Chieko Maene began the session with an overview of Web services, particularly the concepts of reusability, information sharing, and service orientation. She focused on the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and its standards for Web Map Services (WMS) and Web Feature Services (WFS). The Web Map Service was first described in 1999 and became an ISO standard in 2005.
Some sample Web mapping services that Chieko pointed out have been developed by the U.S. Geological Survey:
- Elevation Query Web Service
- Gazetteer Query Web Service
- United States National Grid (USNG) Web Service
- Greeness Web Service
Chieko demonstrated two WMS applications developed at the University of Illinois at Chicago Library. The first, the Chicago Aerial Photograph Finder, uses digital shapefiles from the UIC’s digital index, combined with historical aerial photos from the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) delivered over an ArcIMS layer and Digital Orthophoto Quadrangles for Urban Areas delivered as a WMS. The second application, the Digital Global Index Database, is a collection of online map indexes published as a WFS to share them with other users. It uses ESRI’s proprietary ArcIMS server and GeoServer, an Open Source Map Server. Chieko also recommended uDig as an open-source desktop GIS application.
Due to lack of time, John Shuler kept his comments short. He referred to the Geospatial One Stop (GOS) project, which is an attempt to provide a geospatial data and map services catalog for data collected across various government agencies. He described this project as a “dream,” one that he does not believe that the U.S. government can realize. He cited two concerns: first, that the U.D. government has withdrawn a number of aerial photos and geospatial data sets due to concerns about homeland security, and second, that the U.S. government has stated concerns about whether its services provide undue competition to the private sector.