Sharing, visualizing, and analyzing observation data
The Sensor Web Lab develops new and evaluates emerging, as well as established, Sensor Web technologies that help build Web-based infrastructures for sharing observation data and integrating sensing devices into any kind of application.
We have a broad range of experience with technologies for building Sensor Web applications. This comprises not only the Sensor Web Enablement (SWE) standards of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), but also popular Internet of Things standards (e.g. MQTT, AMQP), Web technologies such as REST and Linked Data, and further relevant technologies (e.g. event processing tools, R, data visualization concepts).
Improving Sensor Web Technologies
Our current research focuses on
Observation data is collected in many different ways – via sensors, human observers, prediction models, etc. In addition, the way in which data is made accessible (e.g. different hardware interfaces, database concepts, APIs, Web services) and how it is encoded (e.g. different XML and JSON structures, binary formats, CSV files) varies greatly. This causes high overhead if a user wants to consume data from multiple, heterogeneous sources. To address this issue, we promote interoperability on all levels of the observation collection and sharing process. Not only are we actively involved in the development and improvements of standards in contexts such as the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and the INSPIRE directive, 52°North also regularly works on and with new, emerging related (de-facto) standards, for example those from the Internet of Things community such as MQTT and AMQP.
Sensor Web technologies are valuable help in many domains that need any kind of observation data. For example, hydrologists need information, such as water levels and discharge measurements. Marine scientists undertake large efforts to deploy observation platforms such as buoys, gliders, and research vessels. Environmental experts collect huge amounts of data describing air and water quality, for example. These experts can benefit from Sensor Web technologies to easier distribute, consume, analyze, and visualize observation data. However, as all application domains have specific requirements that may go beyond the more generic Sensor Web technologies and standards, it is necessary to provide guidance on how Sensor Web concepts may help in these different contexts. Application profiles that specialize existing standards to specific domains are a also common need. At 52°North, we are involved in several projects that evaluate how scientists, data users, and data providers can work with Sensor Web technologies. This comprises for example the evaluation of emerging technologies, observation data visualization and processing, enabling automated information flows, building discovery solutions based on different types of metadata, and the development of best practice guidance.
Many partners in our network intensely use various types of Sensor Web technology. We provide guidance if and how new technologies (e.g. event processing frameworks, data analysis tools, cloud technologies, new standards) may help to improve Sensor Web infrastructures or to enable new functionalities. Important results of this work are research articles, blog posts, tutorials and presentations that are shared with the community.
Open source software is an important result of our research activities. In addition to our suite of well-established Sensor Web components (e.g. OGC Sensor Observation Service implementation, our Sensor Web REST-API, and the Helgoland Sensor Web viewer), which are suited to be used in operational systems, we are also regularly publishing prototypes that demonstrate and provide an entry point into new technologies. Our work is available via our GitHub repositories.