rasdaman newsletter 04/2023

ISO Adopts Foundation Standards for FAIR Datacubes

ISO now has published two fundamental standards for multi-dimensional Big Earth Data, in particular: spatio-temporal datacubes, which significantly advances FAIR data principles.

In standardization, a coverage is the common unifying abstraction for regular and irregular grids (e.g., datacubes), point clouds, and general meshes. Generally, it describes spatio-temporally extended phenomena, similar to "fields" in physics, and effectively bridges raster and vector data types. Two new coverage standards have now been adopted by ISO. 19123-1 "Geographic information — Schema for coverage geometry and functions — Part 1: Fundamentals" describes the concepts and terminology of coverage data. 19123-3 "Geographic information — Schema for coverage geometry and functions — Part 3: Processing fundamentals" does the same for processing through a datacube language allowing simple as well as unlimited complexity, including fusion for insightful data exploration.

Together, these standards establish a critically important basis for interoperability. As a consequence, geographic information becomes more findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable – in short: FAIR.

The team’s task was to modernize ISO 19123 published in 2005, and technically outdated today. Together with the existing 19123-2 standard for coverage encoding, a modern suite of standards exists now for multi-dimensional data. which forms a firm fundament for coverage and in particular datacubes – which comes just in time as recently diverging, incompatible use of the term have emerged.

These collaborative efforts between ISO TC211, OGC, the IEEE GRSS Earth Science Informatics TC, and international standards developers provide a solid foundation for FAIR data practices in geographic information. OGC already has announced that it will consider adoption of both standards into its mirror standard Abstract Topic 6.

contact: Prof. Dr. Peter Baumann