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Context profile background from USGS Community for Data Integration input (Lead: USGS National Geospatial Program)

USGS has 100s of web applications and thick clients that were built to help explore the 100s of datasets and analytic scenarios at USGS. These viewers use many technologies and solve varying use cases from basic navigation, to feature investigation, data analytics, to geoprocessing. In 2009, scientists asked the USGS Community for Data Integration to make easier to port mashup work done in one environment to another viewer - initially, with a visualization focus. The USGS National Geospatial Program, which manages The National Map viewer application is currently powered by the NGA Palanterra x3 project. Palanterra x3 has been context based since 2009 using a custom JSON schema. Palanterra stated in July to USGS they will likely be moving to support the ESRI REST JSON context schema by end of calendar year.

That being said, in support of the USGS Community for Data Integration, The National Map is working on functionality to allow a user to save a context, and re-read in mashup sessions. This functionality will be its own application, which means the 100s of USGS Viewers could call this Save As function and allow the context to be opened in many viewer flavors that supports different context formats. The USGS Community for Data Integration already has a testbed project moving forward that is working on developing readers of the standard context for Palanterra X3, Google Maps, OpenLayers, the multiple ESRI APIs, etc. that would help grow the approach for developing viewers at USGS that allow for opening mashups created in other viewers.

The save context functionality the USGS is working on would like to support saving a mashup as KML, ESRI JSON and OWS and as well save snapshots as PDF, JPG, PNG. KML can be saved for opening basic mashup in KML clients like Google Maps, Google Earth, OpenLayers, The National Map Viewer, and NGA Palanterra x3. The ESRI flavors to support the scientists requests to easily open in the Arc products, of which USGS has 11,000 licenses. For OWS, we are asking the OGC to consider guiding the OWS XML/Atom to be also “published” as a transformation with specified rules into the hierarchical structure JSON format that is non-lossy. This lightweight option would be of benefit to viewers like Palanterra x3 which powers NGA, USGS, FBI, others and would be trivial to deploy once the Atom schema is known.

The main reasons for requesting JSON transformation support of the ATOM/XML for OWS are:
• JSON is much less verbose, less bytes which is important in service world
• JSON is native supported in all browsers, and thus no additional parsers needed. XML isn’t a datatype in browers as it must be parsed, though in Flex XML is a datatype. There are many good articles comparing XML versus JSON performance on the web, and though most parsing APIs can be tweaked to be just or near as fast in XML, most APIs are faster in JSON. Also, since JSON can be embedded as a javascript which means a configuration, when allowed via crossdomain.xml, can be called across approved site, where XML cannot without addtional code modules.
• Mixing content in JSON can be easier than XML world, and the current OWS will need several extensions to support more richer attributes that NGA Palanterra and USGS The National Map have lready extended – for instance, we have services in OGC and non-OGC flavors, transparency and service order settings, mixed in CSW settings, added a download configuration framework, processing context, etc. Much along the OWS lines, but not quite ready to move all that over to the new OWS.
• JSON makes for easier integration in commercial space as it appears to be favored for web apps

Of note, USGS completely recognizes that for the heavier communication and transaction side, XML/SOAP/WS- has its benefits in the enterprise, but the leaner, read-only lighter web applications like “viewers” tend to be easier to work with for user and developer end in JSON. In a nutshell, its not a open and shut situation on when to use XML/WS- vs REST/JSON , but the current Geo JS APIs do better in JSON due to speed, cross-site scripting can be circumvented using script tags for JSON reference (HTML and XML cannot), BUT XML has better controls/metadata and great in thicker clients with true parsing or TRUE Web apps, not the lightweight simple apps.

Main Project

A team from CDI focused on making the process of creating, saving, and sharing mashups (aggregations of TNM web services for visualization) easier. Of particular focus is to ensure that these mashups are readily usable in widely deployed client tools (such as ArcMap and Google Earth). The progression has been:

  • FY10 - (CDI budgeted and funded) To develop templates ArcMap map documents (*.mxd) that showcase TNM and other USGS web services.
  • FY11 - (CDI budgeted, not funded) To make it easier to save and open mashups in Google Earth (.kml format) and ArcMap (.mxd); hoping for a "one-click" level of streamlining for this process. Also, the team seeks to make it possible to save the configuration of the TNM Viewer (Palanterra 3x) into a JSON Context file to allow configuration to be reloaded.
  • FY12 - (CDI proposal) Continue have a CDI project and have submitted to CDI a new proposal to continue this work, and expand to across USGS Viewers and multiple API flavors.

