An Environmental Sensor Data Suite Using the OGC SensorThings API

  • Hylke van der SchaafEmail author
  • Jürgen Moßgraber
  • Sylvain Grellet
  • Mickaël Beaufils
  • Kathi Schleidt
  • Thomas Usländer
Conference paper
Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT, volume 554)


In many application domains sensor data contributes an important part to the situation awareness required for decision making. Examples range from environmental and climate change situations to industrial production processes. All these fields need to aggregate and fuse many data sources, the semantics of the data needs to be understood and the results must be presented to the decision makers in an accessible way. This process is already defined as the “sensor to decision chain” [11] but which solutions and technologies can be proposed for implementing it?

Since the Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly growing with an estimated number of 30 billion sensors in 2020, it offers excellent potential to collect time-series data for improving situational awareness. The IoT brings several challenges: caused by a splintered sensor manufacturer landscape, data comes in various structures, incompatible protocols and unclear semantics. To tackle these challenges a well-defined interface, from where uniform data can be queried, is necessary. The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) has recognized this demand and developed the SensorThings API (STA) standard, an open, unified way to interconnect devices throughout the IoT. Since its introduction in 2016, it has shown to be a versatile and easy to use standard for exchanging and managing sensor data.

This paper proposes the STA as the central part for implementing the sensor to decision chain. Furthermore, it describes several projects that successfully implemented the architecture and identifies open issues with the SensorThings API that, if solved, would further improve the usability of the API.


Open geospatial standards Sensor data management Architecture 



The HERACLES project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 700395.

The beAWARE project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 700475.

Funding for BRGM work is provided by its joint IT Research Center ‘INSIDE’ dedicated to innovation in Environmental Information Systems with the French National Agency for Biodiversity (AFB), French Museum of Natural History (MNHN) and French Marine Agency (IFREMER).


  1. 1.
  2. 2.
  3. 3.
    Allen, J.F.: Maintaining knowledge about temporal intervals. Commun. ACM 26(11), 832–843 (1983). Scholar
  4. 4.
    Fielding, R.T.: Architectural styles and the design of network-based software architectures. Ph.D. thesis, University of California, Irvine (2000)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Grellet, S.: Implementation of OGC sensorthing API for environmental data (2018).
  6. 6.
    Hellmund, T., et al.: Introducing the heracles ontology-semantics for cultural heritage management. Heritage 1(2), 377–391 (2018). Scholar
  7. 7.
    ISO/DIS: 19156:2011 geographic information - observations and measurements (2011).
  8. 8.
    Kotsev, A., et al.: Extending inspire to the Internet of Things through sensorthings API. Geosciences 8(6), 221 (2018). Scholar
  9. 9.
    Liang, S., Huang, C.Y., Khalafbeigi, T.: OGC SensorThings API part 1: sensing, version 1.0, 15–078r6 (2016).
  10. 10.
    Liang, S., Khalafbeigi, T.: OGC SensorThings API part 2: Tasking core, version 1.0, 17–079r1 (2016).
  11. 11.
    Moßgraber, J., et al.: The sensor to decision chain in crisis management. In: Boersman, K., Tomaszewski, B. (eds.) Conference Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management, pp. 754–763, May 2018Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Moßgraber, J., Lortal, G., Calabro, F., Corsi, M.: An ICT platform to support decision makers with cultural heritage protection against climate events. In: Geophysical Research Abstracts, vol. 20, April 2018.
  13. 13.
    OPC Foundation: Unified architecture (2008).
  14. 14.
    Open Geospatial Consortium: Observations and measurements (2011).
  15. 15.
    Open Geospatial Consortium: OGC SensorThings API (2016).
  16. 16.
    Richardson, L., Ruby, S.: RESTful Web Services. O’Reilly Media, Newton (2008)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    van der Schaaf, H., Jacoby, M.: FROST-Server (2016).
  18. 18.
    Schleidt, K.: SensorThings work at DataCove (2018).
  19. 19.
    The Commission of the European Communities: Commission regulation (EC) no 976/2009 of 19 October 2009 implementing directive 2007/2/ec of the European parliament and of the council as regards the network services (2009).
  20. 20.
    Usländer, T.: Service-oriented design of environmental information systems. Ph.D. thesis, Universität Karlsruhe (2010).

Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hylke van der Schaaf
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jürgen Moßgraber
    • 1
  • Sylvain Grellet
    • 2
  • Mickaël Beaufils
    • 2
  • Kathi Schleidt
    • 3
  • Thomas Usländer
    • 1
  1. 1.Fraunhofer IOSBKarlsruheGermany
  2. 2.BRGMOrléans Cedex 2France
  3. 3.DataCove e.U.ViennaAustria

Personalised recommendations