The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) are requesting information to support a concept development study (CDS) entitled “Modernizing SDI: Enabling Data Interoperability for Regional Assessments and Cumulative Effects” (Modernizing SDI CDS). Information is being sought from a wide variety of organizations and individuals, particularly those who must use spatial data sourced from multiple suppliers and/or time periods, to perform regional assessments and cumulative effects analysis. This study seeks to define modernized parameters for local, regional and national spatial data infrastructures, including the integration of new tools, standards, and techniques (such as machine learning), that will promote increased data interoperability.
The motivation for issuing this RFI is to gather information to better support governments, agencies, non-governmental organizations and citizens to unlock the full societal and economic potential of spatial data and observations at national, regional, community or local levels by increasing its overall interoperability in a spatial data infrastructure. OGC and NRCan aim to enable federal, provincial, territorial and First Nations/Indigenous partners concerned with cumulative effects and regional assessments to establish a consensus and implement common, open, standards-based approaches that leverage emerging technological capabilities, leading to new levels of digital data interoperability.
OGC and NRCan wish to hear from a wide range of respondents, including those from:
Provinces/Territories/States (or equivalent sub-national entities)
Indigenous communities and First Nations
Academic and Research Institutions
Private sector geospatial solution providers and consultants
Scientists and policy analysts concerned with regional environmental assessments and cumulative effects analysis
RFI results will also provide information on the current state of spatial data infrastructures with regards to how well they support regional assessments and cumulative effects analysis. It will gather and analyze information necessary to inform and guide the modernization of spatial data infrastructures in how they enable data interoperability and exchange between governments, regions, organizations and communities.
Outputs of this study will include a report that articulates practical ways to shift towards more intelligent, inferential, machine-driven solutions that allow data to be interoperable at need. Results will be communicated to the geospatial community through two public webinars. Results will also serve to inform future OGC Innovation Program and standards development activities, and lay the groundwork for a potential OGC Interoperability Pilot.
Responses to this RFI are requested by May 29, 2020. Instructions on how organizations can respond to and submit questions about the RFI are found in this document.
- 1. Introduction
- 2. Background
- 3. Modernizing SDI: Enabling Data Interoperability for Regional Assessments and Cumulative Effects
- 4. RFI Response Outline
- 5. Organizations Issuing this RFI
- 6. How to Respond to this RFI
- 7. Master CDS Schedule
- 8. Glossary
This Request for Information (RFI) is part of an OGC Innovation Program Project “Modernizing SDI: Enabling Data Interoperability for Regional Assessments and Cumulative Effects Concept Development Study (Modernizing SDI CDS)”. The initiative is sponsored by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan).
This Concept Development Study seeks to answer the primary question “How can an ocean of environmental, foundational/framework, biological, socio economic and other data, from multiple different sources, collected over time, and with varying levels of standardization, be readily consumed and integrated by scientists and citizens alike?”
The overall objective of this study is to inform federal, provincial, territorial and First Nations/Indigenous stakeholders, concerned with cumulative effects and regional assessments, how best to establish consensus and implement common, open standards-based, approaches that leverage emerging technological capabilities, leading to new levels of digital geospatial data interoperability.
The scope of the CDS includes:
Characterizing the current state of spatial data infrastructures and their use of current or emerging standards and advanced technology to enable data interoperability, and understanding current gaps and challenges;
Assessing the availability and interoperability of geospatial data across various regions or jurisdictions, specifically those needed for regional environment assessments or cumulative effects analysis, as well as the technologies and services currently leveraged;
Exploring and articulating practical means to achieve modernized, intelligent, inferential, machine-driven solutions that support and enable improved, efficient geospatial data interoperability. Results (including analysis of responses to this RFI) will be compiled in an engineering report for public release and will also be presented in two public webinars (English and French) in September 2020. Preliminary results may be presented in person at the OGC Technical Committee meeting in Montreal in June, 2020. CDS results will serve to inform future OGC Innovation Program and standards development activities including a possible Interoperability Pilot.
This Request for Information (RFI) is a component of an OGC Concept Development Study (CDS) and subsequent Interoperability Pilot with the goal of assembling ideas, technologies, and practices that may enable federal, provincial, territorial and First Nations/Indigenous partners concerned with cumulative effects and regional assessments to establish inter-jurisdictional consensus and implement common, open standards-based approaches that leverage emerging technological capabilities, leading to new levels of digital data interoperability.
To fully understand the scope and components of interest of this study, and its Canadian context, some background and definitions are provided in the following sections.
