Entry for National Maps / Norway

This is a discussion about the submission for National Maps / Norway.

Expanding on what was mentioned in the comments.
The dataset is available in these formats:

  1. SOSI 4.5

  2. PostGIS PostgreSQL 9.3 with PostGIS 2.1.5

  3. ESRI Filgeodatabase 10.2

  4. seems to be an open format, although not in the list:
    PostGIS - Wikipedia

The data is also available as a WMS service, which offers a beautiful national map at 1:250k for Norway to import in GIS clients [http://wms.geonorge.no/skwms1/wms.topo2?]. The data is also available in an ESRI file geodatabase. This is ESRI native and proprietary format, but QGIS has support for it, so it complies with the survey requirements.
PostGIS, a spatial extension for PostgreSQL object-relational database, supports GIS objects defined as a superset of the “Simple Features” defined by the OpenGIS Consortium. As of version 0.9, PostGIS supports all the objects and functions specified in the OGC “Simple Features for SQL” specification.

Shouldn’t availability in SOSI format qualify for a 100% score on National Maps for Norway?
SOSI is an open format. If not, what would be enough?

I’ll check with the Norwegian Mapping Authority on wether the criteria is fulfilled.

From the methodology:
“The Index considers formats to be “open” if they can be fully processed with at least one free and open-source software tool. Potentially these formats allow more people to use the data because people do not need to buy specific software to open it. The source code of these format does not have to be open.”

“Both features (machine-readable and open format) are key aspects of the open definition- Machine-readability is a major enhancement of technical usability. However, if a file is only usable with proprietary software (such as ArcGIS) ‘normal’ users are exempt from using them- Open formats put no copyright, monetary restrictions or other restrictions on their use (important for people who cannot / do not want to afford proprietary software).”

Hi @livarb,

unfortunately we are not able to add any more data formats for this year (purely technical and capacity issues on our end). Apologies that we have not seen this comment earlier.

Quick question, can a SOSI file be opened by an open source software that would also be able to open another file format of our format list?

Hi @dannylammerhirt
Thanks for the swift reply.

Re-reading the original post by the reviewer, it seems that other formats which the datasat is available in, should be sufficient for the criteria?
Seems like Qgis can open both the two other formats:

When it comes to SOSI, it can be opened with Qgis. I emailed the Norwegian Mapping Authority (Kartverket) and got a quick reply saying that there is a plugin for Qgis to open SOSI-format.
A quick search shows formats which Qgis can open:
With a plugin/library, Qgis can open many more formats, among them, SOSI:
The plugin relies on an open source library made by the Norwegian Mapping Authority:

Hope this helps to fulfill the criteria on this point.

1 Like

Hi @livarb,

This is a tough one. I think it is not reasonable to add a largely country-specific file format (I assume SOSI is primarily used in Norway as this Wikipedia entry suggests) in the Global Open Data Index. This is mainly for the reason that we wish to support data formats that are applied around the world. This is also to support interoperability (ensuring that people know with which programs they can open a file, etc.). I’m not suggesting that Norway’s Kartverket misses to inform its users about these things. But to be coherent with the Open Data Charter to not specifically list country-native formats. Curious to hear your thoughts on this

I agree that the ESRI File geodatabase (gdb) format meets our criteria, even though it seems that opening it with QGIS is a fairly cumbersome task. I checked in with our team and added gdb.

We’ll change the submission accordingly

Hi again @dannylammerhirt

Good to hear that one of the three formats meet the criteria. Thank you for the feedback.

I thought the evaluation of this criteria (“open and machine readable format”) would be done more on a case-by-case basis, where the answer wasn’t obvious, and wasn’t aware that adding or not adding a format to the list of data formats is part of the process. I think this can be more clear in the explanaintion of the methodology: https://index.okfn.org/methodology/
For example, it could be mentioned that for a submission to be approved, a format has to be added to the list, if it is not already there.

I see the point of prefering to avoid adding a country-native format. On the other hand, if the format is widely used in the publishing country, and it’s possible to open with a open-source tool, it seems unfair to give zero points. Tricky situation, and a bit more so when it comes to geodata. My impression is that there’s many geodata-formats, and few that are open formats (i.e. free, open standard, standard governed by independend body) and widely used.

Is there some documentation for the list of approved file formats?
It would be great to see a short description of the formats and what they are used for. I have no idea what “PX” is for, and I only know what domain “GRIB2” is used for because I submitted to GODI before and had to look it up.

After the survey is finalised, it would be great to get statistics on file formats. For example the frequency of different formats for a category. F.ex. that “SHP” is used by X number of places, while GeoJSON is used by Y places.
I guess these data will readily available with the controlled list of formats and the results in a machine readable format :slight_smile: