Exposing INSPIRE on the Semantic Web
Journal of Web Semantics, Special Issue on Geospatial Semantics
- Contact person: Spiros Athanasiou
- Relevant research project: GeoKnow
Abstract. The INSPIRE Directive by the European Commission sets the legal and technical foundations towards interoperable Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDIs) across Europe. EU member states are already providing such services for several geospatial data themes (e.g., transportation networks, administrative units). Unfortunately, the INSPIRE ecosystem is currently disjoint from the Semantic Web, without any means to repurpose existing SDIs as high-quality data sources, and thus multiply their value through interlinking, reasoning and inferencing. In this paper, we introduce a methodology that can assist stakeholders in exposing INSPIRE-aligned SDIs on the Semantic Web according to the recent GeoSPARQL standard. We develop methods for discovering INSPIRE data through a virtual SPARQL endpoint over existing INSPIRE catalogue services. Further, we implement a suite of tools for automatically transforming INSPIRE data and metadata into RDF triples with geometries. The compiled geographic and thematic information can then be loaded into semantic repositories for querying or interlinked with other data. Our open-source solutions essentially repurpose existing INSPIRE SDIs, so as to promote uptake and facilitate their reuse in practice. Finally, as a case study, we report our experience in validating this approach on a real-world SDI with publicly available data for Greece in order to expose its contents through (Geo)SPARQL endpoints.