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ANZLIC The Spatial Information Council
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infrastructure > standards & protocols


why are standards important?

More and more people are gaining access to and using spatial information. The widespread use of spatial information is creating a need for standards. Consistent information and associated systems and services increase the reliability and effectiveness of the goods and services we use.

There are three types of geospatial-related standards:

Content standards including land use codes, surveyor codes, data dictionaries for cadastre, geographical place names, bathymetry

Access standards including GDA94, ISO 19100 series (Geographic information), ISO 23950 (Information Retrieval - Z39.50), most OpenGIS® Specifications

Exchange standards including Geography Markup Language (GML), Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs, also known as URLs)

ANZLIC promotes the use of standards for implementing various components of the ASDI. This is done in consultation with the official standards bodies such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), Standards Australia and Standards New Zealand. ANZLIC promotes standards after they have been endorsed by the various governments.

Standards can be officially mandated (e.g. ISO), specifications (e.g. Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. ) or recommendations (e.g. World Wide Web Consortium).

what is ANZLIC doing?

The ASDI is not prescriptive and does not require the adoption of specific systems. ANZLIC does, however, encourage the adoption of relevant international and national standards related to geographic information and the method of delivery through the ASDI. This will ensure that spatial information is compatible with other datasets and enable use by other systems.

ANZLIC has historically delivered metadata standards and profiles based on international best practice. One of the International Standards that ISO/TC 211 worked on was a standard on metadata known as ISO 19115, which is currently being published. There has been extensive input by Australia during its development, particularly from interests associated with ANZLIC, and as a result, ISO 19115 incorporates several ANZLIC core metadata elements.

Similar metadata standards for the description of geographic data, such as ANZLIC's Metadata Guidelines, are currently in use around the world. Until the development of the ISO 19115 Metadata Standard, there had been no unifying set of metadata elements that could be used as the basis for the development of national metadata standards.

More recently, the National Land and Water Resources Audit (NLWRA) committed to streamline data and information products to meet agreed international/national guidelines or standards for the management of information as endorsed by ANZLIC. The Commonwealth of Australia and all the States and Territories supported this landmark agreement.

ANZLIC works closely with Standards Australia and Standards New Zealand (sponsoring Australian participation at international ISO/TC211 meetings), and with the Intergovernmental Committee on Surveying & Mapping (ICSM) and PSMA Australia Limited to raise the awareness and uptake of geospatial standards.

standards in Australia & New Zealand

Standards Australia and Standards New Zealand are responsible for the development and application of standards-related products in our region. The standards are prepared in partnership with the community, business and government; and rely on voluntary participation by experts.

As part of a regional cooperation agreement, Standards Australia and Standards New Zealand work together to prepare and publish joint standards where appropriate. Standards Australia also represents Australia on the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and has a policy of endorsing and adopting International Standards wherever possible.

Within Standards Australia, the Joint Technical Committee for Geographic information/Geomatics (also known as IT-004) is dedicated to developing standards for geographic information and associated technologies. This group includes experts from the industry, governments, consumers and other sectors. The equivalent group within Standards New Zealand, Committee for Geographical Information Systems (SC607), works closely with IT-004.

Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) and New Zealand e-Government initiatives are promoting an interoperability framework which adopts many World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards for implementing on-line government web services.


international standards

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a world-wide federation of national standards bodies. It is responsible for promoting the development of standards to facilitate the international exchange of goods and services. Within ISO, Technical Committee 211 (ISO/TC 211) is dedicated to developing and deploying standards relating to Geographic information/ Geomatics, also known as the ISO 19100 series. Whilst the core standards are conceptual, they provide a solid foundation for the development of technological implementations.

The OpenGIS Consortium (OGC) works closely with ISO/TC 211. OGC is an international consortium of businesses, governments and universities that develops publicly available geoprocessing specifications, or OpenGIS® Specifications. These support interoperable solutions that "geo-enable" the internet, wireless and location-based services, and mainstream IT. They also empower technology developers to make spatial information and services more accessible to users. OpenGIS® Specifications often relate to technology implementations, including definition of interfaces; with some being formalised as ISO 19100 series standards.

The United States Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) actively provides international leadership in implementing spatial data standards through sponsorship of international bodies such as ISO and OGC.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) develops standards for interoperable technologies that enable the delivery of geospatial information on-line.