INSPIRE Technical Guidance for Schema Transformation Services

Type: Consulting project with prototyping activities, 2009 to 2010

Contact: Matt Beare, 1spatial

Abstract: 1Spatial, RSW Geomatics and Rob Walker Consultancy, have completed a project for the Joint Research Council (JRC) on Schema Transformation Network Services for INSPIRE. The project involved a review of the current tools and standards available to the community to achieve schema transformation into INSPIRE compliant data structures. The primary objective was to develop Technical Guidance for the practical implementation of the INSPIRE Implementing Rules for schema transformation.

The recommendation is to base implementations on open standards meaning the guidance is:

  • Vendor neutral and supportive of interoperability aspirations;
  • Based on rigorously defined and internationally proven concepts;
  • Capable of operating effectively and automatically within the problem domain.

System developers are encouraged to use the Open Geospatial Consortium Geography Markup Language (GML) for describing source and target schemas along with the World Wide Web Consortium Rules Interchange Format (RIF) for the standard definition of schema mappings. The technical guidance was reviewed across the community and around 400 feedback comments were received and responded to during the project.

A prototype was developed to validate the given recommendations which demonstrated an open standards based transformation service. This was tested on six sample data sources across Europe. These included cadastral parcels, transport networks and hydrography. The objective was to select and deploy a set of pre-existing tools, which consisted of open source, freeware and commercial products. The chosen tool, for defining schema mappings, was the HUMBOLDT Alignment Editor (HALE). HALE was readily extended to include a RIF export plug-in for the exchange of open standards schema mapping rules. As part of the JRC project, this work was undertaken by 1Spatial and the resulting code has been donated to the HUMBOLDT open source libraries. EU based researchers are already asking for the code extension.

“We are delighted to be able to contribute to the growing network of INSPIRE activities by donating this code to the HUMBOLDT project enabling the knowledge base to grow. We are confident that following the HUMBOLDT open day further opportunities to collaborate and share knowledge can be realised.” said Dr Matt Beare, Business Systems Analyst, 1Spatial.

“EU Research projects like HUMBOLDT want to leave their mark, and the fact that 1Spatial has been taking up some of the core developments shows that ideas from the project are being adopted in the community. The HUMBOLDT Open Day in Lisbon, where the collaboration with the community played a large role, was visited by more than 80 professionals from all over Europe. This forum provided us with the opportunity to advocate a standards-based approach towards powerful and high-quality schema transformation.” said Thorsten Reitz, Head Graphical Information Systems, Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research.

For further information on the Technical Guidance please visit