Potential Future Development of a WMTS OAS 3.0 API

The OGC Open Geospatial APIs - White Paper (“White Paper”) made the case for the consistent use of protocols across multiple OGC application programming interfaces (APIs) to enhance interoperability. For example, using a consistent TileMatrixSet across several WMTS endpoints could enable creation of a consistent, composite map. A single WMTS API adopted uniformly across these endpoints could help foster this consistency (and, at the same time, perhaps reduce the proliferation of non-interoperable WMTS APIs).

The white paper also suggested (under “3.3 API Specification and Management”) that API documentation can be aided by adopting the approach used by the Open API Initiative (OAI). The OAI is a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project whose members are responsible for development of version 3.0 of the OAI Specification (OAS 3.0).

OAS defines a standard, language-agnostic interface to RESTful APIs. One of its goals is to allow both humans and computers to discover and understand endpoint capabilities without having to access source code or to inspect network traffic. OAS specs are written using the human-friendly (and JSON-friendly) YAML serialization language.

The prior two versions of OAS were proprietary offerings under the Swagger moniker. For OAS 3.0, a suite of open-source tools enables simple creation and validation of conformance. The Swagger UI and Swagger Editor tools were used to create a Draft WMTS API for Discussion Purposes Only and its Key-Value-Pair API alternative. These tools are available free-of-charge by downloading the indicated GitHub repositories and opening (in any modern browser) the “index.html” file in the “/swagger-editor” folder. The API YAML content can then be copied and pasted into the editor, and the resulting behavior will be shown in the UI tool.

The user-interface on the right side of the Swagger Editor visualizes and enables crude interaction with a mock implementation of the API. In this particular case, it displays the HTTP GET operations for three paths, one for each resource (ServiceMetadata, Tile, or FeatureInfo). Selecting any of the blue “GET” buttons shows the possible normal-flow (e.g., the desired resource) and error responses (e.g., 404 File Not Found) for that particular resource.

The Draft WMTS API supports the general White Paper recommendation (under “Preface”) that OGC “consider activities that provide for consistent implementations of OWS protocols”. It is also consistent with the comment later in the White Paper (under “3.2 API design based on geospatial requirements”) that ongoing OGC discussions might lead to addition of more RESTful protocols based on a Resource-Oriented Architecture (as described in the Testbed 11 REST Interface Engineering Report and expanded upon in the Testbed 12 REST User Guide).

The detailed content of the Draft WMTS API was based partly on the resource-oriented style described in Clause “10 WMTS using RESTful” of the 07-057r7 OpenGIS Web Map Tile Service Implementation Standard (“WMTS Specification”). Several of the WMTS Spec requirements were relaxed to allow, for example, for a JSON ServiceMetadata document. The purpose of this non-conformance was to illustrate how a future version of the WMTS Spec might accommodate non-XML response media types.

Draft WMTS API for Discussion Purposes Only

The Draft WMTS API can be found at the following URL http://cite.opengeospatial.org/pub/cite/files/edu/wmts/text/target-api/index.html

The KVP version of the draft WMTS API can be found at the following URL http://cite.opengeospatial.org/pub/cite/files/edu/wmts/text/target-api-kvp/index.html