EDITORIAL

 

Art. 1 - by Nativi Stefano - National Research Council of Italy Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research

In recent years, Open Data has become one of the major trends in information technology. 

 

The Open Data Movement gained an impressive momentum, with several initiatives launched all over the world supporting open access to data and other resources. Even funding agencies at national and international level, including the European Union, pushed open access to data as one of the means not only for knowledge sharing and scientific research, but also for the creation of new markets and new business opportunities. 

 

However, although there is now a general agreement on the value of open access to data, and many providers declare to publish data in compliance with some open policy, the effective sharing of open data still remains an issue. 

 

Indeed, declaring that a dataset can be used does not mean that it is effectively usable, due to many possible barriers: 

- Is the dataset easily discoverable? 

- Once it is discovered, can it be easily accessed? 

- Once it is retrieved, which format is it encoded in? 

 

Even more problems arise for geospatial data, including the need of spatio-temporal queries and support of multiple coordinate reference systems. ENERGIC-OD aims to facilitate the use of open geospatial information, leveraging cutting-edge technologies to build Virtual Hubs: single-points of access to existing, and potentially new, open data. 

 

Virtual Hubs connect existing heterogeneous open data systems taking care of all the interoperability issues (coordinate reference system re-projection, format encoding transformations, etc.), delivering value added services (e.g. semantic queries) and finally providing harmonized access to users. 

 

Through the Virtual Hubs, users can seamlessly access a potentially unlimited amount of open data, without the need to be geospatial interoperability experts, and focusing on data analysis or on the development of new applications.