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GEOREST: OPEN WEB ACCESS TO PUBLIC GEODATA BASED ON ATOM PUBLISHING
Open data is increasingly being seen as a way of promoting citizen engagement, provides transparency and contributes to the economy through re-use of public data for commercial purposes. Public agencies worldwide are making geospatial data available at low cost and with unrestricted re-use licensing. In his “Government Data Design Issues”, Tim Berners-Lee proposes that the first priority is to get data onto the web in raw form. Recently, we have seen many examples of the availability of open raw geospatial data, for example, the UK government (data.gov.uk), the US Federal Government (data.gov), Natural Resources Canada (geogratis.gc.ca) and local governments like the City of Vancouver (data.vancouver.ca). However, a barrier remains between the public and public data because it is difficult to use standard Web tools to search for, retrieve and manipulate raw geospatial data. We suggest that simplest way to overcome this challenge is to publish raw geospatial data using open Web standards; HTTP, HTML, MIME, and Atom. For example, raw geodata made available as HTML and MIME is searchable by any Web search engines such as Google and Bing. HTML/MIME web pages means users can search for and find raw geospatial data in the same familiar way they find anything else on the web. We describe an open source project (www.geoREST.org) that provides an interface that relies on the Atom to provide access to geodata. We describe how government agencies are publishing their geodata, which may be in shape files, Oracle Spatial, SQL Server, MySQL and many other formats as HTML, GeoJSON, KML, and other Web-friendly formats using the GeoREST open source project. We will discuss how this has been implemented at sites in Europe and Canada, and show how this strategy of publishing feature-level representations of government data has enabled direct access by the public to government information.
Haris Kurtagic - SL-King
Jason Birch - City of Nanaimo
Geoff Zeiss - Autodesk