Project work can be seen at: https://my.usgs.gov/confluence/display/cdi/Web+Application+Integration+Framework

This team is being pioneeered by USGS NGP (Rob Dollison, Matt Tricomi, Kevin Hope, Glenn Guempel),

Next Step

Look at having a base web context (definition?) that can share between any USGS Viewer.

Project Topic

Tasks

Resources Required

Major Outcomes

Total Funding Needed

Temporary Abstract/Planning Text (Dump from Etherpad Brain Dump session)

Expand TNM Save As/Open In to USGS Wide

Vet the TNM Concept Discover issues for expanding Explore JSON Context Scope Explore Standardization Process Explore how have 1 Save As/Open In App service that USGS can use leveraging TNM efforts

Representatives from other USGS areas interested in Mashup Travel $ may be needed

USGS Wide approach to Mashup Same Context File Demos of Open Mashup in other Viewers Preferrably OpenLayers, Flex, Silverlight and JS API Mashup reader developed for reuse

Travel $ resources from other programs for devel time may be needed

See Save As/Open In project in CDI Wiki under Tech Stack

Expand scope to USGS Wide

Tasks

The TNM Concept: Building consensus on a common JSON map context

A web map context is a description of the initial view, basemaps, overlays, and other user-configured characteristics of a web viewer session. A context can organize things like WMS, WMTS, KML, RSS, and ESRI REST services. OGC has a Web Map Context (OWC) specification, which defines XML as the encoding scheme. This specification has not been widely adopted, at least in part because XML does not work well in Javascript APIs. The goal of saving a web map context is allowing users to create a mashup in one viewer that can be saved and opened another viewer. This gets us out of the Web 1.0 "go to my site" world, allowing mashup sharing.

The project, based in ongoing work by the USGS National Geospatial Program, is an attempt to define a common JSON encoding for web map contexts that could be used across many viewers - OpenLayers, Google Maps, ESRI JavaScript/Flex, and Palanterrax3, among others. Defining a profile of the OWC that allows for encoding in JSON format would be the ultimate goal, but not needed for this beta project. Developing consensus on a JSON map context is the primary goal.

The initial focus on this project has been focused on ESRI-based clients because these are an important part of the USGS corporate computer model. USGS scientists have requested that taking web-browser created views of The National Map be easier and faster to replicate in ArcMap. Specifically, after a scientist makes a mashup using the TNM Viewer (web-based<--Palanterra viewer?), it should be easier to download the mashup with a single mouse-click to the user's local machine, and use that in ArcMap. Additionally, saving a TNM Viewer mashup for use in Google Earth has been a focus. TNM has been using a map context model and JSON encoding scheme defined by the Palanterra x3 platform as a starting point.

Discover issues for expanding

Few things going on:

