A Survey on the Techniques to Improve the Visibility of Geospatial Resources on the Web

A Survey on the Techniques to Improve the Visibility of Geospatial Resources on the Web

Saif Ansari, Piyush Kumar Shukla, Rajeev Pandey, Rohit Agrawal
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7010-4.ch015
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Geographical information has become ubiquitous. The demand to access geospatial data on the web is growing in numerous knowledge domains and disciplines. For the sharing of geospatial data, geoportals acts as entryways to the SDI (spatial data infrastructure) from where the data is disseminated. Because these geoportals are limited to geoinformation communities only, they exhibit challenges in terms of indexing by web search engines. Thus, the geospatial resources need a boost in terms of visibility over the internet (web). In this chapter, a discussion on the present state of geospatial resources on the web and comparison of various methods that have been employed for increasing the discoverability of geographical resources is presented. Therefrom, by discussion, the chapter concludes with a conjecture regarding scope for the further improvement in the methods that have been reviewed, along with depicting the need for the presence of geospatial resources on the internet.
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Due to the frequent usage of geographical information in various fields of study and subject areas, the requirement for suitable geospatial data has become essential (Katumba & Coetzee, 2017). The comfort at which data can be created is leading to a constant increase in the volume of geospatial data that is publically available on the web (Bone, Ager, Bunzel, & Tierney, 2016). However, the challenges to finding the geographical resources on the web remain the same because of the limitations of geoportals to geo communities solely.

This restriction on the availability of geospatial resources has led to the birth of several implementations regarding enhancement of the geo-resources discoverability. The major problem is that the people aware of geo communities know where to search for the spatial data, but same doesn’t apply to the ones who aren’t aware of these communities & try to find geospatial data on the web (Katumba & Coetzee, 2017). Moreover, at present geoportals are primarily build on the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Catalogue Service for the Web (CSW) that caters HTTP binding (Katumba & Coetzee, 2017). It was designed to enable “the discovery and retrieval of spatial data and services metadata”; However, the geoportals was not designed to be crawled by web crawlers (Lopez-Pellicer, Florczyk, Nogueras-Iso, Muro-Medrano, & Zarazaga, 2010) and is thus the portion of the “Deep Web”, i.e. online content inaccessible to web crawlers (Katumba & Coetzee, 2017).

To overcome this barrier of geospatial resources discoverability on the internet, separate geo-web crawling framework & geospatial search engines have been developed. Different techniques like SEO, metadata vocabularies (schema.org & Dublin core) for enhancing geo-resources visibility, thesauri & ontologies in mitigating semantic heterogeneity problems, focused deep web crawler for isolated land map services, GSE based on single-level crawler, javascript, for downloading shapefiles, also taxonomy, folksonomy & semantic annotations have been employed for locating geospatial data on the web.

Furthermore, the chapter advances towards the problems that have been encountered when Geospatial resources were judged on the scale of visibility with other web resources for common users on the web. With the growing demand for geospatial data & sources on the web, the chapter also throws light on how spatial resources are important for users and organisation in out of geocommunities. Moreover, the geoportals that act as entryways for the users, why they have been in deep web instead of being on the surface web accessible to common web users? Various techniques performed by different authors of these six research papers for the advancement of geospatial data discoverability have been examined. Furthermore, the chapter ends with the conclusion signifying about the scope of improvement for the discoverability of geospatial resources in today's scenario.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Spatial Data Infrastructure: (SDIS) is a solid set of technologies, rules, human team, standard tasks, and other activities necessary in order to acquire, process, distribute, use and preserve spatial data.

Deep Web: is inaccessible to “generic” search engines and users. The content is not indexed by “normal” and “big” search engines, for instance, Google.

Surface Web: –or visible web– is the content on the World Wide Web (WWW) that is available to the general users with an universal access and free.

Geospatial Metadata: –or Geographic metadata– is a type of metadata for geographic data and information about objects or phenomena, for instance, that are associated with a location relative to our planet.

Search Engine Optimization: (SEO) is a group of best software engineering techniques and methods that improving the quantity and quality of a web page from search engines or the website traffic to a website.

Geo Portals: is a web portal with geographic information and services, for instance, geographic information systems (GIS) for the navigation.

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