OGC's 2017 Year in Review

Geospatial information and its broad range of associated technologies continue to advance as a global transformational capability. The context of location now permeates business, government, and our daily lives like never before. Society is increasingly influenced by the dramatic volume of data that is now generated daily, not only by organizations, but by every one of us. This reality brings both opportunities and challenges to us as both users and providers of geospatial information and technologies.

OGC membership, now over 500 organizations strong, represents the world’s leading experts on location. In 2017, we continued to support the family of OGC web services, and witnessed the increasing application of OGC open standards for fixed and mobile sensors. Further, we advanced solutions for interoperability for the Internet of Things through our release of SensorThings API, and a Discrete Global Grid Systems (DGGS) standard that will enable the community to better harness the growing global body of location data, enabling it to be more uniformly consumed by ‘big data’ analytical applications. A new Technology Trends process within the consortium was formalized in 2017, and is now helping OGC prioritize its attention in the rapidly changing technology marketplace.

Our Standards Program implemented a new consensus process to evaluate and embrace broadly implemented de facto standards. From this process, OGC released its first Community Standard for 3D streaming, I3S, submitted by OGC member Esri. OGC members also endorsed as OGC
Community standards the widely implemented GeoRSS submitted by its authors and the LAS 1.4 specification submitted by OGC alliance partner ASPRS. The candidate OGC community standard for 3DTiles submitted by OGC member AGI is nearing approval, and other community standards are in various stages of consideration by the Consortium. This process provides an international standardization pathway for great interoperability solutions that are developed throughout the global community.

Our Interoperability Program of hands-on, fast paced interoperability engineering and prototyping initiatives achieved a major milestone – exceeding 100 successful initiatives completed since the program’s founding in 1999. On this occasion, and because of its emphasis on tapping the creative capabilities of our members, the program was officially renamed the Innovation Program. This proven program helps to accelerate the pace at which major interoperability challenges are solved – through cooperative industry/user hands-on testing, validation, and demonstration of new and innovative solutions, where running code that addresses the challenge wins. Innovation Program topics in 2017 included advancing interoperable Spatial Data Infrastructure for the Arctic, interoperable frameworks for Smart Cities, geospatial computing in the cloud, disconnected operations, and more.

OGC continued its drive to open our process to greater collaboration between its members and the global developer community. We have done this through deeper application of GitHub collaboration during standards development, through our move to adopt OpenAPI approaches in our development efforts, and our work to generate on-line implementer-friendly guides that blend the most relevant aspects of our standards with implementation guidance, including reference implementations, sample code, and compliance-testing resources.

We are looking forward to an exciting 2018. Members are placing emphasis on refining our globally implemented framework of open standards to be more responsive to today’s fast-paced development environment. Several new Innovation Program initiatives are already underway, including Testbed 14 (a Call for Participation is now available) and Pilot initiatives focusing on Smart Cities and Underground Infrastructure. We will continue to collaborate with our fellow Standards Development Organizations and Alliance partners on areas of common interest, such as the recently announced Pilot initiative with W3C to advance standards for Augmented Reality.

I take this opportunity to thank our members and partners for the outstanding commitment and effort to the mission and vision of the OGC in 2017 as we have worked to advance location interoperability. A particular note of thanks to the many individuals who commit time and energy well outside their normal working hours and expectations to ensure the success and delivery of our standards. Without these passionate and dedicated people, OGC would not be the success it is today. Finally, I thank our OGC staff for their devotion to ensuring that OGC programs meet and exceed member expectations. My best wishes to all for a happy holiday and prosperous New Year.