  • NGA Palanterra X3 team, based on update during @ESRIUC2011 meeting with Rob, Matt, ArcGIS.com Architects, NGA Px3 Architects, will be moving to the ESRI JSON Context profile. TNM will likely implement that (Palanterra) release by end of Calendar Year.
  • Nebert noted in the FGDC GeoCloud pilot, they've been working with OpenGeo on a viewer similar to Px3, but using OpenLayers for adding services, changing basemaps, and saving as Web Map Context Profile for sharing.
  • USGS Core Science Systems Informatics (CSI) is working on and talking with Matt a bit about the idea of exposing ScienceBase contexts according to a standard or convention so they can be used outside of ScienceBase in some other application. In the ScienceBase work, there is a concept of context that is more general than just a map context. This is used to describe an environment in which people are doing data and information work. These ScienceBase contexts are referred to as Virtual Catalogs in the user interface. ScienceBase contexts could potentially be accessed in the same way intended for WMC where an application wants to put all the mappable stuff of a context into a viewer or other tool. ScienceBase contexts can be a bit more complex than a simple package and set of explicit services, layers, downloadable data, and other stuff. We are experimenting with the concept of describing "saved searches" that are themselves a packaging of items built with query criteria, producing a dynamic set of items that will change over time. *Sciencebase Context Page
  • The OpenLayers development team is interested in joining in the development of a common JSON map context specification with TNM, NGA, and ESRI. John Aguinaldo, Matt Tricomi, and Kevin Hope (all of the USGS) have been in contacts in these discussions. Discussed in March 2012 with Aguinaldo about using the Px3 JSON context to start likely and working towards the OGC OWS Context Profile when the y have a new JSON Context soon, but its still just in draft. Also, there is the GeoServices context concept that OGC is working through (what arcgis.com uses).
  • ArcGIS.com has been using the ESRI REST Context since 2010 for saving mashup galleries. All ESRI APIs use it as well - JS API, Silverlight API, Flex API - out of the box, yet, in the latter, when implementing most people still hardcode and don't use the context standard
  • ArcMap and ArcGIS Explorer in AGS 10.1 will support opening the (ESRI REST?) Context profile and converting to ArcMap MXD or ArcGIS Explorer WMF automatically.
  • TNM, with the USGS Water group CIDA, has implemented a JSON2KML to support converting JSON encoded content to the KML supported tags used in Google Earth, Google Maps, or any KML readers now.
  • OGC has had a Context Profile (is this the web map context) since 2003. OGC will be discussing use of ATOM-based XML for encoding OWC (at September 2011 OGC Technical Meeting). See below. *Track the OGC Web Context Working Group . The groups context redefinition states: "The principle use case for an OWS Context document is for defining the application state of an Integrated Client. When this application state is reproduced by two or more Integrated Clients, such clients are said to share a common operational picture. The OWS Context SWG will evaluate and incorporate the best aspects of WMS Context, OWS Context, KML and Location Organizer Folder (LOF) into a new OWS Context proposal that would expedite the adoption of a normative 1.0 version of an OWS Context specification. The work will emphasize ease of implementation through the use existing well established formats and protocols.
  • In discussion with Arizona Geospatial Office, Steve Richards, he is re-emphasizing the discover aspect for catalogs and so the CSW can show it, and one-click can be added to views. *See attached document
  • Roland wanted to add the processing context should be considered as well. Matt added definitely should be, but likely on different maturity paths and we should be careful to avoid the HTML phenomenon (where its becomes very unstructured and undiscoverable/unreusable). Goal of whatever is done should be discoverable, explorable/investigatable, and re-usable. (Discussion on 9/6).
  • NGA Palanterra X3 team, based on update during @ESRIUC2011 meeting with Rob, Matt, ArcGIS.com Architects, NGA Px3 Architects, will be moving to the ESRI JSON Context profile. TNM will likely implement that (Palanterra) release by end of Calendar Year.
  • Nebert noted in the FGDC GeoCloud pilot, they've been working with OpenGeo on a viewer similar to Px3, but using OpenLayers for adding services, changing basemaps, and saving as Web Map Context Profile for sharing.
  • USGS Core Science Systems Informatics (CSI) is working on and talking with Matt a bit about the idea of exposing ScienceBase contexts according to a standard or convention so they can be used outside of ScienceBase in some other application. In the ScienceBase work, there is a concept of context that is more general than just a map context. This is used to describe an environment in which people are doing data and information work. These ScienceBase contexts are referred to as Virtual Catalogs in the user interface. ScienceBase contexts could potentially be accessed in the same way intended for WMC where an application wants to put all the mappable stuff of a context into a viewer or other tool. ScienceBase contexts can be a bit more complex than a simple package and set of explicit services, layers, downloadable data, and other stuff. We are experimenting with the concept of describing "saved searches" that are themselves a packaging of items built with query criteria, producing a dynamic set of items that will change over time. *Sciencebase Context Page
  • The OpenLayers development team is interested in joining in the development of a common JSON map context specification with TNM, NGA, and ESRI. John Aguinaldo, Matt Tricomi, and Kevin Hope (all of the USGS) have been in contacts in these discussions. Discussed in March 2012 with Aguinaldo about using the Px3 JSON context to start likely and working towards the OGC OWS Context Profile when the y have a new JSON Context soon, but its still just in draft. Also, there is the GeoServices context concept that OGC is working through (what arcgis.com uses).
  • ArcGIS.com has been using the ESRI REST Context since 2010 for saving mashup galleries. All ESRI APIs use it as well - JS API, Silverlight API, Flex API - out of the box, yet, in the latter, when implementing most people still hardcode and don't use the context standard
  • ArcMap and ArcGIS Explorer in AGS 10.1 will support opening the (ESRI REST?) Context profile and converting to ArcMap MXD or ArcGIS Explorer WMF automatically.
  • TNM, with the USGS Water group CIDA, has implemented a JSON2KML to support converting JSON encoded content to the KML supported tags used in Google Earth, Google Maps, or any KML readers now.
  • OGC has had a Context Profile (is this the web map context) since 2003. OGC will be discussing use of ATOM-based XML for encoding OWC (at September 2011 OGC Technical Meeting). See below. *Track the OGC Web Context Working Group . The groups context redefinition states: "The principle use case for an OWS Context document is for defining the application state of an Integrated Client. When this application state is reproduced by two or more Integrated Clients, such clients are said to share a common operational picture. The OWS Context SWG will evaluate and incorporate the best aspects of WMS Context, OWS Context, KML and Location Organizer Folder (LOF) into a new OWS Context proposal that would expedite the adoption of a normative 1.0 version of an OWS Context specification. The work will emphasize ease of implementation through the use existing well established formats and protocols.
  • In discussion with Arizona Geospatial Office, Steve Richards, he is re-emphasizing the discover aspect for catalogs and so the CSW can show it, and one-click can be added to views. *See attached document
  • Roland wanted to add the processing context should be considered as well. Matt added definitely should be, but likely on different maturity paths and we should be careful to avoid the HTML phenomenon (where its becomes very unstructured and undiscoverable/unreusable). Goal of whatever is done should be discoverable, explorable/investigatable, and re-usable. (Discussion on 9/6).

