The HUMBOLDT project

The HUMBOLDT Alignment Editor was initially developed during 2006 to 2011 in the HUMBOLDT European integrated project. This project focused on the facilitation and support of cross-national harmonisation of spatial data.

Within the HUMBOLDT project, the following goals were used to guide the scientific and implementation work:

  1. Capturing domain knowledge / application-specific knowledge required for data harmonisation, including an enhanced formalization of the transformation between two conceptual schemas
  2. Supporting the definition of the information product (target schema, SRS, spatial extent, ...) to which the processed data needs to be transformed
  3. Handling of transformation needs as part of the overall processing of an information request
  4. Enhancement of the automation of the data harmonisation processes (depending on the possibility of capturing the required knowledge and the availability of this knowledge)

As already indicated in the list of goals, a main aspect is the involvement and formalisation of human knowledge for the geodata harmonisation process. Mainly the knowledge of GI data integrators as well as GIS developers has to be captured. The creation of a target data model (e.g. from an INSPIRE data theme specification) and the analysis of available data sources have to involve application experts’ knowledge about data interpretation and GIS developers’ know-how about data processing. The expertise of GI data integrators is required again when the mapping between source and target is specified.

For this purpose, three main components were designed and implemented in HUMBOLDT to support the acquisition of users’ knowledge for data modelling and harmonisation as well as the subsequent execution of conceptual schema transformation:

While the HUMBOLDT GeoModel Editor supports the specification of source and target models, the HUMBOLDT Alignment Editor facilitates the specification of the mapping between source and target, the HUMBOLDT service called Conceptual Schema Transformer is responsible for the execution of the transformation.