Introduction to Sensor Web Enablement


This training module has been developed within the context of the smeSpire project in 2014 (
Author: Simon Jirka (52°North). The material is provided under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License (

There are hundreds of millions of Internet-connected sensors on, in and around the Earth, and the number is growing rapidly. Those sensors collect real-time data from measurements on air quality through special sensors, up to movements of human beings via mobile devices. Standardization is the key requirement for communicating information about sensors and sensor data and for comparing and combining information from different sensors. The OGC’s Sensor Web Enablement (SWE) standards meet this requirement and make it easy to integrate this information into thousands of geospatial applications that implement other standards from OGC including INSPIRE network services implementations. The training session discusses the principles of OGC Sensor Web Enablement and the standards for modeling and encoding measurement data as well as sensor metadata. The session also treats web services for providing access to observation data, controlling sensors and event notification and discusses typical application scenarios for the Sensor Web technology and different approaches for the deployment of Sensor Web Systems. Some hands-on exercises will be given on how to interact with the OGC Sensor Observation Service.


This seminar contains the following modules/parts:

1. Principles of OGC Sensor Web Enablement: Motivation, core components and architecture

2. Standards for modeling and encoding measurement data (OGC Observations and Measurements) as well as sensor metadata (OGC SensorML)

3. Web Services for providing access to observation data (OGC Sensor Observation Service), controlling sensors (OGC Sensor Planning Service) and event notification (OGC Sensor Event Service)

4. Typical application scenarios for the Sensor Web technology

5. Approaches for the deployment of Sensor Web systems

6. How to interact with the OGC Sensor Observation Service (Hands-on training)

Learning outcomes

After the training offer, the participant will be able to:

  • Identify and describe the main characteristics of the OGC SWE architecture
  • Identify and describe the specifications for modelling and encoding observation data as well as sensor and sensor system meta data
  • Identify and describe application scenarios in which the OGC SWE framework helps to solve specific requirements and problems
  • Use SWE service interfaces 
Intended Audience
This seminar aims at everyone that has to deal with the provision and exchange of observation data in an interoperable manner. The hands-on part will be especially relevant for technical experts. However, generally the seminar is also suited for decision-makers and stakeholders who are interested to learn about the big picture behind the Sensor Web idea (i.e. how to handle observation/sensor data in spatial data infrastructures).
A general understanding of the concept of spatial data infrastructures is recommended. An understanding of the OGC standards in general will be helpful but not necessary.
Presentations and hands-on training (for the hands-on part the OSGeo Live DVD will be used )
Expected workload
Expected workload is 10 hours.