Spatial Data Standards for Facilities, Infrastructure and Environment (SDSFIE): Five Fundamental Tools

The Spatial Data Standards for Facilities, Infrastructure and Environment (SDSFIE) is the single Department of Defense spatial data standard that supports common implementation and interoperability for installations, environment, and civil works missions.

SDSFIE is being managed by the Defense Installations Spatial Data Infrastructure (DISDI) Group. The DISDI Group is a formal governance group reporting to the Department of Defense’s Installations & Environment Investment Review Board.

It is chaired by the DISDI Program Manager and made up of leaders from each of the Services’ programs for Installation Geospatial Information and Services (IGI&S) as well as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. As part of the SDSFIE 3.0 implementation, the standard will also become an integral part of the data standards used in the National System for Geospatial-Intelligence (NSG), as required by Department policy. In the first decade of the SDSFIE development, it was generally seen as a technical activity with a project-level scope. Given the standard’s new enterprise role, the DISDI Group developed a vision and a strategy which triggered a complete re-engineering of the standard – SDSFIE 3.0 is an adaptable logical data model, tailored to defense business requirements and processes. Although tailored to Department of Defense needs, our federal, state, and local stakeholders are welcome to use the standard and help it mature in future releases.

Seven principals guide the development of SDSFIE:

  • Focus on geospatial representation of features and maintain a minimum number of attributes. It will link to our business databases for attribute data and not duplicate attributes found in business databases.
  • Provide a data model that is scalable from installation mapping up to service level and DoD; from local to global.
  • If a relevant data content standard already exists, SDSFIE must incorporate it into the model rather than develop new content.
  • Follow a nationally recognized development process
  • Reside in the public domain and is vendor neutral
  • Responsive and built to support the business needs of data creators and end users
  • Governed and managed by the Services.

SDSFIE is an evolving standard and toolset. As requirements were laid out for Version 3.0 of SDSFIE, and early requirement was that the primary mechanism for the new tools be via the Web. This was due to increased network security and reduced permissions on local “desktop” machines. This requirement, more than any other single factor, significantly increases the complexity of what needs to be done via a new toolset.

At the same time, the new toolset was required to have improved “flexibility” for user datasets and that all possible user assistance be provided for migrations from “one release to the next”. In prior releases of the SDSFIE, this complaint was heard more than any other single comment.

Many users were continually frustrated by just becoming compliant only to find that the “standard had moved out from under them”.

So this is the backdrop for the design and development of the new toolset. The earlier toolsets already included a prototype Web Browser as well as a “Compliance Checker” for determining the level of compliance of a user dataset with a prior release of the SDSFIE. These two operations, as well as an examination of the prior release desktop “Toolbox” led to development of 5 Web Tools. These are:

Browser – The Browser is intended to help users find Feature Types, Geometry, Feature Definition, Attribute Names, Data Types, and Definitions, and Enumerations. A Fundamental

Print/Save capability is available.

Adaptor – The Adaptor is intended to develop, configure, and submit customized user modifications to the Gold standard. This is the most complex of the tools.

Generator – Earlier releases of the SDSFIE Toolbox provided a number of different generators. The new tool does this via user selection. Generations are available to ESRI, Oracle Spatial, Bentley, AutoDesk, PostGres, and GML. All generations are performed via scripting capability that is built into the Vendor GIS.

Validator – The Validator is more simple than earlier SDSFIE Checker capability. Submissions are available for ESRI Workspace XML, a number of Oracle exports/dumps, GML and a number of other vendor exports.

Migrator – The Migrator is a relatively simple tool to use but what goes on behind the scenes is very complicated. The Migrator tool is based on a “from/to” scenario where the “from” is a successful validation and the “to” is the Service/User Adaptation or Discipline. The tool provided both a “Trial” migration where reports are generated for what would happen to the users’ data if the migration were performed and the migration script where the migration actually occurs.

One additional tool is provided. The Release Notes Tool displays information on whether prior release features (Entity Types) were carried forward, merged, or deleted. If the feature was deleted, the rationale for the deletion is provided.

Posting by Barry Schimpf, Vice President of Zekiah Technologies