Explore JSON Context Scope

So the initial project goals were to to make it easy to save a context as JSON, as KML, as MXD. If the standard JSON changes, that is not a major issue. The JSON TNM is using predates the ESR REST Geoservices Web context in the ESRI REST geoservices web API. You can see the Px3 JSON at: http://viewer.nationalmap.gov/viewer/config/default/default.r0.json

  • There is a detailed Schema behind it, and MANY extensions that are NOT looking to be shared as part of the mashup output. The main things to share are:
  • Services, ServiceGroups, Extents, MapConfig, LayoutConfig and specifically in the Services, the layer attribution ID for querying.
  • As well, some other CONSIDERATIONS in the JSON schema are in handling Search services - see Locators and SearchConfig
  • Some of the fields to NOT consider are: Tasks, Tools, and Special Functions that are pretty Px3 Viewer API specific, and are just considered extensions to be ignored
    As well, in future, TNM has also created a Download JSON Config context to easily setting up download framework mashups - for setting up what Reference Layers,
    Themes/ Product, and ServiceURLs to support downloads in viewers.

The Px3 or ESRI context supports calling ESRI REST map services, IMS, WMS, KML, RSS and WMTS, but not WFS or WCS, but typically these are not used in map contexts in most situations.

The OGC context supports WMS,WCS,WFS, KML, GeoRSS, but not ESRI REST Map Services. Wouldn't be a big deal to make this an extension to support.

FY13 Testbed Scope considerations

In discussions with OGC OWS Context SWG Chair (Dave Wesloh, NGA) on :
1. OWS JSON plans for FY13
2. OWS JSON Testbed
3. OWS JSON and ESRI/REST JSON Overlap thoughts
On the whole, when chatting with Dave, in a quick 5 minute call:
  • OWS XML is focus still to release between now and January
  • He liked pursuing a OWS JSON Testbed concept and interested in hearing more on leveraging our NGTOC developers
  • He acknowledge (before I even mentioned it) we'd likely have 2 OGC sponsored JSON flavors - one of the OWS JSON and one of the REST/ESRI JSON
  • Similar to testbed for OWS JSON Testbed, it would be good for us to also discuss leveraging same folk for testing the REST/ESRI JSON flavor as a testbed
  • He recognized the need for both and I noted since we, like NGA, are heavy ESRI shops, that we have interest in both and figuring out which context JSON flavor to pursue in what cases.

