CRYPTO-SPATIAL: AN OPEN STANDARDS SMART CONTRACTS LIBRARY FOR BUILDING GEOSPATIALLY ENABLED DECENTRALIZED APPLICATIONS ON THE ETHEREUM BLOCKCHAIN
Blockchain is an emerging immature technology that disrupt many well established industries nowadays, like finance, supply chain, transportation, energy, official registries (identity, vehicles, …). In this contribution we present a smart contracts library, named Crypto-Spatial, written for the Ethereum Blockchain and designed to serve as a framework for geospatially enabled decentralized applications (dApps) development. The main goal of this work is to investigate the suitability of Blockchain technology for the storage, retrieval and processing of vector geospatial data. The design and the proof-of-concept implementation presented are both based on the Open Geospatial Consortium standards: Simple Feature Access, Discrete Global Grid Systems (DGGS) and Well Known Binary (WKB). Also, the FOAM protocol concept of Crypto-Spatial Coordinate (CSC) was used to uniquely identify spatial features on the Blockchain immutable ledger. The design of the Crypto-Spatial framework was implemented as a set of smart contracts using the Solidity object oriented programming language. The implemented library was assessed toward Etheruem’s best practices design patterns and known security issues (common attacks). Also, a generic architecture for geospatially enabled decentralized applications, combining blockchain and IPFS technologies, was proposed. Finally, a proof-of-concept was developed using the proposed approach which main purpose is to port the UN/FAO-SOLA to Blockchain techspace allowing more transparency and simplifying access to users communities. The smart contracts of this prototype are live on the Rinkeby testnet and the frontend is hosted on Github pages. The source code of the work presented here is available on Github under Apache 2.0 license.