Report from the OGC Technical Committee in Abu Dhabi, UAE Ministry of Interior, UN GGIM

Earlier this year, the OGC held its first Technical Committee and Planning Committee meetings in the Middle East. With patronage by Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan Minister of Interior, the meeting was hosted by the GIS Center for Security, Abu Dhabi Police, Ministry of Interior. We were honored to have good representation from OGC international members and guests, with many attendees from the UAE and other nations from the region representing industry, government, NGO and academic organizations.   During the week, 21 working groups met, 6 OGC documents were approved for public release, and a special “Civil & Land Development Summit” was convened by OGC in partnership with buildingSMART International to discuss the growing interoperability demands between BIM, civil and geospatial, and to identify program activities within our organizations to address these demands.  

I am delighted to report that shortly after the OGC meetings in Abu Dhabi, the UAE Ministry of Interior issued a document titled “Declaration of UAE Ministry of Interior for Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) 2013”. Signed by Major General Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi, General Director of E-Services and Telecommunications for the Ministry of Interior, the declaration cites strong commitment to the adoption of open standards, including those of the OGC and ISO.  The declaration also identifies the commitment of the Ministry as represented by the Abu Dhabi Police GIS Centre for Security to actively participate in OGC programs to advance relevant standards for public safety and law enforcement, to promote standards and best practice education, and to encourage compliance testing and certification.

Please take a few minutes to review the declaration here.

I wish to thank Ministry of Interior for their leadership and commitment to the work of the OGC and ISO to advance standards and best practices and policy to meet the needs of the UEA, the Middle East and the international community.  As an observing organization in the United Nations initiative on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN GGIM) initiative, OGC joins the Major General and the Ministry of Interior in expressing support for the UN GGIM activity and the UN GGIM vision to advance policy for improved management, sharing and application of geospatial and location information across member nations worldwide.

The OGC Law enforcement and Public Safety Domain Working Group (LEAPS DWG) met during the week and the meeting was very well attended. In addition to OGC members, guests representing law enforcement from the region and around the world attended the LEAPS DWG meeting to share their knowledge and experience in implementing standards based best practices being deployed from the local to the international level. The LEAPS DWG is co-chaired by Maj. Mohammed Al Mansoori of the Abu Dhabi Police, GHQ, GIS Center for Security. Maj. Mohammed Al Mansoori has been working diligently to engage leadership from law enforcement and public safety organizations worldwide to participate in the LEAPS DWG.  

Another milestone from the OGC meetings in Abu Dhabi was the approval for the formation of a new OGC Middle East and North Africa Forum.  The conceptualization and promotion of this forum was led by the Abu Dhabi Systems and Information Center, and includes 9 charter OGC members from the region. The objectives of this Forum are multi-fold: “to increase the profile and awareness of geospatial interoperability standards in MENA Region, with national and local government as well as industry, academic and research organizations, to provide a forum for the collaboration of developers and users of spatial data products and services, and to assist in the definition of a set of standards to meet the requirements of the MENA Region.”   Forum activities are member guided and are designed to operate in the language of the area and in the context of regional and national culture, law and policy.  The OGC MENA Forum is one of 11 OGC forum activities underway nationally and regionally in Europe, Asia / Pacific, and the Americas.  

Several weeks prior to the OGC meetings in the UAE, and as part of a scheduled trip to Doha, Qatar to represent OGC at the 2nd High Level forum on GGIM, I had the opportunity to conduct an OGC workshop with staff of the Abu Dhabi Systems and information Centre and stakeholders of the Abu Dhabi Spatial Data Infrastructure – some 50 local organizations cooperating to advance SDI best practice. This workshop complemented other similar events held in the region over the past year in Bahrain (OGC workshop organized by GIS Directorate, Bahrain Central Informatics Organization), in Saudi Arabia (ISO/TC 211 meeting), and in Qatar (UN GGIM High Level Forum).  These are just a few examples of the significant focus and commitment developing in the Middle East to embrace interoperability, standards and best practice for geospatial information and Spatial Data Infrastructure.  

Increased Middle Eastern participation in the OGC process is helping to better inform our membership of important standards and interoperability requirements, and is helping to raise awareness and adoption of OGC standards and best practice in the region.