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Workshop goal and target audience

On 3-4 July 2019, the Joint Research Centre (JRC) will be hosting a 1.5-day workshop on making spatial data discoverable through mainstream search engines in Ispra, Italy.

The workshop will be focusing on technical issues so is mainly dedicated to web developers, spatial data publishers and search engine optimisation (SEO) experts who are willing to share their experience related to search engines indexing optimisations when publishing spatial data and learn about experience of other MS.

Limited funding is available to cover travel costs for participants (where needed).

Why this workshop?

After some discussions at the MIG-T meeting in Paris, the MIG-T decided to organise a workshop to:

  • collect existing examples, good practices and information about tool support for making spatial data discoverable through mainstream search engines,

  • discuss experiences and good practices for landing pages of data sets and how these could be generated from catalogue metadata (rather than maintaining the information in different systems),

  • discuss whether/how to organise testbeds/experiments to study the effects of annotations of spatial data sets (and possibly spatial objects) in mainstream search,

  • collect feedback and suggestions to search engines for improving data set search, and

  • collect and discuss possible other uses of data set and object annotations.

The workshop will also discuss proposals for possible follow-up actions under the MIG-T activity on making INSPIRE data discoverable through mainstream search engines.

The gathered good practices, open issues and suggestions for follow-up activities will be summarised in a workshop report.

Call for abstracts

We are inviting proposals for presentations on experiences with search engine optimisation for geospatial data and related topics, including (but not limited to):

  • design and content of landing pages for data and services following SEO principles

  • exposing geospatial services in a Web-friendly way (e.g., by supporting an HTML presentation of the capabilities, as well as of the service "content")

  • use of Linked Data for improving the discoverability of geospatial meta/data

  • use of persistent HTTP URIs for datasets, services, and/or single geographic features / data items

  • use of GeoDCAT-AP for metadata publication (either as an alternative or only metadata format)

  • integration of markup in Web pages

  • use of sitemaps for informing search engines about datasets, services, and single features / data items available online

  • use of robots.txt and HTML meta tags (e.g., index, follow) to optimise the indexing of a Web site and of services giving access to meta/data

  • web site integration with with SEO tools (e.g., Google Search Console)

  • use of commercial tools for improving the visibility of datasets, services, and single feature / data items (e.g., Google AdWords)

Presentations can be of two types:

  • speed presentations (max. 5 min) introducing a topic or issue, which will then be discussed in small break-out groups

  • long presentations (max. 15 min max. 10 min + 5 min for questions) presenting experiences or good practices

The presentation proposal should include:

  • title of presentation,

  • presenter name, email and organisation,

  • type of presentation (speed or long)

  • an abstract (max. 300 words) describing the discussion topic and questions (for speed presentations) or experience/good practices (for long presentations)

The abstracts should be sent to and The deadline for submissions has been extended to 10 May 2019.

Participants will be notified about acceptance/rejection of their proposals by 17 May.

Important dates

  • Workshop: 25 June 3 July 2019 (13:00-17:30) to 26 June 4 July 2019 (9:00-16:30) [The workshop has been moved back by one week to avoid a clash with the OGC TC meeting in Leuven]
  • Abstract submission: 3 May 2019 extended to 10 May
  • Notification of acceptance: 17 May 2019

Context & background

In 2017, OGC and W3C jointly published the Spatial Data on the Web Best Practices. This document identifies 14 best practices / recommendations that are applicable to the publication of spatial data on the Web. These best practices cover different aspects of spatial data publication like: data formats, access, licensing, metadata, identifiers, etc.

As a follow-up, the European Commission under ELISE initiative published Spatial Data on the Web tools and guidance for data providers, which assesses the INSPIRE framework against the aforementioned best practices, identifies gaps, and finally provides recommendations how to seal those gaps. The document recognises 4 out of 14 best practices that are crucial for successful spatial data infrastructure (SDI) implementation. One of those is Best practice 2: make your spatial data indexable by the search engines. It signifies the importance of making spatial resources discoverable by non-expert users via search engines.

Since this recommendation is often not (fully) considered when developing SDIs, the MIG-T decided to launch a dedicated activity on making INSPIRE data discoverable through mainstream search engines. One of first actions within the activity was to organise Google Dataset Search (GDS) workshop during the 2018 INSPIRE conference in Antwerp. The GDS workshop introduced the concept of annotating landing pages with code snippets that are recognised by Google crawlers ant thus indexed. This concept has been tested by several spatial dataset providers in Europe and proved to be working as advertised.

However, GDS though important is only one of many tools/techniques that optimise spatial data to be indexed by search engines.

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