Canada’s spatial data infrastructure (SDI), referred to as the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure (CGDI) is the relevant base collection of standards, policies, applications, and governance that facilitate the access, use, integration, and preservation of spatial data.
GeoConnections is a national program with the mandate and responsibility to lead the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure (CGDI) through a baseline of consensus-based, internationally accepted standards-based technologies and operational policies for data sharing and integration.
The Federal Geospatial Platform (FGP) is an initiative of the Government of Canada’s Federal Committee on Geomatics and Earth Observations (FCGEO), a committee of senior executives from 21 federal departments and agencies that are producers, consumers or stakeholders in activities, requirements and infrastructure related to geomatics. In 2017, the FCGEO community acted on an opportunity for federal departments and agencies to manage geospatial information assets in a more efficient and coordinated way by using a common “platform” of technical infrastructure, policies, standards and governance. The FGP fully leverages the standards, standards-based technologies and operational policies endorsed by the CGDI.
The FGP’s primary mission is to “Geo-enable the Canadian Federal Government”. The FGP intranet site (https://gcgeo.gc.ca) provides a collaborative online environment where federal government employees can easily share, find, view and analyze the Government of Canada’s authoritative geospatial data holdings to support informed and insightful decisions and policy-making, and ultimately provide better service for Canadians. Overall, the Federal Geospatial Platform provides an enabling infrastructure to the public service and to Canadians, for access, visualization and analysis of trusted geospatial data, services and applications.
Under the basic premise, “build it once, use it many times,” the FGP leverages coordination efforts and utilizes best practices, new technologies, and open standards to provide more accessible data and services while realizing efficiencies through shared, cloud-enabled infrastructure and economies of scale. This approach allows FGP to supply its data and services to other government initiatives. The FGP makes all federal open geospatial metadata and web services available to Canada’s Open Government Portal - Open Maps. The FGP will also underpin the Open Science and Data Platform for Cumulative Effects.
Natural Resources Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada are currently co-developing the Open Science and Data Platform for Cumulative Effects (OSDP), with the first release planned for spring 2020. The FGP is a primary delivery partner for the current OSDP initiative, with responsibility for making geospatial technologies, federal, provincial and territorial geospatial data and web services needed for cumulative effects analysis available to the OSDP.
The OSDP initiative aims to give to all Canadians a single point of access to data and scientific information to improve their understanding of cumulative effects and support impact impacts and cumulative effects assessments. The scope of data and information planned for release through the OSDP highlights a critical need to collaborate with all partners towards greater data interoperability.
How the OSDP integrates into the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure is shown in Figure 1.
Data interoperability is generally defined as the ability for data held in one system to be compatible with other data products or systems and thus able to be integrated with other datasets across a number of different systems or analytical products. Data interoperability can be achieved by optimizing both the usability and reusability of data through the use of open standards.
This CDS will focus research and discussion on the use case of geospatial data typically required for environmental regional assessments and / or cumulative effects analyses (RA/CE).
NRCan’s current commitment to providing essential geospatial data via the Federal Geospatial Platform, to support initiatives such as the Open Science and Data Platform for Cumulative Effects, is driving this context.
Additionally, the broad scope of geospatial data requirements for RA/CE, as well as climate change studies and science, make this use case particularly and widely applicable to many stakeholders.
The scope of data needed for regional assessments or cumulative effects analysis confirms a critical need to collaborate with all partners towards greater data interoperability. An example of the wide variety and quantity of data required for a Regional Assessments and Cumulative Effects analysis is demonstrated by the recently completed “Regional Assessment of Offshore Oil and Gas Exploratory Drilling East of Newfoundland and Labrador”. This assessment included the following data categories:
Boundaries and Basemaps - National/International boundaries, offshore areas, leases, etc.
Physical Environment - Bathymetry, Atmospheric Light
Biological Environment - Fish and Fish Habitat, Marine Birds, Marine Mammals and Sea Turtles, Special Areas
Socioeconomic Environment - Marine Fisheries including Domestic and International Commercial Fish Landings and Locations, Aquaculture Facilities, Indigenous Communities and Lands, Petroleum-related Activity, Shipwrecks and Legacy Sites, Other Marine Infrastructure (cables, etc.) Other geospatial data commonly used in Regional Assessments and Cumulative Effects processes can include:
Data related to development activities, i.e.:
Data on valued environmental components (VEC’s), i.e.:
Data that describe environmental management frameworks, i.e.:
Data drawn from Indigenous or traditional knowledge
A more comprehensive list is shown in Figure 2.