tracks of OGC and ISO are fully coordinated through shared personnel and through various resolutions of ISO TC211 and OGC. They are often complementary and where they overlap, there is no competition, but common action. Through OGC's cooperative relationship with ISO, many of OGC's Specifications either have become ISO standards or are on track to become ISO standards. OGC work also intersects other Information and Communication Technology systems standards bodies including OASIS, IETF and OMG.
  • SOA Role: The general trend in geospatial standards development today, and especially within the realms of OGC, is towards the use of open, interoperable, non-discriminatory and demand-driven standards that take into account the needs of users and consumers. Increasingly, these standards have relevance within a service oriented architecture. SOA relevant OGC specifications are broadly grouped into portrayal, data and catalog services. Refer to www.opengeospatial.org for detail on individual specifications.
  • Author: Anne Robertson, EDINA
  • Contributor: David Medyckyj-Scott, EDINA
  • Date Created: 05 Aug 2005

-- Main.AnneRobertson - 05 Aug 2005