Modernizing SDI: Data Interoperability for Cumulative Effects CDS

For more information please contact ip [at]


November 10 Workshop Announced

The next activity in the Concept Development Study will be the Modernizing Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) for Cumulative Effects Workshop to be held virtually on November 10. For details, please visit the workshop event page.


The Federal Geospatial Platform, as part of the Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation Branch (CCMEO) of Natural Resources Canada, is working to enable federal, provincial, territorial and First Nations/Indigenous partners concerned with cumulative effects and regional assessments to establish consensus and implement common, open standards-based approaches that leverage emerging technological capabilities, leading to new levels of digital data interoperability.

The goal of the Concept Development Study (CDS) initiative is to explore key emerging standards and technologies and propose possible approaches and methods that can subvert more traditional, time and resource heavy data standard approaches, to arrive at enhanced geospatial data interoperability.

The CDS will result in a practical way forward to shift towards more intelligent, inferential, machine-driven solutions that allow data to be interoperable at need.

Specifically, the project will identify, validate and promote standards-based solutions that can be implemented to enhance the interoperability of key environmental data, from multiple jurisdictions, using emerging Internet-based technology: machine-learning/reasoning, data fabrics, data lakes, cloud environments and services, block chaining and other evolving standards, technologies and tools.

In addition, the CDS will help ensure all stakeholders are equally well informed and prepared to move forward using these next-generation standards and technologies. Webinars will serve to inform stakeholders of CDS results.


June 19, 2020 - Request for Information (closed).

September 2020 - Present preliminary results at the OGC Member Meeting.

November 10, 2020 (tentative) - Workshop.

February 2021 - Public Webinar I - English.

February 2021 - Public Webinar II - French.

March 2021 - Final Report.

Additional Details

One of the primary questions being addressed in the CDS is "How can an ocean of environmental, foundational/framework, biological, socio economic and other data, from multiple different sources, and with varying levels of standardization, be readily consumable and integratable by scientists and citizens alike (with a specific focus on cumulative effects)?"

Today, data is a currency. It holds incredible value. It is also massive and complex, especially considering the growing supply of sensor and Internet of Things data, along will petabytes of continuously created remotely sensed imagery. Data normalization, where it exists, occurs in domain-specific silos that lend no help to integrating data across domains. Data interoperability is the next challenge in spatial data infrastructure (SDI). In the cumulative effects analysis use case, data is sourced from a range of jurisdictions, sectors, domains, over time, and social/community context.

Geospatial data producers have grown adept at:

  • describing their data using standardized metadata
  • making it freely and openly available online, using unrestricted licensing, web services or APIs,
  • collaborating across organizational and jurisdictional boundaries to standardize, produce and maintain framework data

In addition, data producers understand the role of open standards and policies to facilitate SDI technical interoperability, largely in the access and exchange of digital information.

Meantime, next generation standards, massive processing power and machine learning are all rapidly advancing capabilities. How do we, as geospatial data producers, prepare to leverage these new standards and tools to facilitate data harmonization and real data interoperability?

This CDS seeks to specifically identify standards-based solutions that enable data interoperability of key environmental data, from multiple jurisdictions, using emerging Internet-based technology like machine-learning/reasoning, data fabrics, data lakes, cloud services, OpenAPIs, and other evolving standards, technologies and tools.


All questions, comments, or concerns should be addressed to Scott Serich [sserich [at]] with the subject “Modernizing SDI: Data Interoperability for Cumulative Effects CDS”.