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I have blogged
numerous times about the challenge of accurately geolocating underground
utilties. Most recently I blogged about the estimated ROI for
investment in improving the geolocation and other information about
underground utilities and the remarkable project of the City of Las
Vegas to create a 3D model of its underground utilities.
One-Call in the Netherlands (KLIC)
Yesterday at the INSPIRE conference in Florence, Ad van Houtum of the Dutch
Kadaster described how the Netherlands is addressing this challenge. The
Netherlands has had what in North America is called a One-Call or Call-Before-You-Dig system since 1967. The objective of the system is to
prevent damages to the utility network and to ensure the safety of excavators during excavations.
From 1967 to
2010 The Netherlands had a manual One Call System (KLIC) that worked similarly to North American One-Call systems. Anyone planning an
excavation would call the One-Call telephone number and communicate the
location, duration, and other information about the planned excavation.
The One-Call center would contact the relevant utilities (network
operators) who would then send maps of their network infrastructure to
the excavator. (In North America the utilities would more typically send
vans and staff with equipment to try to locate underground facilities.)
The Dutch service was free of charge for excavators and funded by the
network operators. It generally took about three working days to provide
the required information to the excavator.
2010 the Netherlands switched to a digital information system
(KLIC-Online) that worked in a similar way except that everything could
be done online. With KLIC the turnaround time was reduced to hours.
Both the manual and KLIC-Online One-Call systems were voluntary until 2008 when
a law was passed which made KLIC mandatory for both network operators
and excavators with severe penalties for excavators who circumvented the
system. There is also a charge of € 29.50 for every excavation
The Netherlands is now planning the
next version called KLIC 2020. The business drivers for the next version
is to further reduce the number of incidents of excavation damage,
improve the efficiency of both network operators and excavators, and to
make the information available to other domains such as planning and
zoning and public security.
The industry wants the system
to be available 24x7, near real-time, and should include other
information in addition to network infrastructure such as soil types,
ground water, parcel file, and so on.
It also should have a secure
authentication and authorization service. It is planned that the view
service will be based on the OGC WMS standard, and the download service
INSPIRE and KLIC 2020
III Theme 6a Utility Services (INSPIRE US) is the relevant INSPIRE standard.
All government agencies are required to adhere to this standard. This
includes 80 % of the network operators in the Netherlands.
this context the KLIC 2020 system will be INSPIRE US compliant, with
24x7 availability, 99% up time, supporting more than 20 simultaneous
users with a better than 5 second response time for viewing and better
than 20 seconds to begin downloads.
The world is moving toward ubiquitous real-time automated monitoring of environmental parameters such as air quality and water level.
The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Sensor Observation Service (SOS) applicable to use cases in which sensor data needs to be managed in an interoperable way. This standard defines a Web service interface which allows querying observations, sensor metadata, as well as representations of observed features.
The INSPIRE equivalent is part of the INSPIRE Regulation for Network Services Operation of a Download Service
Today at the INSPIRE conference , Arne Bröring of 52°North gave an overview of an effort to make SOS and INSPIRE compliant. It appears that this will be feasible without any change to the existing SOS and INSPIRE standards. It is planned that an INSPIRE Technical Guidance document will be extended to include SOS compliance. In addition an open source implementation is planned.
Yesterday at the INSPIRE conference, Federico Prandi gave a presentation about a fascinating open source project called i-SCOPE that involves developing 3D urban models that can be used to provide interactive smart services.
The concept is to develop 3D Urban Information Models (UIM) from accurate urban-scale geospatial information as a basis for smart web services based on geometric, semantic, morphological and structural information at urban scale level. This information can be used by local governments improve decision-making on issues related to urban planning, promote inclusion among various users groups (e.g. elder or disabled citizens), involve citizens collecting geo-referenced information based on location based services. i-SCOPE provides an open platform on which ‘smart city’ services can be developed.
The models are based on CityGML 2.0. CityGML includes 3D geometry, topology, semantics, and appearance for urban environments. CityGML also supports a standard mechanism for adding extensions,
called Application Domain Extensions (ADEs). There are several Application Domain Extensions (ADEs) that have been developed to extend CityGML to other domains. For example, I blogged about a basic extension UtilityNetworksADE that was proposed for city utility networks.
The I-SCOPE project has three very practical goals
Improved inclusion and personal mobility of aging and disabled
citizens through an accurate city-level
personal routing service which accounts for detailed urban layout,
features and barriers.
Optimization of energy consumption through a
service for accurate assessment of solar energy potential and energy
loss at the building level.
