GEO Label Nomination Letter to IIB


Dear IIB Members:

For many years, and via many efforts, both within GEO and outside of GEO, the idea of data documentation has been raised in various forms. Although much effort has been exerted in this regard, there has been no clear accepted solution for implementation in the GCI. Over the past couple of years, a European Commission FP-7 project called GeoViQua, now completed, has shown that the experience of data users can be enhanced by using what has been called the GEO label.

Technically, the GEO label, a data documentation mechanism, is a graphical representation of the metadata completeness and a way to access different aspects of the description of a dataset (drill-down capability) elaborated both by the producer and the dataset users. The purpose of the GEO label is to act as a decision support mechanism in geospatial data selection. The Standards and Interoperability Forum (SIF) has participated and has monitored the user-centered design approach, followed by GeoViQua (, to develop a data documentation label that makes it more likely to garner user acceptance when deployed. To this end, the Aston University (as a contribution to GeoViQua) has thus far conducted 3 user studies to: (1) identify the informational aspects of geospatial datasets upon which users rely when assessing dataset quality and trustworthiness, (2) elicit initial user views on the concept of a GEO label and its potential role as a solution to the stated problem, and (3) evaluate prototype label visualizations. Therefore, the GEO label is based on the requirements and views of many in the geospatial community. The final human-subject study confirmed the effectiveness of the GEO label in conveying metadata completeness, with study participants being able to immediately identify more complete metadata records and able to obtain more detailed information about datasets of interest. For more information visit:

The GEO label can be created automatically by a web service. It uses a RESTful API that allows sending a producer metadata URL and a user feedback items collection URL, and retrieving an SVG image of a PNG format. For more information visit: The service is currently hosted in a server cluster in CREAF (Barcelona). The SIF has also collected information about the GEO label that is available here: SifGeoLabel

The SIF considers the methodology used to design the GEO label appropriate and in line with the former Science and Technology Committee's initial aims. The SIF has reviewed the architecture of the GEO label service, and found it in conformance with the general architectural principles and design of GEOSS. The GEO label service is able to retrieve metadata directly from the Discovery and Access Broker and the GEO label can be easily integrated into the GEOSS Web Portal (with java portlet modifications already done by 52North), as demonstrated in the GeoViQua project. These capabilities were also exhibited with a live demonstration during the GEO-X Ministerial Week, utilizing test implementations of the needed GCI components.

There exists some negative feedback from ID-03 regarding the nomination of the GEO label for use in the GCI. This feedback seems to be centered on problems related to GEO branding and decisions on data documentation being taken out of the hands of data providers. In fact, it is the data providers' own metadata, and the data users' own experiences, that inform the GEO label. There is no GEO task nor committee that will be resposnsible for assigning GEO label contents. With regards to branding, it is not important to the SIF whether this label is known as the GEO label or some other name. It is viewed as a technical solution that can enhance the data discovery process in GEOSS.

The SIF considers the GEO label an important contribution to the data discovery phase of GEOSS and recommends its adoption into the GEOSS Common Infrastructure. To this purpose, the SIF and 52North are willing to technically assist in the integration process.


-- JoanMaso - 14 Feb 2014
Topic revision: r5 - 29 Apr 2014, SteveBrowdy

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