I am sure I am not the only one, you have the mother of all projects to get some spatial analysis done on by close of business and you go to merge the data for a spot of spatial join action and……there is no consistency, in fact every single data has a different way of structuring its attribute data.
Okay, so maybe you won’t be merging your data together for a spatial join, only a complete noob would be doing that (hello :P) but the point is, where are the standards? You buy survey data and most of its own data uses different attribute labelling formats, you download some Government Open Data and you spend 90% of your time trying to work out what the columns are about…if they are labelled at all!.
This is the modern age, we are looking at big data and cloud based systems yet we can’t even produce 2 data which talk to each other, it is well, embarrassing!! The ironic (or frightening) thing is that I have sat in a few meetings and discussions on Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) and each meeting has its own ideas about what needs to be addressed – The hydrographers want something specific to them and then the survey guys want something specific to them….and so on…
Well there are many SDIs about but here’s the problem….too many chiefs and not enough Indians (excuse the analogy), there are too many rules and regulations from too many sources for anyone to make sense of it & without any single specific governing body we end up with everyone having their own ideas over what they think should be right….only most of these guys are analysts, theorists and conspirators, not the people that work with the geospatial data on a day to day basis.
Just a quick scout on Wikipedia reveals just how many different standards are flying around at the moment:
- Swiss Federal Spatial Data Infrastructure and Portal geo.admin.ch
- Blog Chilean Spatial Data Infrastructure
- GSDI 11 World Conference: The Geo-Spatial event of 2009, Rotterdam The Netherlands
- Global Spatial Data Infrastructure (GSDI) Association
- Links to SDI initiatives from the GSDI Association website
- The United Nations Spatial Data Infrastructure (UNSDI)
- The Netherlands Coordination Office of UNSDI (UNSDI-NCO)
- The GeoNetwork portal of UNSDI-NCO (with over 17.800 metadata sets)
- US National Spatial Data Infrastructure
- Australian Spatial Data Infrastructure
- The Centre for Spatial Data Infrastructures & Land Administration
- Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure
- Chilean Spatial Data Infrastructure
- The European INSPIRE initiative
- Spatial Data Infrastructures Unit at the EU Joint Research Centre
- Finnish National Spatial Data Infrastructure
- German National Spatial Data Infrastructure
- Dutch Geo register
- Laboratory of Geo-Information Science and Remote Sensing
- Lithuanian geographic information infrastructure
- Spanish National Spatial Data Infrastructure (IDEE)
- Catalonia Spatial Data Infrastructure
- Gipuzkoa Spatial Data Infrastructure
- Andalusian Spatial Data Infrastructure
- SNIG – Portuguese National System for Geographic Information
- Canary Islands Spatial Data Infrastructure (IDECanarias)
- Andorran Spatial Data Infrastructure (IDEAnd)
- Brazilian Spatial Data Infraestructure (INDE)
- Malaysia Geospatial Data Infrastructure (MyGDI)
- Bolivia Spatial Data Infraestructure (IDE-EPB)
My question to you all is why can’t the field with the object names in be called “Names” or the field with the WGS84 Latitude coordinates (in Decimal Degrees be called “Lat_DD”? Is this too complex?
I’m looking at my Twitter right now and I see 2500 of the best people to answer my question, if not, to spread the word and help to find the BEST answer to the question –
HOW DO WE GO ABOUT GETTING A DEFINITIVE SDI FOR FEATURE ATTRIBUTION?Please feel free to prod me and poke a stick at me if I am completely wrong and there is a standard which should be adhered to, in 10yrs of geospatial work I haven’t found it but I may have been looking in the wrong places. The closest I have got so far is the amazing work being done as part of the Inspire directive, though trying to comprehend it is a real pain and a few of the attribute names are not compliant with shapefile format eg “meanhigherhighwatersprings” & “Gradeseperatedcrossing” is never going to work!
All I want to do is to inter-relate my geospatial data and not spend hours having to rename and re-order the fields so that it I can join 2 tables together! It can’t be that hard….can it?