Stefan Müller Arisona
04 Sep 2012 to 04 Sep 2012
Fast urbanization processes have been commanding interdisciplinary efforts to address social, economic and environmental challenges in a sustainable way. Practice and research work in urban planning and city design ask for a strong support of geospatial data and technologies at local, regional and global scales. With the ever increasing availability of geospatial data from public sectors and user generated geo-tagged content in social media networks, urban researchers have more and more opportunities and challenges to investigate the reality and to design new scenarios based on modeling and simulation on an unprecedented level.
In order to fully explore the potential of geospatial resources (data and technologies), efficient and strong supports are required to find appropriate datasets, suitable handling and visualization tools online services. To facilitate this process, the concepts of metadata, data catalog and geoportal have long been proposed and implemented in national mapping agencies and other data collection organizations, from that users can browse and search the availability of specific datasets. With advent of web services, Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) has been used and gradually enriched as a commonly accepted framework to enhance geospatial data sharing, interoperability and integration.
SDI is an inevitable prerequisite for urban researchers, who have recognized geospatial data and GIS as powerful support tools. However, in a research organization, which addresses emerging issues from global and regional to city and even urban district levels, required geospatial data and GIS functions cover such a large variety that is not accommodated by currently available SDI. Thus, an SDI for urban research has different requirements than those designed for data sharing and service mash-up. In order to meet these needs, analysis of users’ background knowledge and proficiency on GIS has been done first. Based on this, a higher level strategy is designed which includes geospatial data catalogue, database interoperability, standard online services and web-oriented applications. At the first level, metadata structure of geospatial data and services is provided to show the availability and accessibility to various users. Special users are included and authorized to certain permissions to operate in the database directly, which is different from data downloading or mashing up only. Online data and processing services that follow the ISO/TC211 or OGC standards can meet requirements for users who take urban maps as background and concentrate on urban phenomena. Finally, the analysis results should also be submitted back to database for refinement, conflation and consolidation with other results. The web oriented services of 3D city models are also discussed.
The architecture of the presented SDI has been designed and implemented at the Future Cities Laboratory of ETH Zurich’s Singapore-ETH Centre. The experience, together with the data-hunting process, is beneficial for organizations with similar focus on urban research and contributes to the discourse how to further develop SDIs in this area.