SSSC 2011 and SISS workshops New Zealand

As part of my involvement in the SSSC 2011 international conference in Wellington, New Zealand I ran a workshop on Open Standards, Policy and Business Value, which was sponsored by e-Spatial New Zealand Ltd. Attendees came from both government and the private sector and they contributed to the development of the workshop, which will be delivered at other international conferences in coming years. The workshop will also be refined in line with activities of the OGC Business Value Committee.

Additionally, I was invited to attend a workshop on SISS [Spatial Information Services Stack] at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) offices in Wellington. The workshop organizers and sponsors were NIWA, Landcare Research, GNS Science and NZGO – all OGC members in New Zealand; representatives from another very active OGC member from Australia, CSIRO, delivered the workshop.

Attending this workshop brought it home to me how many (hundreds and hundreds of) people in groups or communities across the world are working on OGC standards, in addition to the extensive work going on inside the consortium. The workshop was packed with representatives from New Zealand government, research, industry and regional authorities. People who wanted to attend were actually turned away due to space limitations!

Jochen Schmidt NIWA Chief Scientist, Environmental Information, opened the workshop by talking about the importance of community. Ryan Fraser from CSIRO then presented on data sharing issues around areas like meaning, interpretation and structure; semantics and syntax. Ryan and his colleagues have been working with OGC standards  since 2000. Alistair Ritchie from Landcare Research was next and he also talked about OGC standards and implementation from a community perspective.

There was notable discussion regarding the work done around GeoScience Mark-up Language (GeoSciML) and the OneGeology project and how this project really engaged a community using open standards.

SISS was presented in the NZ context by Robert Gibb, Science Leader Informatics, Landcare Research (OGC member). Robert gave a detailed overview of the history of the NZ SDI and how SISS fits in this context. He offered SISS for the NZ SDI as an architecture example, solution architecture and as an example to learn and plan from…There were many other presentations and sessions, including a hands-on exercise from Pavel Golodoniuc, Joshua Vote, Ryan and Alistair.

In addition to the excellent workshop content and presentation delivery, there were several quotes that stuck with me:

“We need stable and standardized interfaces to our data”.
“Honour the specifications.”
“Culture eats strategy for lunch.
“Within the OGC there is a wealth of ideas and technical expertise you may not have access to – not a loss of control, more actual assistance.”

The message at the end of the workshop was that it’s important to work on local data model mapping to community schema and local vocabularies to community vocabularies. The tutorial is publicly available.