Air Quality Information System and GEOSS: India Air Quality and CATHALAC Applications

From Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP)

Implementing Organizations and Partners

project team leader’s name and contact information; - Ana Prados? NASA, EPA, Washington University, ESIP?, ???

Initial Description of Problem and application of EO

Description of Problem

Air quality data is normally created by a data provider for a particular mandated end user. The format of the data is specific to the use and the metadata that describe the data are focused on a certain application. More and more, the GEOSS idea is growing that ‘a single problem requires many datasets and a single dataset can serve many applications’ (Zhao, 2006). In order to access a dataset providers need to be able to publish and users need to be able to find and bind to a dataset of interest. Standardized data access services allow interoperability in binding to a dataset. However, the first two parts of publishing and finding a data access service are still problematic. In particular: (1) How does one describe the data access service so that it can be discovered by users? (2) Where does one publish their data access service so that it can be found?


Application in India

Application for CATHALAC

Improving Decision support through AQ Information System


Publish: Initially it was thought that if one “published” data on the web in any format that was enough for sharing. Then it became obvious that if you wanted to integrate datasets that standard data access formats were useful and publication meant that one exposed a standard data access service available on the web. Through the Pilot it became apparent that just exposing the data access service with a GetCapabilities document doesn’t provide enough metadata for discovery and additional standard metadata needs to be published by the provider or distributor for discovery of the service, so the AQ metadata record and AQ Community Catalog was created.

The services we initially registered for the Pilot are OGC WMS and WCS services and they have a GetCapabilities document which has some metadata information included and can be mapped to ISO 19115 fields (Nativi, 2008). To further improve the use of GetCapabilities documents for metadata creation, we organized our data access services by dataset, so that the general metadata information was dataset specific and the coverages were each dataset parameter. Only a handful of additional fields are needed to create a valid metadata record and these can be hard coded or entered at the time or registration.

Figure X. shows the flow of metadata. Starting with the service provider, the GetCapabilities document is used to create an ISO 19115 metadata record for the data access service. The xml document is saved into the community catalog. The community catalog is registered as a component in the GEOSS Component and Service Registry (CSR). The GEOSS Clearinghouses query the GEOSS CSR for catalogs and then harvest the catalogs for their metadata records, ending the metadata publishing process.

Figure X. Publish-Find-Bind process for data access services from service provider to service user

Find: In order to find the data access services in the clearinghouse one has to know what to search for. The clearinghouse queryable fields and metadata fields were mapped in a crosswalk to clarify how information was extracted from the harvested metadata records. The key queries we have been interested in so far are for finding our own records, through the parent identifier and searching for services by type and keyword.

The ESRI and USGS clearinghouses expose a search API which has enabled the AQ group to create a more customized search interfaces. One example interface that we have set up is using the USGS API and searching full text in order to find WMS or WCS services (Ref link).

Bind: Once the user has found the dataset of interest the next step is to bind to the dataset (Fig. 2) and display the data access service through the tool of choice. Each service is described in the metadata record with its GetCapabilities URL. Through preliminary testing with WMS services, the Compusult Clearinghouse is able to bind to the GetCapabilities URL found in the metadata record and display a WMS instance of the map.

Intended beneficiaries and anticipated benefits and improvements;


Air quality monitoring and management in India have gained importance ever since the Government of India enacted the Air (Prevention and Control) Act 1981. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB ) and State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) that were established as part of this Act are responsible for managing air quality at national level and state levels respectively. The ground based monitoring networks in India include the National Ambient Monitoring Programme (NAMP) network operated under the guidelines of Central Pollution Control Board, state level air monitoring networks operated by respective State Pollution Control Boards, and other networks operated by universities or research groups. NAMP network consists of 342 operating stations covering 127 cities/towns in 26 states and 4 Union Territories of the country. All these monitoring stations monitor Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM) and Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) on every third day. Monitoring stations provide point measurements, and are inadequate to provide a synoptic view of air quality in a region.

Recent developments in the earth observation (EO) systems provide an excellent opportunity to integrate satellite data with surface measurements to support decision making processes for air quality management. Presently, these earth observation data are under-utilized for air quality management in India, and by and large restricted to the research community [1, 2, 3]. Information systems (IS) are a need of the hour to empower the air quality managers and policy makers in decision making on air quality issues. The opportunity to find and access heterogeneous air quality data for view, process, overlay and display can give another dimension to the air quality management in the country. The work proposed is to develop an integrated air quality information system for India, similar to DataFed [4], which can then be linked to GEOSS Common Infrastructure (GCI) as Provider/user [5]. A preliminary frame work for the proposal is represented in Figure 1. The beneficiaries of this project would be CPCB, SPCBs, Research community and other GEOSS service sharing groups.

Some of the proposed activities under the project are:

  1. Identification of stake holders and Mobilisation of resources
  2. Holding workshops and capacity building
  3. Engage providers to register data services
  4. Development of decision support system
  5. Demonstration of successful applications
  6. Ensuring sustainability of the system in future


Level of Experience/Assistance Needed?


A Concept Proposal contains necessarily the following information to support the evaluation:

  1. project team leader’s name and contact information;
  2. implementing organizations and partners;
  3. initial description of project concept, including description of the decision or problem needing improvement and the application of Earth observations, data, or model products;
  4. intended beneficiaries and anticipated benefits and improvements;
  5. anticipated duration of project; and
  6. level of experience with Earth observations and type of assistance requested (if any).

These Concept Proposals are intended as a way to minimize initial efforts of project teams so that only projects of interest will prepare Full Proposals. However, the Concept Proposals need to contain sufficient information to enable the review panels’ evaluation and GEO support to the projects.

This section describes the main objectives of the project. It describes the proposed activities, technical approach, and methodology to apply Earth observations to improve the decision making. It describes efforts to transition results and ensure the sustained use of the Earth observations after the completion of the project.

CFP supports projects connecting the parts of this diagram to demonstrate societal benefits from Earth observations and GEOSS.
GEOSSUIC Diagram.png

  • Special focus on projects helping end users apply Earth observations, especially users in developing countries
  • Can include training/workshop ideas.