OpenSearch-geo: the simple standard for geographic web search engines

Fonts Bartolomé, Óscar
Huerta Guijarro, Joaquín
Díaz Sánchez, Laura
Granell Canut, Carlos
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When publishing information on the web, one expects it to reach all the people that could be interested in. This is mainly achieved with general purpose indexing and search engines like Google which is the most used today. In the particular case of geographic information (GI) domain, exposing content to mainstream search engines is a complex task that needs specific actions. In many occasions it is convenient to provide a web site with a specially tailored search engine. Such is the case for on-line dictionaries (wikipedia, wordreference), stores (amazon, ebay), and generally all those holding thematic databases. Due to proliferation of these engines, proposed a standard interface called OpenSearch, used by modern web browsers to manage custom search engines. Geographic information can also benefit from the use of specific search engines. We can distinguish between two main approaches in GI retrieval information efforts: Classical OGC standardization on one hand (CSW, WFS filters), which are very complex for the mainstream user, and on the other hand the neogeographer’s approach, usually in the form of specific APIs lacking a common query interface and standard geographic formats. A draft ‘geo’ extension for OpenSearch has been proposed. It adds geographic filtering for queries and recommends a set of simple standard response geographic formats, such as KML, Atom and GeoRSS. This proposal enables standardization while keeping simplicity, thus covering a wide range of use cases, in both OGC and the neogeography paradigms. In this article we will analyze the OpenSearch geo extension in detail and its use cases, demonstrating its applicability to both the SDI and the geoweb. Open source implementations will be presented as well ​
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