NGA Palanterra x3/USGS JSON Context Comparison

(as captured on OGC Twiki from 2/14 meeting 'OGC Login required to access Twiki - same documents copied below')

Configuring_Config_USGS_TNM.json.pdf: Data Dictionary on Px3 config and TNM example

config.json: Example of the Px3 JSON context as notes with NGA capture

http://viewer.nationalmap.gov/viewer/config/default/default.r0.json TNM's Configuration

Comparing_Px3_Config_USGS_TNM.json-to-OGC-OWS-draft-spec.pdf: Nov/Dec '12 Thread - USGS/NGA Px3 comparison of OWS context to px3 config

ESRI or GeoServices JSON Context Comparison

GeoServices_Context_Example.docx: This file I attached has a few examples of the context file that arcgis.com uses, which is the geoservices api base for sharing map mashups - which is the part that is "hidden" or at least not clear in the geoservices api - which hints at, to Rosinger's question, there may be overlap between the OWS Context effort and the GeoServices? eval. and REST OGC groups PS don't be alarmed by the page length - the first 3 pages are the instructions and 2 simple examples. The bulk of pages is a complex example that we made for adding all the USGS National Map overlays and some EPA facilities data

From Marten Hogeweg:

This is the WMC opener I just mentioned for ArcGIS Desktop.

https://github.com/Esri/geoportal-server/tree/master/components/desktop/WMCOpener

it is open source under Apache 2.0 license.

Explore Standardization Process

OGC is working as part of OWS-7 Testbed on an ATOM based XML. It will be very robust and complete. The concept of this being used as JSON though, is still relatively new for OGC, and in early phases of consideration. There might be room in OGC to join the discussion of an OWC draft specification that could be expressed in XML or JSON--which is perceived to add the "best of" what a json approach can offer.

If you have access to OGC portal the link is https://portal.opengeospatial.org/twiki/bin/view/OWSContextswg/

OGC accepted USGS proposal to manage 2 encoding: ATOM XML and JSON. They have done a draft on the JSON translation using an XSLT and the standard is being worked. But the field requirements discussion is still ongoing

ESRI Submitted REST API for consideration. Glenn Guempel has attached the OGC GeoServices REST Candidate Standard Version 1.0 in case you have not read what ESRI submitted. Doug is correct this is a hot topic in OGC. Doug noted:
The likelihood of this seems to be low because, per Doug Nebert:

  • it does not harmonize with and overlaps parts of existing standards and interfaces already published by OGC
  • it is not strictly REST based on technical assessments
  • it supposes an Esri data model and operations set rather than an ISO/OGC feature-coverage model

Glenn Guempel attached the OGC GeoServices REST Candidate Standard Version 1.0 in case you have not read what ESRI submitted. Doug is correct this is a hot topic in OGC. Also attached are 1. NGA response to the and 2. The GWG Information transfer and Services Architecture focus groups slides from their last meeting where the REST Candidate Standard was discussed.

Essentially, the conversation of when to use ATOM XML or JSON gets close into a REST v SOAP argument which if you search the web on that term, you'll find plenty of articles on it:

Primers

More Info

In a nutshell, its not a open and shut situation on when to use XML/WS- vs REST/JSON , but the current Geo JS APIs do better in JSON due to speed, cross-site scripting can be circumvented using script tags for JSON reference (HTML and XML cannot), BUT XML has better controls/metadata and great in thicker clients with true parsing or TRUE Web apps, not the lightweight simple apps.

  • Search on JSON XML Performance - Some good articles comparing XML versus JSON performance on the web. Though most parsing APIs can be tweaked to be just or near as fast in XML, most APIs are faster in JSON

Doug Nebert wrote, "JSON is a hierarchical structure that can be transformed from XML/Atom, but is much less verbose. What the members could do is specify the rules for the transform - a Context JSON schema - and it becomes an alternative non-lossy format that can be exchanged. This lightweight option would be of benefit to viewers like Palanterra and would be trivial to deploy once the Atom schema is known.