Environmental monitoring through a real-time
environmental noise mapping service leveraging citizen’s involvement
will who act as distributed sensors city-wide measuring noise levels
through their mobile phones.
The concept is to develop ADEs to extend CityGML 2.0 for these three application areas.
A very interesting and innovative aspect of the project is to use crowdsourcing to collect data for two of the application areas, mobility and noise mapping. For example, for noise mapping the idea is to create real-time and aggregated noise maps through data collected by citizens who use of their mobile phones as noise sensors measuring city-wide noise levels. In this way citizens are involved as prosumers (producers and consumers) of environmental data.
Some of the challenges of this approach that Federico discussed include estimating statistical significance, verifying the accuracy of citizen reported noise levels, and relating noise levels to specific features of the city model.
The INSPIRE Data Specifications Annex III contains use cases encodings and a data model for Buildings. The devlopment of this schema was strongly influenced by CityGML, an Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standard developed initially in Germany by Thomas Kolbe, but now widely used around the world. However, there are differences that mean that applications developed for CityGML are not able to be used directly with INSPIRE Buildings data.
INSPIRE supports Level of Detail (LoD) 1-4 and includes four profiles, Core2D, Core3D, Extended2D, and Extended3D. It also includes six application schemas.
CityGML, available since
March 2012 as Version 2, includes 3D geometry, topology, semantics, and appearance and supports LoD 0 to 4.
CityGML also supports a standard mechanism for adding extensions, called Application Domain Extensions (ADEs). There are several Application Domain Extensions (ADEs) that have been developed to extend CityGML to other domains. For example, I blogged about a basic extension UtilityNetworksADE that was proposed for city utility networks.
Today at the INSPIRE conference, Tatjana Kutzer gave a very germane presentation on how to use ADE to map CityGML data model onto the INSPIRE Buildings data model. She then showed practially how to use Safe Software's FME to migrate CityGML data directly to the INSPIRE Buildings schema. She gave a practical demonstration of doing that for LoD 2.
In response to a question from the audience, she said that the next version of CityGML will incorporate some of the specifications from INSPIRE Buildings that would move in the direction of harmonizing the two models.
G8 leaders (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom, United States, and the European Union) recently signed a charter on open data.
The Open Data Charter sets out 5 strategic principles that all G8
members will act on. G8 members also identified 14 high-value sectors
from which they will release data which include geospatial and
In May 2013, President Obama issued an Executive Order making open and machine readable the new default for federal government information in the United States.
The motivation for the EO was to increase transparency, promote the delivery of efficient and effective services to the public, and encourage economic growth. In particular making information resources easy to find, accessible, and usable is expected to encourage entrepreneurship, innovation, and scientific discovery and ultimately economic development. Historical precedents are weather data and the Global Positioning System (GPS), the latter of which has had a major impact on not only the U.S. economy, but the world economy.
At the INSPIRE conference in Florence, Maria Betti, Director of the Institute for Environment and Sustainability gave an overview of where the INSPIRE initiative is today.
The original INSPIRE Directive was issued Mar 14, .2007, so it has been about a 5 to 6 year effort involving 30 countries and 23 languages. The major components
Network Services Regulation
Data and Services Sharing
were adopted in 2009/2010 and 2010/2011, respectively. The Data Specification Annexes II and III including 25 data themes (with Annex I a total of 34 themes), an incredible cross-disciplinary participatory effort by hundreds of experts and many organizations, has been accepted unanimously by the INSPIRE Committee and been adopted by the European Commission and just needs adoption by the European Parliament, which is expected by October 2013.
So the first phase of INSPIRE has been completed and INSPIRE is now moving into the implementation and maintenance phase during which time a Commission Expert Group on Inspire Implementation and Maintenance will be responsible for it.
I blogged previously about some business benefits of INSPIRE reported by local governments. Maria Betti reported on a survey that was done among small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in the European information communications technology (ICT) sector.
It is estimated that there are 480 000 of these small to medium enterprises in the ICT sector in Europe. 90% of these have less than 10 employees. Of these it is estimated that 2% of these are in the geospatial information (GI) segment. In 2013 SmeSpire conducted interviews with 250 of these GI SMEs. They found that the primary business benefits that have been realized by these SMEs are
New products/services - realized 43.5% (foreseen 78.0%)
New methods of producing procudts and services- realized 35.1% (foreseen 70.2 %)
New customer groups/geographic markets- realized 34.6% (foreseen 75.9%)
Producing in less time or at lower cost- realized 30.4% (foreseen 67.0%)
Maria Betti concluded that the impact of INSPIRE is already quite high among SMEs and it is expected to go much higher.
G8 leaders (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom, United States, and the European Union) have recently signed a charter on open data.
