Web processing services in the context of the 52°North geoprocessing community

Bastian Schaeffer, Theodor Foerster

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The Web Processing Service (WPS) is the first generic attempt of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) to address distributed geoprocessing on the web. It became an official standard in mid 2007 and defines a standardized Web Service interface to publish and perform geospatial processes over the web. This reflects a common trend of outsourcing geoprocessing functionalities to interoperable Web Services which is supported by increasing network capacity and processing power. With a standardized interface, it becomes easily achievable to integrate such web based geoprocesses in Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDIs) and therefore allows the creation of value-added chains which still can be seen as a missing piece in mostly data retrieval and visualization centric SDIs.
Such WPS processes can range from a simple geometric calculation (for example a simple intersect operation) to a complex simulation process (for example a global climate change model). The geoprocessing community of the 52?North open source initiative started in 2006 to develop a java-based WPS. This implementation has matured over the last two years and is currently the only available open source implementation which covers all aspects of the latest interface specification (WPS version 1.0.0).
The proposed talk will be twofold. At first it will give an in-depth introduction to the WPS specification as well as the architecture and features of the 52?North WPS. A special focus will lay on the 52?North implementation along with the most important features of 52?North WPS such as asynchronous processing, raster support, supported XML parsers and the enhanced build process empowered by apache maven. Besides that, the talk will discuss some valuable enhancements for the next version of the WPS specification, such as profiles and interface extensions.
At second, the talk will highlight the current developments within the 52?North processing community. It is important to note, that one of the main motivations within the 52?North communities is to carry out research related software development and to contribute the results back as sustainable Open Source products. Thus it is the aim of the geoprocessing community to integrate as much cutting edge technology into the 52?North WPS as possible. Current research within the geoprocessing community focuses on modeling Geoprocessing Workflows (GPWs), integrating GRID computing technologies and embedding of GRASS and R functionalities. The talk will also give a roadmap, about when and how those results will be integrated into 52?North WPS and thereby be available as additional features in 52?North WPS.
Finally, a case study will be demonstrated, which will show the benefits and capabilities of distributed geoprocessing. It thereby will also demonstrate some research results already carried out within the geoprocessing community. The case study will be based on a risk management scenario and will be solely conducted with free and open source software. It will cover several aspects such as workflow design, distributed and real-time processing of live sensor data via WPS. Therefore, this demonstration will show how the Sensor Web Enablement (SWE) world can be combined with the geoprocessing domain. To address mainstream needs, the process results will be disseminated as KML and visualized in Google Earth.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 2008
EventFree and Open Source Software for Geospatial, FOSS4G 2008 - Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 29 Sept 20083 Oct 2008


ConferenceFree and Open Source Software for Geospatial, FOSS4G 2008
Abbreviated titleFOSS4G
Country/TerritorySouth Africa
CityCape Town


  • GIP
  • ADLIB-ART-3679


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