  • JSON is definitely not making it into the first OWC release in September, and OGC is considered in hearing more. Even if that is simply outputting the ATOM XML as JSON. This would be a la Google Search API example:
  • Google's search API (supports both Atom & JSON, but JSON is the default)
  • Summary: Enabling both would be good.

Why NGA Palanterra x3 selected JSON as Context Profile

This response was requested from the NGP EA team of a lead Palanterra x3 developer on why JSON was selected in 2008 when Px3 was re-architected. This is not a formal request. Just a few things from NGA Palanterra x3 team, and not a formal list, and was great that they offered some of there architecture direction.

Detailed response
=================
Since XML must be parsed and isn’t a datatype in browsers. However, JSON is supported in all browsers, Flex, Silverlight, and parsers can easily be written for languages such as Java that don’t have it as a first class citizen. In a browser based world the only language that supports XML well is Flex so far as there is actually a XML datatype.

In analyzing whether JSON is the right technological solution, I think there are a number of factors that lead to it being a better choice than XML:
1.) Browsers or Browser plugins are generally what I feel to be the main audience for this config and JSON is native and can be parsed by these w/o any additional parsers
2.) JSON schemes are less verbose than XML and thus less bytes over the wire, which is important in our service based world
3.) Mixing content in JSON is easier than stitching XML content together
3.) JSON is slightly easier to extend than XML esp for those with a lower technical knowledge base, because since namespaces don’t complicate things
4.) JSON seems to be now favored in the commercial space over XML for web applications (e.g. Twitter and Foursquare dropped support for xml in 2010) and I think the commercial space is always a good indicator of trying to make things leaner, faster, and more cost efficient.

There are tons of arguments on both sides where XML might provide more flexibility and has been favored in desktop and server communication within the enterprise for a long time but JSON is leaner, simpler and in Palanterra x3 developers opinion (not NGA specifically) is easier to work with across programming languages.
=================
Likely this thought pattern was some of the logic into why ArcGIS.com also selected

I would also add that JSON can be embedded as a javascript which means a configuration, when allowed via crossdomain.xml, can be called across approved site, where XML cannot without addtional code modules.

Folks attending the OGC Technical Meeting

  • I-Lin Kuo (WI WSC - CIDA)
  • Nate Booth (WI WSC - CIDA)
  • David Blodgett (WI WSC - CIDA)
  • Tom Kunicki (WI WSC - CIDA)
  • Laura De Cicco (WI WSC - CIDA)
  • Roland Viger (NRP, Denver)
  • Glenn Guempel (NGP)
  • Matt Tricomi (NGP)
  • Kristin Fishburn (NGP)

The USGS has 20 slots available in total. There's an optional $50 Wed night reception. Otherwise OGC events are free. Attendees 

  • need an account on the OGC portal (click here to register)
  • must register for the OGC technical conference in Boulder, Sept, 2011. Note there are often "summit" events at a conference or technical conference that should be registered for in addition, if so desired.
  • sign up as an "observer", if required (i.e., non-voting guest - you can still engage in dialogs!)
  • Agenda

If you are part of NGP, please coordinate registration through Glenn Guempel (instead of using the link provided above).

Folks involved in this conversation

Individuals are USGS unless otherwise noted.

  • Matt Tricomi
  • Doug Nebert
  • Sky Bristol
  • Tim Kern
  • John Aguinaldo
  • Raj Singh (OGC)
  • David Wesloh (NGA)
  • Roland Viger
  • Nate Booth
  • Dave Blodgett
  • Rob Dollison
  • Kevin Hope
  • Paul Wiese 
  • Abby Benson
  • Glenn Guempel
  • Steve Richard (USGIN)
  • Richard Brown
  • Kevin McNinch
  • Kristin Fishburn 

OWS Context discussion comparing with Px3 Context and JSON discussion

Meeting Minutes Telecon February 14, 2012 (ad hoc)

Attendees

Pedro Goncalves, Terradue (PG)
Matt Tricomi, USGS (MT)
David Rosinger, Intergraph (DR)
Dave Wesloh, NGA (DW)

