The Key to Access Geospatial Open Data in Taiwan: TGOS GIS Cloud
Open data is gaining popularity recently among worldwide public sectors and citizens. In the past, data were often collected only for specific uses: tax data for taxing, traffic data for traffic control, and climate data for climate forecasting, which mostly cannot reuse by other institutions and often leads to unnecessary redundancy. But it is now changed by the idea of open data. The core concept of open data is that data owners, such as government or academia, should share their data with the public. Therefore, citizens, as data consumers, can solve various problems by integrating and analyzing different data together and the whole society can hence reach a better future from collective intelligence. Some governments or organizations that stores most affluent data in the world have initiated their open data projects in the last five years, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, the United Nations, the European Union and the World Bank.
The government in Taiwan had also faced the similar situation that mentioned previously, which different departments had their geospatial data storage and sharing platforms respectively. And because an integrated geospatial open data system had never existed, many precious resources and budgets are often reinvested.
To against this situation, a cross-department platform should be built for improving GIS data sharing and publishing. The geospatial data of Taiwan had mainly been stored at the Environment Protection Agency, the Center for Disease Control, the Ministry of the Interior, the Forestry Bureau and local governments.
In order to create an integrated geospatial open data platform, Information Center at Ministry of the Interior, Taiwan has authorized Supergeo Technologies Inc. to establish a GIS Cloud Service, Taiwan Geospatial One-Stop (TGOS) Portal. The core system of TGOS is composed with SuperGIS Server 3.2 and SuperGIS 3D Earth Server 3.2, which are distinguished GIS server software developed by Supergeo product team. With TGOS, the efficiency of geospatial data sharing from all sectors has been remarkably increased than before. And TGOS platform also support diverse MAP APIs, which users can import various web map services easily on their websites. In 2015, Supergeo has successfully developed exceptional 2D and 3D MAP APIs for TGOS, which support advanced visualizations, offer combined queries and provide 3D simulations.
▲ Fig.1 A demostration of advanced 2D visualization of TGOS
The influence of TGOS integration project is enormous and countless. People now can utilize massive geospatial data released from the government sectors and create customized web maps on their websites. There have been more than 140 units developed their website with TGOS Map APIs and over 8,000 different kinds of geospatial data and services were published through TGOS. Moreover, there are at least 50 apps on smart devices using TGOS MAP API (Mobile). In this case study, we will take two notable success applications as examples to show the power of TGOS:
1.Instant Problem Responding Systems of Taichung City Government:
The first example is an instant problem responding system that established by Taichung City Government. The problem responding system was designed by the city government to provide a direct problem-solving platform for its two million citizens. By incorporating TGOS MAP APIs with the original platform, it becomes more convenient and effective. The spatial attributes provide the support team environment background to understand the possible reason and solve problems more efficiently.
▲ Fig.2 The instant responding system of Taichung City
2. JDA eco-tour portal:
A famous case from the private sector is JDA eco-tour portal. This online platform is established for who are obsessed with ecotourism, which users can either register as a tour guide or attend tours created by the others. TGOS MAP API provides the base map, various geospatial data, WMS service, and query tools for JDA portal. By clicking the map, users can find unique species and points of interest near a specific place, which offers nature lovers a great tool for planning their trips.
▲ Fig.3 JDA Eco-tour Portal
By using the newly developed TGOS MAP APIs from Supergeo, users can now build highly flexible map platforms and make better decisions with new features like heat maps, 3D bird’s-eye view, and polygons with the z-axis. These new features are especially practical for publishing and visualizing GIS data. By using these innovative MAP APIs, the decision makers can develop further plans, and the authority can collect comprehensive information from the realistic simulation with only several simple steps. More importantly, TGOS is a public project of Taiwan’s central government, so all kinds of services are free of charge. People can easily download data or utilize various MAP APIs without extra payment. In short, the benefits from TGOS platform are tremendous for people in Taiwan.