n South African Computer Journal - Web Service chains based on monolithic geoprocessing functionality : research article

Volume 2009, Issue 43
  • ISSN : 1015-7999
  • E-ISSN: 2313-7835



Geographic Information Systems (GIS) enable the user to capture, process and visualize their geodata. In the age of the web and internet technologies, GIS move from monolithic systems to distributed and web-based infrastructures. These so-called Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDIs) allow users to exchange their geodata across organizational and technical boundaries. SDIs are technically based on Web Service technologies. In the context of GIS, several standards for Web Services have been created, which address the requirements of GIS in particular. Anyway, the movement towards SDIs is still on-going and the current challenge is to integrate existing geoprocessing functionality of GIS such as generalization of complex geometric data structures or advanced analysis of satellite images into SDIs. Integrating such existing GIS functionality in SDIs enables the full potential of GIS on the web and prevents reimplementation. In this context the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Web Processing Service (WPS) interface specification plays an important role, as it describes a Web Service standard for publishing geoprocessing functionality on the web. Thus, integrating existing GIS functionality into WPS seems to be effective. This so-called wrapping of functionality is demonstrated by the example of the popular Open Source desktop GIS GRASS. Additionally, the exposed functionality is applied to a complex geoprocessing scenario, which is realized as a Web Services chain using a BPEL-based approach (BPEL - Business Process Execution Language). In particular, the paper demonstrates a scenario, which monitors droughts in a Sub-Sahara region from multispectral satellite images. The GRASS-enabled WPS has been developed by the Geoprocessing Community (www.52north.org/wps) at the 52°North initiative. The applied software and the implemented approach are available through Open Source software license.

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