Meteo: Virtual Global Information System Centre

The objective of SIMDAT for the meteorology sector is to develop a virtual and consistent view of all meteorological data distributed in the real-time and archived databases of the partners and to provide a secure, reliable and efficient mechanism to collect, exchange and share these distributed data, in order to support research and operational activities of the meteorological community.


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Summary

The Meteo Partners have been working during the SIMDAT project towards the establishment of a Virtual Global Information System VGISC. The experience and software produced during the lifetime of the project have been of significant value to provide virtualisation of value-added services not only to the Meteorological data centers but also to data centres covering environmental and hydrological sciences.
The Virtual Global Information Centre is a decentralised distributed platform for data collection and sharing. It provides cataloguing, synchronisation and data access services in a secured and controlled environment. A distributed front end portal sits on top of the VGISC components providing discovery, secured data access and delivery of the datasets published in the infrastructure. Technologies such as OGSA-DAI, routing algorithms from the mobile world and Web Services based protocols are some of the basis of VGISC prototype.


Collaborating and interested countries on SIMDAT Meteo software

Why this prototype?

To deliver a scalable distributed infrastructure where meteorological data and services reside.
To enhance the visibility  and discovery of the meteorological data through interfaces that hide the complexity of the underlying systems.
To leverage the standards from the Grid world in the aeras of Distributed Data Access, Virtual Organisations and Ontology based discovery.


Results achieved

The prototype has been successfully deployed not only at the original SIMDAT partners but also in a good number of other data centres distributed worldwide with an increasing interest from Meteorological centres and research communities. The WMO Information Systems (WIS) initiative is considering SIMDAT Meteo as best practice software implementation and taking into account much of the analysis and requirements from SIMDAT Meteo for the formalisation of the WIS technical specifications.


Security Framework implemeted in the VGISC prototype

Lessons learned in the project

The last phase of the project has focused on Security and Ontology services.

Distributed security poses a very big challenge in terms of manageability, and technologies such as DAC based on web services security standards, WS-Trust and SAML have been integrated for of some of the security services. Management tools in order to establish Trust or set up the Virtual Organisation would be very beneficial.

Ontologies have enriched the user experience for discovery mechanism, although publishing metadata scientists will need facilities to link their existing metadata descriptions with the ontologies and Thesaurus terms to fully make use of these technologies.