Discussion

Discussion of Atom to JSON

This ad hoc meeting was held to discuss possible solutions for developing a JSON encoding of OWS Context. Specifically called to discuss methods available for converting the ATOM encoding to JSON.
PG – If we use an XSL conversion method there is an issue related to doing representing GeoRSS? in GeoJSON? .
MT – Are we talking about using GeoJSON? instead of JSON?
DW – I think OGC would prefer we use GeoJSON? .
PG – I have tested an Atom with GeoRSS? Context and it draws correctly in Google Maps. GeoJSON? is not completely supported by all the services.
MT – USGS is working on a “save as” function for translating from one encoding to another.
PG – I will have an Atom and JSON encoding ready for our next meeting. Is there a preference in USGS for ATOM or JSON.
MT – I believe NGA has a preference for JSON.
Action: Dave Wesloh to contact Palenterra team to determine if they have a preference for ATOM, JSON or GeoJSON? . Action Closed – see response below.
MT – I have been told a lot of implementers do not like having to use an XML parser for ATOM in a web browser (thin client). NGA (Palenterra) has been working with Esri and they might be looking at implementing the Esri Context instead of OWS Context. (see email sent Feb. 16, 2012 – Geoservices data context)
PG – I have been looking at using a OpenLayers? API to convert ATOM to JSON to GeoJSON? . Look at GeoJSON? .org. My current process is to take ATOM translate to JSON add geometry elements and output as GeoJSON? . Esri uses a different approach.
Action: Dave Wesloh to contact Palenterra team to determine if they have plan to implement the Esri Geoservices REST Context document or the OGC OWS Context document.
Action Closed:
Question: We were wondering if Palenterra has a preference for JSON over the use of GeoJSON? ? Our thoughts were to create an ATOM encoding translate to JSON add the geometry elements and output to GeoJSON? using an OpenLayers? API. Our second question is if the Palenterra team intends to implement the Esri solution or if there was some thought to using the OGC OWS Context solution when it becomes available.
Response (Palenterra): It isn't ESRI-corporate that is doing this (developing a Esri based Context for Palenterra) – it is the GVS/contractor that has done this back in 2008 timeframe. It is just a JSON-based file we use as a configuration file. The Config file only sets the profile with appropriate layers, links, etc based on a user's profile and their association with a group – so very similar to the context, except not XML based.
ESRI has a preference for ESRI-JSON as in the GeoREST? . GeoJSON? is slightly different and JSON is even a little bit different – neither are out of the question. I believe this JSON file is not a GeoJSON? or ESRI-JSON – it is just a JSON that sets preferences and profiles; and doesn't really present any geographic information. This config was started back in 2008 and just carried forward since – it made sense in 2008 as nothing else was really available.
I believe we would be completely open to implement the OGC one – especially if it isn't the current XML based context file.
PG – ATOM is fully supported in Google Maps, Firefox, Bing already. JSON is a good option if you have full control of the entire process (create/use/share) but it’s so flexible this could lead to interoperability issues if the Context documents are not created exactly the same.
DW – How does OpenLayers? fit in this discussion?
PG – OpenLayers? is an open source library. The idea is that we would create the translations from one encoding to the other then add those into the OpenLayers? library and ask for them to test and approve.
DR- If Esri is developing their own version of Context document do you think they’d be willing to develop a translation between the Esri Context and the OWS Context? Sort of like the USGS “save as” option.
DR – So is our approach to use XSLT to translate between ATOM and JSON?
PG – Preference is to use OpenLayers? and build a translation to put in the library.

Attachments

(as captured on OGC Twiki from 2/14 meeting 'OGC Login required to access Twiki - same documents copied below')

Configuring_Config_USGS_TNM.json.pdf: Data Dictionary on Px3 config and TNM example

config.json: Example of the Px3 JSON context as notes with NGA capture

http://viewer.nationalmap.gov/viewer/config/default/default.r0.json TNM's Configuration

Comparing_Px3_Config_USGS_TNM.json-to-OGC-OWS-draft-spec.pdf: Nov/Dec '12 Thread - USGS/NGA Px3 comparison of OWS context to px3 config