Establishment of Spatial Data Infrastructure within the Environmental Sector in Slovak Republic

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1 EnviroInfo 2005 (Brno) Informatics for Environmental Protection - Networking Environmental Information Establishment of Spatial Data Infrastructure within the Environmental Sector in Slovak Republic Martin Tuchyna 1 Abstract Life quality improvement depends as on our willingness for development as on accessibility of relevant and high quality information influencing on our decisions. Spatial information can play a special role in this improvement process because it allows information to be integrated from a variety of disciplines for a various usage. Within the environmental sector of Slovakia we can recognise high demand for usage and access dissemination of spatial information. On the other hand we are still facing to problems connected with incompatibility, low accessibility, spatial data gaps, duplicity collection, insufficient access to metadata, varying standards and low level of mutual coordination. Fortunately things are getting better and establishment of spatial data infrastructure (SDI) defined by INSPIRE can bring solutions for this kind of problems. Therefore the team of the Department of Informatics at the Slovak Environmental Agency (SEA) with mutual co-operation of GIS specialist from the other governmental institutions under the Ministry of the environment (MoE) of the Slovak Republic (as Geological Survey of Slovak Republic, Slovak Hydrometeorological Institute, Slovak Water Management Enterprise, State Nature Conservancy of the Slovak Republic, Water Research Institute and Slovak Caves Administration, The Slovak Museum of Nature Protection and Speleology) decided to develop distributed geographically oriented system which brings a new approach to collection, administration, dissemination and publishing of spatial information. Old way of complicated mutual exchange among heterogeneous environments and platforms and difficult access for various users is going to be replaced by new approach based on principles of interoperability, standardisation, and dissemination. 1. Philosophy and vision The main philosophy is establishing fully operable SDI within the environmental sector as an essential component of national SDI. This NSDI will represent Slovak contribution to European SDI. SDI is a framework defining the main rules for collecting, administration, processing and distribution of spatial information among wide community. This framework will have legal base and will provide sufficient information as for common citizens as for specialist and good policy support process. Practical aspect of this effort is represented by developed Central data warehouse, with regularly actualised spatial data and their metadata with the vision to transformation to distributed system. This aim depends on speed of development of data warehouses among all the other environmental organisations and their mutual network penetration. 1 Slovak environmental agency, Tajovskeho 28, Banska Bystrica, Slovakia, Internet: 307

2 2. Users SDI is built above Territorial information system (TIS). TIS ( is providing framework for mutual exchange of spatial data among organisations under the Ministry of environment via internal network as well as towards the public end-users. Available reference and environmentally oriented spatial data are distributed by various methods to different clients. We can recognise professional GIS users as clients representing state, governmental organisations requiring access to raw spatial data. These data are than used for various analyses and visualisations following rules set up by agreements and directions respecting legal aspects and ownership issues. On the other hand there are users required selected kinds of information. They can use specific application focused on area of their interest, or they can access the spatial data via map services. 3. Architecture and used technologies TIS is based on three-tier architecture: Client tier - application tier - data tier. On the client side, there is wide range of free of charge applications (e.g. web browsers Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, or Java applications Arc Explorer etc.) providing access for visualisation or direct access to raw spatial data. Depending on requirements there is possibility to use stand-alone desktop GIS applications for viewing or editing of spatial data (e.g. Arc Map, Arc Editor). Middleware application tier is built upon ESRI platform represented by Arc SDE, ArcIMS and Apache webserver as a gate between client requirements and data warehouse possibilities. Spatial data, localised under the Oracle environment represent essential tier. 4. Components of SDI of Slovakian environmental sector 4.1 Metadata The main metadata service for the environmental sector in Slovakia is Catalogue of data sources (CDS) developed by SEA. CDS is on-line available ( The Slovak Environmental CDS contains meta-information about documents, projects, databases, vector spatial data and raster spatial environmentally oriented data. Some of the reference and core thematic metadata can be also found there. There is an English version available, but updating is stagnating. It is freely accessible. The CDS will be transformed to Metadata system of environmental sector following actual expectations and recommendations, harmonised with actual metadata standards. 4.2 Data specification According the Annex I-III of INSPIRE Directive proposal within the environmental sector we can recognize coverage of selected thematic datasets: Annex I: Hydrography, protected sites. AnnexII: Landcover. Annex III: Statistical units, soil, geology, environmental monitoring facilities, area management/restriction/regulation zones & reporting units, natural risk zones, atmospheric conditions, meteorological geographical features, bio-geographical regions, habitats and biotopes, species distribution. Existence of implementation rules is just in preparation phase. Data harmonisation process is therefore in the same stage. The first step towards this aim is proposal for catalogue of objects as an base for Conceptual model. This conceptual model is primarily created to scope the data requirements and then capture the business view of the data. No technical details regarding the data structure are introduced at this level. Details of the entities in terms of most of its actual atomic data contents (the as attributes ) and the relationships between the entities are captured in this model. 308

3 4.3 Network services and interoperability Service oriented architecture is the main orientation of further development within the environmental sector. There some types of services already in place like data view services, download services and transformation services. The other kind of services like upload, discovery and invoke spatial data services are under the development. Issues of interoperability were started to be solved by publishing OGC compliant WMS services via web map server. List of them is available via Fig. 1: Example of usage OGC WMS service published by SEA Source: Data and service sharing The Ministry of the environment declared principle that environmentally oriented data created by the financing of state budget should be freely accessible without the restrictions. There is only demand for registration of usage and accepting of copyright. Since the 2004 realisation team of Central geographical system has been established ( and started to fulfil tasks connected with the development of internal spatial data infrastructure for exchange of data and services among the public institutions. This framework allows the authorised users use the data and service with the content which at this moment cannot be freely accessible because of licensing, property rights etc. 309

4 Fig. 2: Web application providing viewing and downloading servives Source: Monitoring and reporting Is just at the preparation phase of INSPIRE implementation. There can be only recognised small amount of activities as participation on annual INSPIRE state of play update ( Therefore there is necessary to create implementing rules, transpose them to the relevant level and prepare appropriate cost benefit analysis. 5. Awareness This field was until recently very weak, but the progress is significant via participation on the various conferences and workshops, publishing articles and information via various channels and also by organizing the Enviro I Forum conference ( 6. Conclusion There has been set up foundation stone for further development of SDI in Slovak environmental sector. The process is just on beginning, but MoE, SEA and other partners recognised importance of SDI initiatives. SEA has finished pilot project in development of SDI and now is under the process of further development towards adopting of OGC specifications and multilingual support. All the components will be integrated under the Enviroportal gate to environmental information ( Foto enviroportalu. 310

5 Bibliography Tuchyňa, M. (2005): INSPIRE brána EÚ k priestorovým informáciam o ŽP, Proceedings of a Conference Enviro-i-Forum Held in June 2005, pp EC (2004): INSPIRE Work Programme Preparatory Phase , Brussels EC (2004): Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council, establishing an infrastructure for spatial information in the Community (INSPIRE) (SEC(2004) 980), Brussels 311

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