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4. Actors, Authentification, Access, Rights and User Accounts

In the geoportal exist several user levels. Every user has a user account associated to a set of profiles. In the profiles the individual rights concerning the mapper, the catalogue the webservices and the overall geoportal functions are saved.

The following chapter explains the principles that rule the geoportal and that make sure that the access restrictions can be adapted very finely to the user’s needs.

4.1 Actors in the geoportal

The actors in the geoportal can be split into 4 groups:

The "General Public"

When opening the geoportal's home page, the user automatically acts as a “general public” user, as long as he has not logged in the system by providing his user account name and his password. The “general public” is the anonymous standard user, who is granted with the minimal user rights in the system and who can do the basic operations in the geoportal. He can learn about the existing and available products by viewing the metadata catalogue's contents, and view the geodata in the mapping tool. He is also allowed to ask questions to the geoportal's support team and to read the FAQ. He CANNOT order products.

The "Client"

Unlike the “General Public”, the “client” has an individual user account associated to a password, which allows him to authenticate himself in the system. He has access to the “order” menu and can send orders or estimate requests concerning the available products in the catalog. In the order menus, he can check the state of his different orders and eventually download ordered files. For more information, please read the corresponding chapters in the geowiki.

The "Special client"

The “Special Client” is also authenticated via his user account and his password. He has all the rights of the “client” but additionally, he can access to some specialized functions that require previous regulations. Depending on the granted rights, he can

  • Create and manage his own sub-accounts (f.ex. in the case of large firms) and allocate them part or all of his own rights in the system.
  • View other supplementary data in the geodata mapper, which are not available for the general public.
  • Be granted less strict restrictions concerning the visibility of geodata in the geodata mapper, like the possibility to combine different geodata that are blocked for the general public, view attributes or use some geodata at scale levels that are not allowed to the general public.
  • See and order specialized products that are not available to the general public.
  • Use the WMS (Web Map Server) and WFS (Web Feature Server) webservices, that are compliant to the OGC (Open Geospatial Consortium) specifications and offered by that the geoportal's providers.

The "Provider"

The “provider” is the highest-ranking actor in the geoportal, thus the one with the maximum level of rights and functions. He generally has all the rights of a “special client” but has some additional rights / functions to

  • Publish his own geodata layers in the geodata mapper. This happens by the means of OGC compliant webservices, which are integrated in the mapping tool after validation by the geoportal's administrators.
  • Offer his own geoproducts.
  • Retrieve and handle the incoming orders and estimate requests of the clients in the portal (manually or automatically).

4.2 Root Accounts & Subordinate Accounts

Subordinate accounts are used to delegate the management of the individual user accounts of customer organizations to one single main (« root ») account, without any interaction by the geoportal’s management. This means great flexibility for the customers as well as an easier task for the geoportal management team.

The owner of a root account can open new individual user accounts. Every single subordinate account can get all or a part of the special rights of the root account. Of course the root account cannot delegate more rights than it possesses itself.

The set of an organization’s subordinate accounts directly depends on the access rights of the root account, and the delegation of access rights can be done by switching on or off one or several items of the following:

  • Availability of special layers and access rights in the geodata mapper,
  • Availability of special products in the product catalog,
  • Functions to create and manage orders in the name of the organization,
  • Direct access to secured OGC webservices,
  • Functions to manage the organization’s products, orders and metadata.

4.3 Connect to the geoportal

On the upper left of the geoportal’s screen appears the login block.

If the user is not yet connected:
  • He can log in by typing his username and password

When connected, the user can:
  • Log off with the link «disconnect »
  • Manage the account settings with the link “my account”
  • Create and manage subordinate accounts with the link “subordinate accounts” (only in case this function is active)

4.4 Manage the “Subordinate Accounts”

Root accounts with active subordinate account function can create and manage subordinate accounts. This function is only available for the root account itself and not for the subordinate accounts.


The management of the subordinate accounts has 3 main aspects:

  • Hierarchical organization of the accounts
  • Creation of a new account
  • Management of the account settings:
    • for the personal data
    • the authentication
    • the available functions

4.4.1 Hierarchical organization of the accounts

The subordinate accounts are organized in a tree-hierarchy, where the main branch directly depends from the root account. There can be as many sub-branches as needed by the root account.


