WHAT ARE GEOSPATIAL WEB SERVICES?
The ABS Geospatial Web Services are a set of services that facilitate the use of the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) by computer applications. They are specifically designed to enable the sharing and use of the ASGS boundaries and their associated ASGS codes over the internet. The services provide access to the present 2011 edition of ASGS digital boundaries and will be maintained as further ASGS boundaries are published.
A web service is a method of communicating between two electronic devices over a computing network. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) defines a web service as "a software system designed to support interoperable machine-to-machine interaction over a network".
A geospatial web service provides a series of methods to support machine-to-machine interactions of geospatial data and functions. For example, a request by a computing application for geospatial data (e.g. a Statistical Area Level 1 (SA1) boundary or set of SA1 boundaries) can be made to a geospatial web service and the service would return the geospatial data specified in the request, which can then be displayed by the application in the form of a map.
The ABS Geospatial Web Services provide access to the ASGS boundaries. The objectives of publishing the ASGS boundaries as web services are:
- To provide easy access to the official ASGS boundaries in a machine readable format which facilitates their use within web applications.
- To provide an unambiguous single point of truth for the ASGS boundaries.