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Re: [sdw] Discussion thread for "Spatial Data on the Web 2022 – where next to drive impact from geospatial data" (#1271)

From: Frans Knibbe via GitHub <sysbot+gh@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 13 Aug 2021 19:05:28 +0000
To: public-sdwig@w3.org
Message-ID: <issue_comment.created-898663733-1628881527-sysbot+gh@w3.org>
In my opinion, the single most important target for improving spatial data on the Web is interoperability. Many (probably all) other goals will be easier to achieve if spatial data have improved syntactic and semantic interoperability. This is argued in a position paper that I wrote for the [GeoLD 2021 workshop](https://dice-group.github.io/GeoLD2021/). Official GeoLD URLs are pending, but [here is the paper in PDF](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1RGZ2mZHHdnsnsZv6H_W-10c6vAYO8wFc/view?usp=sharing). I hope you can find some time to read it. That way its contents won't have to be repeated here. But in a nutshell: the idea is that it would be good to have a general model for all spatial data (not only geographic data), and further development of GeoSPARQL ([which is happening now](https://github.com/opengeospatial/ogc-geosparql)) could be a way to get there.
Assuming a cross-domain spatial Web model exists, other ambitions that have been brought up become easier to accomplish:
- Native support for spatial data in Web browsers: This would be great to have, but currently there are a lot of competing models and structures to adopt, even when the scope is limited to geographical data. A universal Web model for spatial data in general would be a huge incentive for arriving at a universal way for Web browsers to recognize spatial data, to visualise them and to make them available for user interaction.
- The ability to have interoperable spatial data available on the Web could be a significant boost for the (semantic) Web as a data platform; it will be able to offer an extra unique benefit. That in turn should fuel improved leverage of existing semantic Web solutions for codifying metadata, provenance data and access control for spatial data.
- Authoritative registers will be easier to set up when they can be linked to or based on a general model for spatial data. The concepts of spatial reference systems and coordinate systems, for instance, are applicable to all kinds of spatial data. A general way to define and reference them will be a vital ingredient in practical interoperability of spatial data.

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