Between the root account and the subordinate account the special rights detained by the root account can be passed on totally or partially. But among the subordinate accounts the tree hierarchy is a purely organizational one. There is no transfer of rights from one level of the subordinate accounts to another.

The user of the root account can :

  • Select a particular account by clicking on the associated icon
  • Create a new account

4.4.2 Manage the settings - « Contact » tag

This tag is the first to be opened when a new account is created. The empty fields have to be filled. When an existing account is opened, the contents of the settings is displayed.

Unlike the root account, the subordinate accounts do no have a section for the billing address, as they always act on behalf of the root account’s organization. The billing address of the root account is automatically used.

The properties of the “Contact” tag are:

  • Identification of the contact person
    • Root : to be chosen in the drop-down list. It is the name of the account to which the new account will be attached in the hierarchy.
    • Name : personal name of the user
    • Contact : professional function of the user
    • Telephone : professional phone number
    • Fax : professional fax number
    • Email : professional eMail address
    • Url : professional website URL
  • Address of the contact person
    • Line 1 & 2 : address
    • Post code
    • Town
    • Country

The user can:

  • Validate the contact person.
    The field's content is tested and eventual errors are announced.
  • Go back to the list of subordinate accounts.
    The user is warned that the modifications will be lost and asked if he wants to continue.

4.4.3 Manage the settings - “Login” tag

The name of the user associated with the account is mentioned on the top of tags to make sure the root account user is well aware of which account he is actually dealing with.

The properties of the login tag are:

  • Identification of the contact person
    • User name : code which identifies the user in the geoportal. It has to be a string of at least 6 characters, and has to be unique in the system.
    • Password : contains the password asspociated to the the user name

      Here, the root account does NOT type anything.
    • New password : field to define a new password, or the first password in case of new accounts. The field is double, to make sure the password is correctly saved.

The user can:

  • Validate the settings
    After successful tests, the new account is created or the setting changes of the account are saved and activated
  • Go back to the list of subordinate accounts
    The user is warned that the changes will be lost and is asked if he wants to continue

4.4.4 Manage the settings - “Rights” tag

It has already been mentioned above that when creating new subordinate accounts, the root account can pass on all or part of its special rights to the subordinate accounts. To make things quite simple yet powerful enough, the geoportal offers transfer of rights with the following principles:

  • The root account can never grant more rights than it possesses itself. The following examples show cases where the root account does not have certain rights and where the corresponding checkboxes are inactive:
    • Case of a “customer”'s root account
    • Case of a root account that does not have access to webservices
  • The rights granted by the root account are always supplementary rights to the basic rights contained in the « general public » account. This means that when a certain part of the rights for a subordinate account are inactive, it always has as a minimum the rights of the “general public”. In case the root account activates certain rights, this means that the subordinate account possesses the same rights than the root account.
  • The transferable rights are grouped in 5 packages that can be switched on or off by the root account.

The following options can be activated:

  • See the maps : if this option is switched on, the subordinate account owns the same rights as the root account in terms of extended access in the mapper. This means that he may see more layers, have other scale restrictions and less other restrictions than the “general public”. If this option is switched off, the user has exactly the same rights and contents as the “general public”.
  • Products : if this option is switched on, the subordinate account owns the same rights as the root account in terms of extended access in the catalog.
  • Create and manage orders : if this option is switched on, the subordinate account’s user can create and manage orders on behalf of his organization.
  • Access to OGC webservices : if this option is switched on, the subordinate account can use secured webservices delivering geodata via OGC standards using the account’s user name and password.
  • Access to the provider’s functions : if this option is switched on, the subordinate account’s user can create and manage products on behalf of his organization as well as manage the corresponding metadata and incoming orders.

4.5 Manage the own Account (“My Account”)

After having logged in, every user can manage his account’s settings. This happens in the menu “my account”. Most of the functions are the same as those already described above for the subordinate accounts.

4.5.1 My account - “Contact” tag

The properties of this tag are the same as those described above. Aditionnally there are fields for the billing address.

The user can :

  • Validate the contact person
  • Cancel the changes

4.5.2 My account – “Login” tag

The properties of this tag are the same as those described above.

The user can :

  • Validate the contact person
  • Cancel the ongoing modifications
en/mc_4.txt · Last modified: 2012/01/02 16:16 (external edit)