The Open Data Charter sets out 5 strategic principles that all G8
members will act on. G8 members also identified 14 high-value sectors
from which they will release data which include geospatial and
Open data principles
The G8 countries to follow a
set of principles that are the foundation for access to, and the release
and re-use of, data collected by by G8 governments.
Open Data by Default
Quality and Quantity
Usable by All
Releasing Data for Improved Governance
Releasing Data for Innovation
Ond of the 14 high-value sectors identified by the G8 leaders was geospatial data.
Open Geospatial Data in Germany
In Germany since March 2013, legislation has been in place to enable all federal data to be available free of charge and for unrestricted commercial and non-commercial use (with attribution).
At the INSPIRE conference yesterday, Stefan Sandmann gave a fascinating overview of the very rapid adoption of open data at the federal level in Germany.
Dec 2011 - Start of legislation initiative
Jan-Feb 2012 - Publc consultation with all ministries and Laender
Feb-Sep 2012 - Consltation with upper and lower houses of German Parliament
16 Nov 212 - Open data legislation comes into force
23 Mar 2013 - Conditions for use come into force
Comparison of revenue and cost of bureacracy for geospatial data
One of the first steps that was undertaken by Stefan's team was to compare revenue derived from spatial data and the cost of bureacracy supporting this across the EU.
Italy - Infocamere 31.31 %
Netherlands - KvK 19.50 %
United Kingdom - Companies House 20.73 %
Austria - BEV 26.5 %
Germany - BKG 0.24 %
Germany - SenStadt 10.38 %
Denmark - DECA 0.82%
Spain - IGN-CENIG 4.12%
Spain - Cadastre 0.00%
France - Cadastre 0.55%
Italy - Cadastre 0.50%
Netherlands - Cadastre 6.57%
At the European level, the INSPIRE legislation permits charges for geospatial data.
In Germany the total cost of the bureacracy to support revenue generation from spatial data is estimated to be € 540 000 and revenue covers less than 5% of this. The result of this analysis was to implement a paradigm change and move to a "free of charge" and unrestricted reuse business model. The expected benefits of this approach are less bureacracy and hence less cost and increased economic development as a result of freely available geospatial data with unrestricted reuse.
Several other German jurisdictions are following the Federal Governments move to open data.
According to Stefan within the EU other member states also implementing open data including
I have blogged previously about the UK National Infrastructure Plan
which plans to invest hundreds of billions of pounds in the next 10 yrs on infrastructure including high speed rail,
energy, aviation, water and wastewater,
roads and highways, and high speed broadband. It is intended that up to 70% of the funding
is to come from the private sector. That means that the program has to provide attractive returns with relatively low risk to attract private capital.
At a Construct IT event at Network Rail in Manchester, Keith Waller from Infrastructure UK provided an update on where the National Infrastructure Plan is right now, some of the challenges, and what the Government is doing to address the challenges.
National Infrastructure Plan
The UK National Infrastructure Plan is designed to provide a long term vision and medium term planning across all sectors which are broken down as transport, energy, communications, waste, water, flood, and intellectual capital. The total cost is estimated to be £300 billion across 500 projects for the period 2012 to 2015. A critical objective objective is 2/3 of the total investment is be private capital. Most UK infrastructure investment is already led by the private sector. For example, water, energy, and communicatons are almost entirely privately funded. Transport is about 2/3 private and public/private partnerships. Intellectual capital is mostly public. Flood is mostly public/private partnerships. To attract additonal private funds the government has guaranteed £ 40 billion in loans to date. It is also developing a new approach to public private investment, referred to as PF2, tmake PPP more attractive to private companies. It appears that the average annual investment in infrastructure had increased by over 10% in 2010-2012
Average annual public and private investment in infrastructure 2005-2010 £29 billion 2010-2012 £33 billion
The UK Government seems to be committed to making this plan happen. It has identifeid 40 projects and programs that are of national significance and critical for growth. It has set up a Cabinet Committee chaired by the Chief Secretary of the Treasury to improve poor coordination and planning and eliminate regulatory holds ups to ensure delivery. A new commercial Secretary Lord Deighton with a reputation for getting things done has been tasked with delivery of the infrastructure plan.
Reducing the cost of infrastructure
A McKinsey study suggested that more private sector involvement in
infrastructure projects could result in an estimated 30% improvement in
construction productivity over 5-10 years, resulting from the
combination of 5-15% reduction in the cost of design and planning, 5-10%
in engineeering, 5-10% in materials purchase and sub-contracting, 3-5%
in construction, and 3-5% from organizational enablers. They estimate
that this would translate into a 20% reduction in overall infrastructure
McKinsey suggested that governments and infrastructure investors
could reduce risks and increase returns by focussing on three areas,
mproving productivity of existing and new assets
For example, by tuning the regulatory and market structure to improve efficiency and expand capacity.
