Sparx Academic Excellence Awards Stress Value of Standards

Contributed by: 
Ken Harkin, Global Business Development Manager for Sparx Systems

Sparx Systems has been the sponsor of the Academic Excellence in INSPIRE Award for the past three years, and this year Sparx Systems was also one of the sponsors of an additional recognition, the CEN/TC 287 Award for Excellence and Innovation in Inspire 2013, which is awarded to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).  The European Commission's 2007 INSPIRE Directive establishes an infrastructure for spatial information in Europe to support community environmental policies.

Academic Excellence in INSPIRE Award

The Academic Excellence Award highlights the essential role of academia in the implementation of the INSPIRE Directive.

This year, the Portuguese Laboratory of Energy and Geology (LNEG) and the School of Statistics and Information Management of the New University of Lisbon were recognised for their Report on the “Implementation of the INSPIRE Directive in Digital Geological Map Production in Portugal.”

The LNEG's need to comply with INSPIRE requirements was the primary motive for implementing the INSPIRE Geology data model in LNEG's digital geological map production. This first step towards data harmonisation and inter-operability in the INSPIRE context harmonizes the geological mapping data and then makes it available to different user profiles. The harmonization process required the use of international standards developed by the OGC, ISO TC/ 211 and the Object Management Group (OMG). Productivity gains and time savings were realised with the use of OGC standards deployed with UML (Unified Modeling Language) through the use of Sparx Systems' Enterprise Architect.

Capacity building is critical to a sustainable geospatial industry and thus the Award also recognizes the excellence of individuals, universities and institutions delivering education, a key driver for workforce growth.  The winning project is based on a thesis presented by Ms. Aurete Pereira for a Master degree in Science & GIS.  

This work holds value, not for those seeking a career in the geospatial sector, but for those organisations within and beyond the EU who seek interoperability through standards. The award winning work has special significance for the exploration industry, particularly mining, oil and gas.

SME Innovation Award

The CEN/TC 287 Award for Excellence and Innovation in  INSPIRE 2013 was awarded for innovative activities in the field of INSPIRE and Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI). It went to two companies: Planetek, a member of the smeSpire Consortium, and lat/lon, a Germany-based consulting and software engineering company focused on SDI, geospatial IT standards and open source software.

The paper from Planetek and lat/lon, "Anticipative CSW Counting enhances the Discovery UI (User Interface),”  described a search method based on the OGC Catalog Service – Web (CSW) Interface Standard.  "Anticipative counting" of potential results for a search helps the user to avoid time-consuming void-searches.

It is essential for small and medium sized enterprises, “the backbone of the European economy”, to deliver innovation to the geospatial marketplace and beyond.  The work of Planetek and lat/lon clearly demonstrates this innovation capacity.