Ideas4OGC reaches an important milestone

The OGC was formally founded in 1994 after a long series of meetings organized to discuss possibilities for opening up and growing the geospatial market. In the 20 years since those first meetings, membership has grown annually and the OGC has continuously evolved its process to better meet member needs in a rapidly evolving market. Agreements on process change have sometimes resulted in adjustments to the organization's goals and structure, and they have very often resulted in changes to the Technical Committee Policies and Procedures.

Formally kicked off on June 20th, 2013, the Ideas for OGC (Ideas4OGC) process is, in effect, a formalized process for evolving the OGC process. Hot debate over a Standards Working Group vote focused attention on the stability of the OGC Web Services standards baseline in the face of mass market adoption of linked data and "RESTful" architectures. This rapidly expanded to broader discussions about openness, the consensus process, member participation, staffing priorities, Consortium business models and much more.

Board, staff and Planning Committee agreed to address these issues in an intensive process that was expected to continue through the remaining months of 2013. Certain recommendations are already being acted upon and others, depending upon a forthcoming resource review, will be folded into the 2014 business plan.

A volunteer leadership group composed of board members, member representatives and OGC staff collected a broad set of comments, recommendations and constructive criticism from the membership, the public and OGC staff. The Leadership Group's Initial Recommendations are the consensus product of lengthy open discussions of the 9 highest priority topics out of the 37 topics that were identified earlier in the process. A second round of meetings to address the next set of topics is about to begin.

 The OGC Board and staff thank the leadership group for their dedication and persistence in working together to resolve issues that often involve competition among ideas of roughly equal merit: "A stable baseline versus resilience in the face of changing technologies" and the related "Maintaining baseline 'purity' versus embracing contributed external specifications to better harmonize with them over time"; "The rights of a majority versus the rights of minorities"; "Simplicity versus completeness", "Speed and agility versus caution and thoroughness," and so on.

 We invite readers of the OGC Blog to review and comment on the Initial Recommendations. (See "Add comment" boxes at Initial Recommendations).

 Our 20th anniversary year, 2014, promises to be an extraordinary year as OGC standards become implemented and deployed at an accelerating rate around the world, as the strength and variety of our Alliance Partnerships grows, and as a new group of OGC standards for mobile and Internet of Things applications emerges’ for example. Despite "sequestration," slow recovery from a world recession, and a temporary US government shutdown, we expect 2013 to finish off as another year of membership growth. We hope you'll keep watching us, or better yet, begin participating in our open process.