In a previous blog post we talked about the first demo of the Search System, an application developed within the GeoERA Information Platform Project (GIP-P) with the purpose of allowing users to locate and access the datasets that best meet their needs. Now that we have installed the system on the test server, we take the opportunity to write a new blog post about the system.
For those who are not familiar with the Search System yet, we could highlight two of the things it makes it possible to do:
- It allows you to locate datasets by text search in a totally new way. From the search text typed by the user, using a multilingual thesaurus, translations of the text, broader, narrower and related terms are added to the search. In addition, full-text searches are performed, which allows the search to work even if the search text is a variation of the text that appears in the metadata (if the system did not do this, user might miss datasets that contain “geological”, although they probably would like to find them when searching for “geology”). With all of the above, the system permits users to find datasets that do not contain in their metadata exactly the terms they typed.
- It also searches in the data and allows users to display the results. Sometimes metadata is not enough to know if a dataset is useful or not, so we need to display the data itself (the values for its attributes and the location, trace or spatial delimitation for the selected features in the dataset).
Since the previous blog post, we have been working on many aspects of the system, among which we can highlight:
- All system components (various APIs and the main web application) have been installed on the project development server. This allows a new access for users to test the system and give us their feedback. It is also a new confirmation that the system is cross-platform and runs on Windows, OS X and multiple Linux distributions.
- Two APIs have been created to search for features in multiple datasets. The first API permits getting subsets of records from different spatial datasets in PostgreSQL. The second API allows getting documents in different document repositories based on Apache Solr.
- The display of distributions (online resources available for a dataset) has been improved. Only those distributions that are considered outstanding are now shown in the list of results (all of them are accessible when displaying the details of a dataset) and they are grouped by format, which allows a more compact display. Moreover, when there are several distributions with the same format, a description for the different online resources is openned. Now it is also possible to open distributions with a predefined online viewer. For example, currently, the system allows opening WMS services in the EGDI Web GIS.
Other less relevant functionalities have been added, bugs are constantly being fixed, code quality has been improved and the system has been updated to the latest versions of Net Core and all used Nugets and libraries.
We continue working on all components of the system and improving them. In the near future we will probably be able to replace the basic viewer we currently have to display the results of searching for features in different datasets, with a more powerful one aligned with the current EGDI Web GIS.
Finally, we want to highlight that the development of the Search System has been the result of an excellent collaboration between several of the geological surveys participating in the project. IGME team (Spain) has coordinated the development and develops the core of the system. CGS (Czech Republic) has provided access to the metadata records in the GeoERA catalogue. GBA (Austria) has provided access to the multilingual thesaurus. TNO (Netherlands) has developed the two APIs to query features in different datasets. GEUS (Denmark) has provided access to the server and database infrastructure supporting the project and is now working on the visualisation of the results provided by the APIs developed by TNO. GeoZS (Slovenia) has developed the document repository in SOLR. Colleagues from other geological surveys have contributed by giving feedback and helping with the translation of the system into multiple languages.
The test version of the Search System is available at https://egditest01.geus.dk/searchsystem/en/GeoERA.
To get more info or provide feedback on the system please contact: Ángel Prieto, GIP-P Search System Development Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org)