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Working on Spatial Data quality and pragmatic enterprise solutions.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bloody Big Deal: European Union extends Quality of Service regulations for Geodata Network Services

Last week, the EU issued a directive to extend its Quality of Service regulations for Geodata Services. This directive adds specifications for download and transformation services to the 'discovery' and 'view' services that were regulated in 2009.

Though this event earned little more than the odd footnote in the industry press and blogosphere, it is actually a bloody big deal. The directive sets specific minimum parameters for performance, capacity and availability of geospatial services published by EU governments. And these are binding.

So why is this so important? Well, it enforces a change of mindset with the publishing agencies. They are now forced to engage in a 'contract' with their users and live up to that. What's more: users can complain and take providers to task. This is also know as 'accountability', and tends to scare the bejesus out of government agencies.

On the flip side of course: users can now start confidently building applications that rely on a minimum performance and availability of the underlying government services.

This is exactly why such regulations should be a critical part of the regulatory environment for an Australian and/or New Zealand spatial infrastructure, if we're ever going to see one of those. Though the Kiwi's seem to be very much on the front foot.

The regulations provide minimum benchmarks for performance (response times under 'normal' circumstances), capacity (number of simultaneous requests to be serviced without degradation) and availability (minimum percentage up-time). They will come in force in staggered intervals from 2011.

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