In 2017 GeoCat participated in the INSPIRE conference in Strassbourg as a sponsor and presented various sessions and a workshop. In this blog a summary of some of the sessions visited. Folding this around some of the interesting tweets in that week seems the new way to do this type of posts…

Just before the conference @tr_xsdi posted this. As technologists off course we all agree: INSPIRE is not complex….

The first workshop day I already had a double booking. The OGR/QGIS team had people engage with their GDAL GMLAS driver to load INSPIRE data into QGIS, while JRC organised a workshop around ELISE, on which I presented our work on Geospatial User Feedback.

The second day Jorge and me had quite a challenge to fill a 4 hour #docker workshop with relevant content for the diverse crowd. For me the main question was: What does docker specifically bring for INSPIRE, what it doesn’t bring already to any other data hosting infrastructure. I found that answer in test-automation and continues releases using docker. INSPIRE validation commonly can only fully be done on production systems due to the url-links between components (dataset, service, catalog, validator). By running a dataset, some services, a catalog and the INSPIRE validator all in a single docker environment, you are now able to test a full configuration even on your local desktop. If you assign the production url’s to instances in your test setup, you are able to follow and test links between components as if the whole setup is running on a production environment.

A full room enjoyed the workshop “analyse your data trends” by Francois Prunayre and Vincent Bombaerts in which they explained the key features of the open source software behind the INSPIRE dashboard ( Setting up a new dashboard using custom indicators on data harvested from any portal and validation tooling running on every linked data service appeared quite intuitive.

On the actual conference I had plenty of time to visit parallel sessions. Good to see a lot of attention for API’s and URI’s on the conference, for example on the presentation. However:

The Spanish national spatial organisation presented an interesting research on several aspects of the various national portals. The report will be available on request.

OGC’s Bart de Lathouwer brought an interesting new concept to the SDI table: Dimensions (from data cubes). Which they are now introducing in the Citizen Science domain, but may become more common in other SDI domains soon…

During the conference organiser Marc Leobet treated us on various snappy tweets, like this one:

Another interesting thread started with this tweet. Apparently various EU institutions use OpenStreetMap quite heavily. For them it is the only street/building database as open data with full European coverage. One could argue that INSPIRE still has a long way to go…

On wednesday evening Geonovum organised the traditional Dutch Night, all Dutch conference participants met up in boat in the heart of Strasbourg to have a drink and then spread out to have a ‘walking dinner’ with various french delicatesses. Thank you GeoNovum for the cheerful night out.

On thursday GIM presented a nice workflow from FME server which they use to publish resources to Geoserver and GeoNetwork for Luxemburg.

I was really happy to have joined this presentation, which explained the various levels of INSPIRE implementation in Germany. Apparently Germany has 16 INSPIRE laws, each land in that country has its own law and implementation plan…

All over the conference there were many great presentations and ideas from the WeTransform team (makers of Hale). Like this one. App-schema data visualisation doesn’t necessarily match with layered orientated visualisation in traditional GIS. We need new paradigms for map visualisation. They call their research ‘linked maps’.

Another WeTransform idea is to introduce serverless WFS (GML-feature-blobs on Amazon EC2, with filter capabilities using an additional Elastic Search index).

On friday I had a couple of presentations myself. Stijn was able to capture the punchline of my ‘OGC vs Linked data’ presentation quite well.

A related presentation about using iso19110 to bridge the OGC to Linked data community had a lot of competition from the RDF track. A speed session around Geospatial User Feedback led to some interesting discussion with data providers. People do actually get quite a lot of feedback on data publications, but are not at a stage that they are able to publish the feedback, like recommended by the data on the web best practices. They like the idea of presenting the feedback on a catalog linked to the dataset, but are hesitant to introduce yet another feedback system, better to link with existing feedback mechanisms.

AKKA presented a nice overview of the upcoming GDPR (EU privacy regulation) and the impact for organisations.

Nice to see so many mentions of the LDProxy tooling, even on an FME track.

It was good to see the tool StETL by @justb4 being used at some German University. A Python based ETL framework supporting streaming transformations.

A lot of interesting things happened at this week. Let’s see how much of the ideas will be implemented this upcoming year. An important dead line is passing at the end of this year, all annex 1 datasets will have to be harmonised. Even in the Netherlands there is still a lot of work to do done, let’s maintain the connections that have been set up in the conference, and learn from each others experiences.