OGC Engineering Report

OGC Federated Marine Spatial Data Infrastructure Pilot 2023 - Connecting Land and Sea for Global Awareness
Glenn Laughlin Editor
OGC Engineering Report


Document number:23-027
Document type:OGC Engineering Report
Document subtype:
Document stage:Published
Document language:English

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I.  Executive Summary

Rising sea levels together with increasing storm surges are amongst the most challenging issues for coastal communities in the context of global warming. The retreating ice sheets of the Circumpolar Arctic are a key contributor to sea level rise with consequences felt around the world.

The Federated Marine Spatial Data Infrastructure (FMSDI) initiative is a key component of OGC and the Marine Domain Working Group. The program is designed to engage with stakeholders from the marine dataspace to identify opportunities to assist, improve, and scale out core business processes complemented by the OGC suite of standards and best practices. The FMSDI-2023 pilot represents the fourth phase of the program with a focus on the interface between land and sea. A primary goal of this pilot is to advance the FMSDI concept to increasing threats posed by climate change.

The project is divided into three threads, each with application to distinct geographies.

With approximately 30% of Singapore’s land mass being less than 5m above sea level, the seamless integration of land and marine data is integral to Singapore’s focus on coastal protection and climate resilience. The management of land and water is separated organizationally between the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) and the Maritime & Port Authority (MPA), respectively. Each agency is responsible for data assets specific to their jurisdiction presenting a challenge for cross-organizational concerns. This theme addresses the geospatial integration requirements through the development of a multi-dimensional Digital Twin of the Singapore coastline.

This thread investigates how data developed primarily for navigation at sea can be used to better understand the opportunities in the Caribbean to support local capacity building and the application of marine data in expanded sea-land contexts.


The FMSDI 2023 pilot is managed through the OGC Collaborative Solutions and Innovation (COSI) Program. Each thread is a distinct project with a set of participants tackling specific use cases and scenarios important to the respective project sponsor.

Weekly project meetings are scheduled to encourage collaboration between the participants and sponsors and provide checkpoints to ensure the project scope meets the sponsor’s expectations.

The FMSDI 2023 pilot also features a series of persistent demonstrators as one of its outputs. These demonstrators are workflows and applications that stakeholders can access for outreach, testing, and experimentation purposes. The demonstrators will be available even after the project is completed and are therefore referenced as persistent, but will only be available until December 2024. These demonstrators showcase how geospatial data can be used in an operational context or highlight the gaps in the resources available online, including data sources, metadata, access processes, and standards. As each participant has a unique solution platform, each has taken different approaches, all of which are available for review by stakeholders. Security concerns, such as authentication and authorization, are unique to each participant and have been communicated to stakeholders and participant contacts. For further details and access to the demonstrators, please refer to the link provided.

Common across the three threads is the application of the OGC FAIR principles — Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable. Underpinning the use of the FAIR principles is the role of the core OGC Standards and Best Practices. Previous work products related to FMSDI form the core information model while the OGC standards, enhanced through the alignment and support of industry standards such as the IHO S-100 standard, address many of the requirements central to each thread.

Attention is drawn to the possibility that some of the elements of this document may be the subject of patent rights. The Open Geospatial Consortium shall not be held responsible for identifying any or all such patent rights.

Recipients of this document are requested to submit, with their comments, notification of any relevant patent claims or other intellectual property rights of which the recipients may be aware that might be infringed by any implementation of the standard set forth in this document, and to provide supporting documentation.

II.  Keywords

The following are keywords to be used by search engines and document catalogues.

marine, msdi, marineDWG, climate, coastal resilience

III.  Contributors

Sina TaghavikishOGCstaghavikish@ogc.orgProject Manager
Rob ThomasNewFoundViewrobert@newfoundview.comConsultant
Glenn LaughlinPelagis Data Solutionsglennlaughlin@pelagis.ioD001 Engineering Report
D100: Digital Twin of Land and Sea Interfaces — Singapore
Peng YueWuhan
Pascal BroglieGeomatyspascal.broglie@geomatys.comD112
Jérôme St-LouisEcerejerome@ecere.comD113
Jason MacDonaldCompusultjasonm@compusult.netD114
D101/D102: Digital Arctic Connecting Land and Sea — Canada
Jason MacDonaldCompusultjasonm@compusult.netD131
Gordon PlunkettEsri Canadagplunkett@esri.caD132
Paul ChurchyardHSR.Healthpaul@healthsolutionsresearch.orgD133
Glenn LaughlinPelagis Data Solutionsglennlaughlin@pelagis.ioD134
D103: Integrating Land & Sea for Various Use Cases — Caribbean
Stelios ContarinisHartisstelios.contarinis@hartis.orgD121
Andrew BellOceanWiseandrew.bell@oceanwise.euD122
Paul ChurchyardHSR.Healthpaul@healthsolutionsresearch.orgD123
Jason MacDonaldCompusult Limitedjasonm@compusult.netD124
Ropo OgundipeGG-ISropo.ogundipe@gg-is.comD125

IV.  Acknowledgements

OGC appreciates the continued support from the following member organizations as sponsors of this project.


Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA)


Singapore Land Authority (SLA)


Natural Resources Canada (NRCan)

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)


UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO)

V.  Terms and definitions


a reflection coefficient that describes the reflecting power of a surface

Data Cube

a multi-dimensional (“n-D”) array of values. Typically used in contexts where these arrays are massively larger than the hosting computer’s main memory

FAIR Climate Service

Climate resilience information system where the entire architecture is following FAIR principles

FAIR principles1

The approach of making digital assets Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable.

Abbreviated terms


Arctic Spatial Data Infrastructure


Analysis Ready Dataset


Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer


Application Programming Interface


Analysis Ready Dataset


Analysis Ready Data Cube


Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System


Copernicus Climate Change Service


Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna


Copernicus Arctic Regional Reanalysis


Climate Change Initiative


Climate Data Record


Climate Data Store


Committee on Earth Observation Satellites


Climate and Forecast


Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network


Coupled Model Intercomparison Project


Cloud Optimized GeoTIFF


Climate Resilience Information System


Comma-Separated Values


Catalog Services for the Web


CEOS WGISS Integrated Catalog


Digital Elevation Model


Discrete Global Grid System


Digital Terrain Model


Domain Working Group


European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts


Essential Climate Variable


Environmental Data Retrieval


Earth Observation


European Petroleum Survey Group


Engineering Report


fifth generation ECMWF atmospheric reanalysis of the global climate


European Space Agency


European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites


Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable


Database of Global Administrative Areas


Geospatial Data Abstraction Library


Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network


Geospatial Data Cube


Geography Markup Language


General Regularly-distributed Information in Binary form


Hierarchical Data Format


Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite


Integrated Geospatial Information Framework — Hydro


International Hydrographic Organization


Internet of Things


Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change


International Union for Conservation of Nature


International Organization for Standardization


JavaScript Object Notation


Machine Learning / Artificial Intelligence


Maritime & Port Authority


Marine Spatial Data Infrastructure


National Aeronautics and Space Administration


National Center for Atmospheric Research


Network Common Data Form


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


Natural Resources Canada


National Snow & Ice Data Center


Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development


Open Geospatial Consortium


OGC Observations, Measurements & Samples version 3.0


Open-source Project for a Network Data Access Protocol




Pan American Health Organization


Protected Areas of the Marine Environment


Quantum Geographic Information System


Regional Climate Indicator


Regional Climate Model


Representative Concentration Pathway


Representational State Transfer


Simple Storage Service


Sustainable Development Goal


Singapore Land Authority


SpatioTemporal Asset Catalogs


Technical Interoperability Experiments


United Kingdom Hydrographic Office


United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change


United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management


United States Geological Survey


Web Coverage Service


Web Coverage Processing Service


Web Feature Service

WG Climate

Joint Working Group on Climate


Working Group on Information Systems and Services


World Health Organization


Web Map Service


Web Map Tile Service


Web Processing Service


Extensible Markup Language

1.  Introduction

The FMSDI 2023 pilot focuses on the coastal domain representing arguably the most important realm on which billions of people depend each day. Yet, as a result of climate change, marine pollution, and population growth, coastlines around the world are being transformed through habitat loss, sea level rise, and a significant increase in micro-plastics entering local food chains.

A major challenge for all stakeholders with an interest in coastal environments is quantifying the rate of change to the environment affecting dependent ecosystem services. In the Arctic, important factors include identifying the rapidly changing characteristics of sea ice, anticipating the consequences of rising temperatures, changing habitats and biodiversity loss, and predicting the rate of thaw of permafrost with its diminishing role sequestering global greenhouse gases.

For the Caribbean, recent major weather events highlight the susceptibility of this region to warming oceans. Island economies are especially dependent on the ecosystem services provided by its coastal zones while coastal erosion poses a significant threat to local populations. Coastal and marine policies designed to mitigate the effects of climate change are impacted by a lack of extensive data connecting the coastal environment with the needs of stakeholders.