Making the economic model more attractive to investors
By being smarter about matching capacity expansions to demand and finding additional sources of revenue.
Reducing cost and risk by improving project delivery
By allowing more competition, pushing more risk on to contractors,
and encouraging engineering, procurement and construction (EPC)
companies to increase their build capabilities.
UK Infrastructure Cost Review
A major Government focus is reducing the cost of infrastructure. For example, in a series of public consultations it has asked why it is more expensive to develop infrastructure in the UK ? The conclusion is that it is the Government's fault.
Basically, the reason that was arrived at is that economic cycles are bad for investment. The rise and fall in the GDP for example is amplified for the construction industry (typically 10% ot GDP) so that peaks are higher and the valleys more severe for the construction indusry than for the economy as a whole. Looking specifically at infrastructure, in 2012 output was down 13%, while orders were up 38% compared to the previous year.
A study of the water industry concluded that because of the economic cycle every 5 years 20,000-40,000 jobs are lost which adds £7 to everyone's water bill.
An important factor contributng to the economic cycles is that in the past the Government (not singling out any particular party and government) has frequently changed its mind about infrastructure and uncertainty is not conducive to investment. Some ministers have had a long term strategy which is very good for the industry because it encourages investment, but others are rather short term resulting in a "start/stop" approach to policy.
The conclusion is that the most important thing that the government can do is establish a long term policy that persists across elections and other political events. This not only encourages investment, but also allows other sectors to plan for the demands of infrastructure, for example, to estimate skills requirements in order to implement educational and training programs to produce the reauired skills.
The Govrnment of Canada has released the second version of its Open Government Licence. It's remarkably simple compared to most end user license agreements (EULA) I've ever seen.
A few key parts of the license
The Information Provider grants you a worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual, non-exclusive licence to use the Information, including for commercial purposes.
You are free to: Copy, modify, publish, translate, adapt, distribute or otherwise use the Information in any medium, mode or format for any lawful purpose.
You must, where you do any of the above: acknowledge the source of the Information by including any attribution statement
Contains information licensed under the Open Government Licence – Canada.
This licence does not grant you any right to use: personal Information, the names, crests, logos, or other official symbols of the Information Provider; and Information subject to other intellectual property rights, including patents, trade-marks and official marks.
The Information is licensed “as is”, and the Information Provider excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities, whether express or implied, to the maximum extent permitted by law. The Information Provider is not liable for any errors or omissions in the Information, and will not under any circumstances be liable for any direct, indirect, special, incidental, consequential, or other loss, injury or damage caused by its use or otherwise arising in connection with this licence or the Information, even if specifically advised of the possibility of such loss, injury or damage.
Governing Law: This licence is governed by the laws of the province of Ontario and the applicable laws of Canada.
It's interesting that Alberta’s new open government licence is very similar to the federal government licence. Apparenlty work has been going to move towards a federal provincial consensus on open government licences to ensure that there is legal interoperability between data sets released by different governments in Canada.
New York's Mayor in has proposed a $19 billion program to ameliorate the impact of climate change on New York City including its electric power grid. New York's climate team is projecting
sea level increase of 0.3 meters by the 2020s and 0.75 meters by 2050
10 percent more rainfall
four rather than three days each year with more than 5 centimeters of rainfall
39 to 52 days per year with temperatures over 90 degrees F rather than 18 days now.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) by 2050 a quarter of New York City will be in floodplains, more than 40 miles of waterfront could see flooding on a regular basis. Many New Yorkers are seeing their flood insurance rates increase dramatically. The Mayor said in one neighborhood of Staten Island, where the average income is about $80 000, homeowners are facing annual flood insurance rates of $10 000.
The city is taking the approach of hardening critical infrastructure, designing programs to encourage and help owners of buildings to move or protect elecrrical and telecommunications equipment. He said that "Con Ed has made major investments in resiliency. That's a big reason why we've haven't had any major blackouts in a few years and they deserve real credit for that. But about two-thirds of our major substations and nearly all of the city's power plants are in flood plains today. Every summer, our electrical grid comes under extreme stress during heat waves. Both risks will get worse with climate change. And so the City will work with the Governor, private companies, and the Public Service Commission—the state agency that regulates utilities—to try to make sure that our systems don't fail us.…Our goal is not only to harden the electrical system, but to develop a cleaner, more reliable, affordable, and innovative energy system."