2015 The Year in Summary – 2016 The Year Ahead

As we enter the New Year, I want to take this opportunity to summarize some of the accomplishments of the Consortium over the past 12 months, and to provide you with insight into some of the activities envisioned or already underway for 2016. 

2015 proved to be a productive year for the OGC. OGC members advanced a range of new and revised standards and associated best practices of value to the community. Accomplishments include:

  •  Significant contributions to advancing Smart Cities, where the ability to access, integrate and apply information from a variety of sources – traditional geospatial information, building information models, civil engineering, and fixed and mobile sensors in the Internet of Things (IoT) – is critical to achieving Smart City objectives. Check out the OGC Spatial Information Framework for Smart Cities White Paper on our website. 
  •  Continued focus on our work to conquer the indoor navigation challenge with work that builds on OGC's IndoorGML Encoding Standard, released in late 2014.
  •  29 active Domain Working Groups focused on identifying areas of challenge to be addressed by the Consortium. Among these is a new DWG formed to address Point Clouds.
  •  35 active Standards Working Groups advancing new OGC Standards and extending and updating existing OGC Standards.
  • We opened up our Domain Working Groups in 2015 to include participation from the broader public, to help extend our discussion on where we need to be working next on interoperability challenges and opportunities. 
  • New formal partnerships / liaison agreements established with ASPRS, ISO and the InLocation Alliance to help coordinate our standards and best practice work in the areas of Point Clouds, IoT, Sensors and Indoor Location. OGC now has over 45 such partnerships that help us work spatial topics across our mission boundaries with other important organizations. 
  • A successful Testbed 11 interoperability initiative which engaged over 29 participating organizations in addressing requirements from 9 sponsor organizations. Requirements were documented in use cases relevant to aviation, cross community interoperability, secure public safety information exchange and Urban Climate Resilience. The Testbed scenario – based on a massive climate induced storm surge in the San Francisco Bay area – allowed Testbed participants to demonstrate the importance of standards and interoperability in addressing growing global concern about the implications of climate change. Testbed 11 and OGC's commitment to the US President's Climate Data Initiative were officially recognized .
  • OGC was invited to bring geospatial and standards process expertise to the Standards Coordinating Council. In the SCC, OGC joins OMG, OASIS and a host of other organizations to advance useful guidance on establishing higher order interoperability for information sharing and safeguarding in the US and around the world. 
  • A complete redesign of OGC’s website with improved presentation and access to information on OGC programs, standards and related documentation

As we enter the New Year, we have much to look forward to in the coming months. 

  • OGC’s Testbed 12 initiative is underway – one of our largest initiatives to date – with an expected demonstration of results later this year. The testbed will be focusing on an array of topics including:  
    • A focus on the Arctic, via an Arctic Spatial Data Infrastructure Pilot initiative
    • Continued maintenance of OGC’s existing standards, and testing of some new candidate standards are set to deliver this year, including, among others:
      • SensorThings, a REST-focused OGC candidate standard for providing an open and unified way to interconnect IoT devices, data, and applications over the Web.
      • 3D Portrayal, which provides a unified web service interface for 3D portrayal that will make it easy for applications to present, explore, and analyze complex 3D geospatial data from diverse sources.
      • Discrete Global Grid System Core standard, which specifies rules for defining grid systems that represent the Earth as cell tessellations, grid systems that work much better in digital information systems than the latitude/longitude Earth coordinate reference systems currently in use, which all derive from previous centuries’ analog measurement and navigation systems.
      • Elevation extension to GeoPackage, which provides a way to store tiled gridded Earth elevation data in a GeoPackage, which is an open, standards-based, platform-independent, portable, self-describing, compact format for transferring geospatial information. 
      • LandInfra Conceptual Model, which proposes a conceptual model for infrastructure data in the built environment that has been developed in close cooperation with stakeholders from the Building Information Modeling (BIM) and civil engineering communities.  
    • The deployment of on-line developer friendly versions of our OGC standards which will combine essential elements of approved OGC standards with other resources including sample code, tutorial documentation, compliance tests, and reference implementations. 
    • A Standards Incubator to rapidly develop prototype standards that are responsive to emerging market capabilities and requirements.
    • Advancing the application of Big Data processing to geospatial information, through organized sessions at the Apache Conference and the ESA/EUSC Big Data conference

We experienced some notable staff changes in 2015. In early 2015, we thanked Dr. Carl Reed for his years of service as CTO and lead for our Standards Program. We welcomed Scott Simmons as the new Standards Program lead. Scott wasted no time building on Carl’s work to further improve OGC transparency, inclusivity, and streamline our processes. George Percivall assumed the role of Chief Technology Officer, working with OGC members, staff and the OGC board on assessing and positioning OGC for strategic market and technology opportunities.

We still face many challenges in 2016 and beyond – including the need to balance maintenance and harmonization of our standards with the innovation activities necessary to keep pace with the ever changing market and technology trends. I look forward to working with our members, our alliance partners and the broader public in 2016 to move us forward on these and other issues. 

Finally, I wish to thank all of our members for their commitment and contributions to the mission of the OGC, and to our staff for their dedication to the OGC process. Thanks as well to the thousands of developers, implementers, program managers and policymakers in the global community who recognize, support and implement OGC standards to improve their IT capabilities. Your identification of new challenges to overcome, and your dedication to saving time, money, assets and lives through improved interoperability is appreciated and shared by all of us at OGC. Happy New Year!