Interoperability and Spatial Data Standards

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO, 1993) defines interoperability as “the capacity to communicate, execute programs, or transfer data among various functional units in a manner that requires the user to have little or no knowledge of the unique characteristics of those units.” In the context of geographic information, the functional units are geographic information systems (GIS) or Web services. The communication between these units comprises transfer of spatial data as well as querying and execution of remote services. In this respect, two types of interoperability can be distinguished: (1) syntactic interoperability refers to format of the transferred data, that is, compliance with spatial data standards, and (2) semantic interoperability builds on syntactic interoperability and refers to the accurate preservation and interpretation of the meaning ...

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