Much environmental data is truly 'Big Data', as the data cannot be readily copied and distributed in reasonable timescales for many uses. By specifying precisely just the data required in a convenient pattern familiar to the user, a service provider can extract and serve the requested data, simplying access for the user. This then hides the service implementation details, while being scaleable both in terms of the underlying data volumes and the number of supported simultaneous users.
By using stable and standardized service APIs based on simple data retrieval patterns, it is envisaged that access and use of data and information will be improved in different domains, including geospatial, facilitating more innovation and value. Lowering the barrier to and extending the reach of environmental data can result in increased use, new science as well as integration with non-traditional information communities.
The standard will be consistent with the strategic direction established by "OGC API - Features - Part 1: Core" and the future OGC API - Common as part of evolving OGC API efforts.
The service APIs will support both traditional and cloud-based approaches to computing and also enable a mix of public and private business models on a 'level playing field'. For example, no one country is capable of supplying weather forecast data at the highest useful resolutions for the whole globe. Therefore a distributed scalable approach is essential, enabling both advanced countries and the Least Developed Countries to contribute to global strategic initiatives of sustainability and development.
The Environmental Data Retrieval API will support and be consistent with the HTTP and HTTPS protocols that are ubiquitous on the Web, and, where available, will use existing industry standards commonly used by developers, rather than geospatial specific resources. For example, security will be addressed by the use of OpenAPI (Version 3), allowing the use of security schemes that are common and familiar to Web developers, such as OAuth2 or JWT.
The API will allow the server to provide details to guide the user of the API, such as allowing the choice of common, web-based, modern encodings such as JSON (GeoJSON/CoverageJSON), though this is not mandated.