background

The catalyst for the two ANZLIC metadata workshops was the release by the Office of Spatial Data Management (OSDM) of the Australian Government’s recommended profile for the international geospatial metadata standard ISO 19115. Considerable work had also been undertaken to develop complementary profiles for New Zealand, Western Australia (WALIS) and the Australian Marine Community (Australian Oceanographic Data Centre (AODC) Joint Facility).

With the various jurisdictions in the process of developing their own profiles for the new international geospatial metadata standard (ISO 19115), ANZLIC had recognised the opportunity to (potentially) harmonise these efforts.

attendance

Over 45 people attended the Perth workshop, including representation from WA, NT, NZ, ACT, Australian and New Zealand government agencies, WA local government, utilities and spatial industry.

Over 50 people attended the Melbourne workshop with representation from Victorian, Queensland, Tasmanian, NSW, ACT SA and Australian government agencies, NSW and Victorian local government and utilities, various spatial industry representatives and academia.

topics

Three key issues were addressed at the workshops:

  1. ANZLIC Profile – review jurisdictional developments
  2. Metadata Tools – functional requirements and development
  3. Web Services Metadata – linkage to ANZLIC profile and the ASDD

ANZLIC profile

The three jurisdictional developments provide a sound base to develop a national profile. While there was no formal coordination to date between the various profile developments, the jurisdictions had informally liaised with each other ensuring that harmonisation was possible between the three developments. The differences between the OSDM and other developments was in the area of marine community needs (managed by the AODC Joint Facility team), organisational data management needs (WALIS) and national e-Govt requirements (New Zealand).

The workshops identified that the Australian Government profile provided a sound common base between the four developments and could be seen as similar to the Page 0 concept previously developed for the ANZLIC Version 1 & 2 Metadata standards. This approach enabled the other jurisdictional developments to be considered as expanding on the core elements identified by OSDM’s Metadata Working Group.

The other ANZLIC jurisdictions had been awaiting the endorsement of the ISO standard and for ANZLIC to initiate the development of the ANZLIC profile of the ISO metadata standard. All jurisdictions at the two workshops indicated support for the development of a national profile (ANZLIC Version 3) based on the jurisdictional developments.

metadata entry/update/export tools

Each workshop identified the need for compliant metadata tools to be developed in parallel with the implementation of an ANZLIC ISO 19115 profile. It was acknowledged that the ANZLIC MET Tool based on Microsoft ACCESS had been instrumental in gaining industry adoption of the current ANZLIC standard, encouraging organisations to collect metadata and enabling the quantity of records in the ASDD to increase.

The workshop attendees noted that with the non-continuing support of the ANZLIC MET Tool, there was no industry supported free-to-air metadata tools that were compliant with the ANZLIC 2 Metadata standard (DTD Version 1.3), with the result that organisations were increasingly finding it difficult to maintain or collect new metadata.

There was recognition that ANZLIC was not the relevant body to maintain and support software and that the development of compliant tools would need to sought from organisations who had a long term business requirement to maintain and support the software (whether commercial or internal business needs).

Western Australia had developed functional specifications based on input from a number of state and local government agencies and private sector. WA was now looking at co-funding the development of a tool in support of their common operational needs. The specifications were available for other jurisdictions to review and comment on. WA was assessing various local developments, commercial tools and open source ISO compliant developments to see if they could provide an effective and sustainable base to develop their tool.

AODC have developed technical specifications for the development of a tool for the marine community. The workshops explored the option for co-development of a tool based on both the marine and generic community needs. This was subsequently approved by the AODC Joint Facility team.

The feedback from the two workshops was that industry should be encouraged to develop compliant metadata tools as part of their commercial software or open source offerings. ANZLIC would need to circulate the metadata and metadata tool specifications to the industry and liaise with ASIBA to assess opportunities for the industry to support the objective and opportunity for compliant metadata tools. It was recognised that modest ongoing funding would likely be needed for the development and maintenance of open source tools.

Attendees suggested that ANZLIC fund the development of a top level open source metadata entry, update, export and validation service to enable organisations to test compliance of tools with the ANZLIC profile. This was seen as essential in supporting the implementation and adoption of a new national metadata profile.

web services metadata

Simon Cox (Perth) and Rob Atkinson (Melbourne) provided an update on geospatial web services metadata implementations based on the Open Geospatial Consortium’s OpenGIS® Catalog Services Specification 2.0 and ISO19119.

The concept of web services metadata and catalog services was seen as a topic that was not yet fully understood by the general spatial community. Both presenters noted that the specification required the development of web services to help define the implementation aspects of the catalog specifications. There was consensus that this specification was important for the future development of the Australian Spatial Data Infrastructure (ASDI), but that it would be at least the end of 2005 until there was greater clarity on the implementation requirements.

The linkage to the ASDD in terms of geospatial web service discovery will also need to be addressed once the operational user requirements of the web services catalog services are advanced.

It was noted that there was a considerable number of attendees at the Melbourne workshop (and a smaller percentage at the Perth workshop) who were unaware of, or had used the ASDD. Participants recognised the importance of the ASDD but encouraged ANZLIC to ensure there was greater promotion, improved user interface (Google type interface) and linkage from the metadata to the actual data (either by download or via OGC compliant web mapping or feature services).

summary of conclusions

  • The workshops agreed there was a requirement for delivery of a national metadata profile compliant with the ISO metadata standard under an “ANZLIC 3” label. It was felt that there is a requirement to complete this activity by the end of September 2005;
  • The workshops felt that the development of the ANZLIC profile should be largely based on the existing Australian Government profile with additional inputs from NZ and WA. WA, the Australian Government, NZ, VIC and the marine community (through the AODC Joint Facility) put up their hands to participate in this activity;
  • The workshops agreed that a free-to-air, open source tool be developed in conjunction with the marine community to enable metadata entry, update and export in accord with the new ANZLIC metadata profile of the ISO metadata standard. There is a requirement to also complete this activity by the end of September 2005. A compilation of existing metadata tool requirements is a precursor to this development;
  • The workshops advocated the development of a companion outreach and promotions plan to communicate developments in the profile’s development, documentation and simple tool development;
  • The workshops encouraged the inclusion, where possible, of the OGC Catalog Services 2 specification elements that will enable ‘ANZLIC 3’ to be flexible for extension to deliver web and catalog services as these are developed and refined in the near future. While it was felt that these specifications aren’t completely finalised at the moment, there are certainly core elements that can be addressed in the ANZLIC profile.

additional references

Australian Government’s recommended profile for ISO19115

Draft New Zealand Geospatial Metadata Standard

Open Geospatial Consortium’s OpenGIS® Catalog Services Specification 2.0

Presentations from the ANZLIC Metadata Workshops (Perth & Melbourne, February 2005)

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