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ETSI releases data standard to support APIs


Mark Say Managing Editor

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European standards organisation ETSI has published a new data standard to support the use of APIs in smart city applications and government services.

Its industry specification group for cross-cutting context information management has produced GS CIM 009 following a two-year programme that included industry feedback on a preliminary release in April of last year.

The standard has an alternative title of NGSI-LD to refer to early work by the Open Mobile Alliance in defining the high level interfaces.

ETSI said the new specification builds on widespread data models of graph-databases known as ‘property graphs’, that make it possible to reference and describe a range of entities such as people, city boundaries, buildings and equipment, together with the relationships between them.

It defines a simple way to send or request data using a serialisation format, JSON-LD, that is familiar to many developers. Its crucial feature is that that the data and its context, such as the relationship with other data, its source and licensing, are transmitted together.

For example, this would make it possible to share information such as which vehicle belongs to which hospital and where they could park on the relevant premises. The new specification makes it possible to share this while staying within regulations on security, licensing and the General Data Protection Regulation.


The work was prompted by a belief that a significant amount of data collected is never used because it can be difficult to interpret data models and API standards.

Dr Lindsay Frost, chair of the specification group in ETSI, said: “Smart cities will be the first ones to benefit from all this work, as the NGSI-LD API is used to ‘glue together’ existing databases across the many city services for citizens.

“The NGSI-LD has already been referenced by many EU research and innovation programmes, such as EIP-SCC-01 Lighthouse and the SynchronicityCity project. New use cases in smart agriculture and smart industry are under development.”

Image from iStock, Artqu

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