Saturday 10 December 2011

Cloud futures #2: on-line spatial data validation

[Update: follow ups for this project are Releasing Data Really Works Part I and Part IV]

Following vector maps on the web (cloud futures #1), here is a freemium online validation service (OVS) that helps us QC, quantify and clean up spatial data on the web. A speciality of 1Spatial is its spatial validation, an essential first step to setting up proper spatial data infrastructure. They spun off 1SpatialCloud to offer the same service online.

I put through its paces my Medieval Fenlands GIS project mirrored on and - also posted on and linked on and - in a nutshell, English parishes have been a constant geographic entity since William the Conqueror's Domesday census in 1087. Having transposed HC Darby's economic geographic data on shape files from the UK Ordnance Survey, I wished to test:
  • how good are vector data in East Anglia, as part of data feedback?
  • how well did I transpose attributes from Darby's map plates into shape files?
OVS offers a set of rules on shape files I report this week and attribute tables next. Provided shape files are under 5 Mb, it's as simple as 1-2-3: 1) upload, 2) select the rules to test vector data integrity, and 3a) view the report for free on line, or 3b) download it for one credit to get another shape file with "data busts" as points with descriptive attributes.

click image to enlarge

Having been in this business for decades, I cannot see how data validation can be made any easier, while maintaining - indeed increasing - data integrity. OVS highlights two of the "holy grails" in matters geospatial:
  • GIS depict complex data in a simple yet effective way, by placing them in their local context 
  • web services offer two more opportunities:
    • to post geo-processes on-line that are easy to reach
    • to offer a flexible pricing plan that helps one and all
Stay tuned for further tests on attribute data. I wish to thank Socium for helping me get on this service as it started.

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