Singapore connects the major shipping routes of Southeast Asia and hosts one of the world’s busiest seaports. Singapore is also one of the lowest-lying island countries with most of the island extending no more than 15m above sea level. As a result, Singapore is particularly susceptible to sea level rise, storm surge, and major coastal weather events. With a highly developed coastline, identifying the risk levels associated with coastal inundation is of the highest priority.

1.1.  The role of the pilot

The FMSDI 2023 pilot is expressly designed to evaluate the key features and benefits of a standards-based approach to data discovery and application in support of stakeholders vested in the changing coastal environments of the Canadian Arctic, the Caribbean islands, and the Republic of Singapore. Of keen interest is the integration of distinct data products in a manner representing the coastal environment as a seamless transition from the ocean floor to the land surface. This transitional realm has its own unique organization and function as host to critical habitat and/or essential ecosystem services serving the needs of coastal communities.

One of the compelling challenges of this work is to overcome the disparity between marine and terrestrial data systems and define a digital twin representation of the coastal environment improving the ‘time to decision’ for stakeholders.

The FMSDI 2023 project required each participant to create persistent demonstrators. These demonstrators are essentially workflows and applications that can be accessed by stakeholders for outreach, testing, and experimentation purposes and made available until December 2024. Each persistent demonstrator resulting from this pilot has unique characteristics. Some demonstrate how geospatial data and information can be used in an operational context, while others showcase what is currently possible and what gaps exist with the resources that can be discovered on the internet. The demonstrators include various data sources, metadata, access processes to online data, and various standards used for data discovery, access, and processing interfaces. Due to the different solution platforms of each participant, various approaches were made available for review by stakeholders. Issues such as security (authentication and authorization) are unique to each participant and details are provided through outreach to stakeholders and participant contacts.

2.  Thread 1: Digital Twin of Land & Sea — Singapore

Singapore is an island-country with an industrialized coastline of roughly 131km with no point more than 15km from the coast. As a result, Singapore is extremely vulnerable to severe coastal events and, as such, maintains an extensive system of land-use and observation networks.

The Singapore Land Authority (SLA) is responsible for the effective use of land resources in support of the economic and social development of Singapore. As the gatekeeper of Singapore’s land use, SLA focuses on the following three core principles.

Underpinning the core principles, the Survey & Geomatics Division is charged to uphold the national geospatial infrastructure for Singapore. The survey division maintains the national coordinate reference system and underlying control points while providing the GNSS Continuously Operating Reference System (CORS) infrastructure for positioning services.

Singapore’s Maritime & Port Authority (MPA) acts as the central agency responsible for assuring the operational efficiencies of Singapore as a premier global port of call. Additionally, the Singapore MPA safeguards Singapore’s strategic maritime interests with representation within the International Hydrographic Office (IHO) and the International Maritime Office (IMO). To facilitate these operational and strategic interests, MPA maintains Singapore’s national MSDI platform — GeoSpace-sea — a single integrated platform providing seamless access to authoritative marine and coastal spatial data products. The platform serves the needs of a diverse set of stakeholders ranging from the sea port operations, shipping and navigation, marine biodiversity, submarine infrastructure, and waterfront use, including recreation and tourism.

Aside from the operational requirements for SLA and MPA, integration of the terrestrial, maritime, and cadastral data products is a priority for Singapore in its role within the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM). The development of a digital twin modeling Singapore’s coastal area is integral to Singapore’s commitment to meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Singapore is in a unique situation balancing the needs of continued economic development with the social and environmental constraints addressing food security, biodiversity protection, and a transition to clean energy. By integrating the national mapping, hydrographic surveys, and cadastral rights database with advanced systems and technologies, Singapore is well on its way to meet its strategic plan “Limited Land — Unlimited Space”.

Key to this strategy is its investment in developing the vertical space below and above its land surface. Changes to the State Lands Act and Land Acquisition Act allow for the development of industrial spaces 30m below ground level (“Clarification of extent of underground ownership”). This change requires SLA to move from a 2D Cadastre model of its land registry to a 3D Cadastre model using the Singapore Height Datum (SHD) as its base vertical reference.

Integration between Land & Sea — Vertical Datum Relationships

The Singapore Height Datum is derived from the localized Mean Sea Level calibrated against a tide gauge previously located at Singapore’s Victoria Dock [1935-1937].