The application of topological norms in the Geospatial context

One of the 6 2014 Cadastre declarations, set out in 1995, in which many experts from the International Federation of Geometricians put forward what the Cadastre would look like in the 2014 year, was: "Cadastral Cartography will be part of the past. The procedure will modeling".

Cartography is a very old discipline, and at all times has been at the service of initiatives of great importance for the human being, depending on the time: Conquests, Wars, Religion, Research, Tourism, Ecology, etc. Today is not a case different from other times, although the products of representation are totally different; before a map was a true work of art for the level of detail and the cost of its preparation. The standards in these times were circumscribed to aspects of visual character, such as letter size, line symbology, points, fill, plot, etc. although the scientific principles are still almost the same in the current era. The technological limitations made it necessary to handle different data models, in different scales.

Today we have databases, computerized and interconnected information systems, so that different versions of reality can be represented in the same data model.

Topology standards

The sample image is just a case of the complexity of our real life, applied to the case of land administration:

  • There is an original building.
  • At the top has ceded the right to a telephone company to exploit its use for 25 years.
  • Additionally, there is a street, which has been built for the company that owns the tower, over which it has not only the right of way but the responsibility of investing 8,000 dollars every year in maintenance.
  • The owner's house has been left below the street.
  • Additionally, there is an area marked in yellow, whose property right is a testament that the deceased owner has written. This testament said that the son will be the owner of the property, once he marries and his son is born. Otherwise, the good must become communal property. The son got married, but he has discovered that he is sterile. The supreme court can not resolve anything regarding the will to issue a sentence, especially now that his wife is transsexual and can not have children either ...

It is clear that the last case I exaggerated only to remember the breadth of the spectrum of possibilities. The arrival of the computer age certainly marks a milestone in the handling of information, not only because we need to make systems for human interaction, but because the interest to share information in international contexts is globalized. The case of ISO 19152 is a clear example of how all these possibilities in land management have been modeled, with classes, subclasses and attributes defined for each possible case.

Rather than giving complexity to the subject, what the LADM standard (ISO 19152) seeks is to help the institution in charge of managing the land in a country to fulfill its generic role, regardless of its size, registry linkage - Cadastre, etc. And that generic role will always be:

  • Maintain the relationship of property rights.
  • Provide information to the public about this record.

So, modeling is a trend from mathematical application to the geospatial era.

topologies standards

1 The standard is an obligation of semantic equilibrium.

The inventiveness of the human being is aggressive, more when the marketing of the results is highly competitive, every day we are surprised by new applications based on the management of spatial topologies. The need for the standard arises just to create a balance between the offer of the benefits of technology in terms of spatial databases, GIS, Internet, free code, high performance equipment and, on the other hand the demand of people, public and private institutions for interacting with information efficiently. The existence of these standards, formalizes the recognition of rules and norms with which you can model the objects of reality under the same semantic language. The accepted international validity of an international standardization organization (ISO) allows today, -in the case of geography- that the flow that involves the acquisition, processing, analysis, presentation and transfer of spatial data between different users, systems and locations is facilitated. As a result, companies that once monopolized their position with products or services, now seek to make visible compliance with standards.

2 The role of the OGC in geospatial standards.

In the case of geospatial standards, most existing ISO standards are developed by the Open Geospatial Consortium OGC -before Open GIS Consortium- that participates in the Technical Committee (TC / 211) responsible for geographic and geomatics information topics, usually in the 19000 range. In the OGC, 481 currently participates entities, among companies, institutions and public entities related to disciplines of the geospatial area. Thanks to this instance, interoperability in the current use of technologies in the geographical field has been greatly enhanced. It is also necessary to recognize that part of the merit of the OGC is due to the current trend for the democratization of knowledge promoted by the free code. Although the OGC has that name from 1994, its antecedent is due to the sustainability effort of the oldest open source Geographical Information System: GRASS, which has existed since the 1970s. It is also interesting to see, that there is a irreversible trend of public, regional and international institutions to bet on the sustainability and application of standards. The case of the Land Administration is evidenced by initiatives such as: INSPIRE, which adopts the ISO 19152 as a specialization in land management, LANDxml.org is another case, the European Land Information Service EULIS and the same FIG.

3 The challenges of new professionals in the geospatial area.

uml land xmlThe current importance of standards requires new professionals linked to the geospatial theme, not only know but deepen. Beyond capturing, analyzing, managing or exchanging data, they must be able to read models, interpret rules, spatial schemes and, above all, the languages ​​in which they are documented. The challenge is not simple. Traditional roles have been separated between those who capture (surveyors, surveyors), those who analyze (geographers, engineers, geologists), those who produce final material (cartographers, cartoonists) and those who make systems for data management (computer) . Now all the disciplines are combined in the use of technologies, which requires a unified modeling language, this is the UML.

But: How many standards should we know?

We are aware that there is a risk of getting lost within so many documents, rules, rules and protocols. Beyond using standards, which we do every time we integrate a WMS layer, WFS, it is convenient that professionals deepen in this context gradually.

  • In the first instance, it is convenient that you master the main aspects of the UML language. This can be done next to knowing the CSL (conceptual schema language), quite simple to understand since its scope is schematic at the level of abstraction from the real world. We have been doing it since high school, when we made conceptual maps or mental maps; that developed our capacity for understanding, synthesis, abstraction and, the CSL is nothing more than a standard applied to that field.
  • Then it will be convenient to know the main regulations, especially those related to their role scheme within the cycle of geographic data production. To mention some, Spacial (ISO 19107), Temporary (ISO 19108), Quality (ISO 19115), Geographic Dictionary (ISO 19112) and Metadata Scheme (ISO 19115).
  • In the third instance, it is also useful to understand the architecture tendencies of computer systems, especially those oriented to services (SOA), where this design process can be observed from the general conceptual to the methodological in the level of details and data.

In conclusion, the incorporation of topological norms in the geospatial context are aspects that, although they make complex the role of the new professional of the earth sciences, are the cause of the sustainable rise of the application of the geographic information to many daily disciplines. Learning to understand models will only enhance the opportunities of professionals who expect to be competitive in the new geographic context scenario.

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