Best Practices for Publishing, Retrieving, and Using Spatial Data on the Web

Tracking #: 1785-2998

Linda van den Brink
Payam Barnaghi
Jeremy Tandy
Ghislain Atemezing
Rob Atkinson
Byron Cochrane
Yasmin Fathy
Raúl García-Castro
Armin Haller
Andreas Harth
Krzysztof Janowicz
Şefki Kolozali
Bart van Leeuwen
Maxime Lefrançois
Josh Lieberman
Andrea Perego
Danh Le Phuoc
Bill Roberts
Kerry Taylor
Raphael Troncy

Responsible editor: 
Pascal Hitzler

Submission type: 
Data owners are creating an ever richer set of information resources online, and these are being used for more and more applications. Spatial data on the Web is becoming ubiquitous and voluminous with the rapid growth of location-based services, spatial technologies, dynamic location-based data and services published by different organizations. However, the heterogeneity and the peculiarities of spatial data, in particular, make it difficult for data users, Web applications, and services to discover, interpret and use the information in the large and distributed system that is the Web. To make spatial data more effectively available, this paper summarizes the work of the joint W3C/OGC Working Group on Spatial Data on the Web that identifies 14 best practices for publishing spatial data on the Web. The paper extends that work by presenting the identified challenges and rationale for selection of the recommended best practices, framed by the set of principles that guided the selection. It describes best practices that are employed to enable publishing, discovery and retrieving (querying) spatial data on the Web, and identifies some areas where a best practice has not yet emerged.
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Solicited Reviews:
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Review #1
Anonymous submitted on 23/Dec/2017
Review Comment:

Anonymous review for this paper (handled outside the system):

The manuscript is recommended for publication in its current form. The current version is a revision from a previous submission. The authors have addressed comments and suggestions from me and another reviewer.

In particular, the authors make a clarification about the difference between spatial and geospatial data in the manuscript and use a table (Table 2) in section 3 to offer an organized overview of the discussed best practices, which will help readers compare the topics mentioned in the manuscript.

I also read the revisions that the authors made to address the comments of another reviewers. The authors have done a careful job to improve the quality of the paper.

Review #2
By Christoph Schlieder submitted on 24/Dec/2017
Review Comment:

The authors have considerably improved the article. Their revision addresses all the issues that I raised in my review. Most importantly, the article now clarifies the relation to the W3C Working Note and explicitly states the objectives of such a companion publication. On overall, I recommend to publish the article in its present form.

Review #3
Anonymous submitted on 03/Jan/2018
Review Comment:

Anonymous review for this paper (handled outside the system):

This revision does a credible job of addressing reviewer comments and is ready for publication save for a small number of minor issues that should be easily managed by the authors without need of additional review:

1. The authors have clarified "spatial" in "spatial data", but should clarify "data": data appears to implicitly include types, instances, perhaps metadata, etc., but this should be made explicit or more precise.
2. Figure 1 still does not work for me: isn't the Semantic Web a subset of the Web? I struggle to see what could be part of the Semantic Web that isn't part of the Web - how is (geo)SPARQL not part of the Web, given it is a query language for RDF, which the diagram shows as being both in the Semantic Web and Web? Moving the Semantic Web into the Web will resolve many of the issues, I think. Also, as an idea, "desktop GIS" might be added to Spatial outside the Web.
3. Things that require more clarification:
- "5 star linked spatial data"
- "spatial is a way of reasoning" - spatial is defined as pertaining to descriptions of location, not a mode of inference
- "anyone can assign identifiers. in a namespace they own"
- Fig 5 is not explained in the text or caption - it needs explanation or removal.
- "Even if the recommendation focuses on precision.information"
- "the time-series of data values within such attributes of the spatial thing should be represented." Does this contrast timeseries vs snapshots?
- "catalog services are intended to be used for searching spatial assets, not by general purpose search engines."
- "Datasets describing administrative units. information" needs simplification