OGC Newsletter - April 2009
OGC Staff Message: The OGC Helps Research Communities Achieve Interoperability Goals
News and Opinion From The Blogosphere
Website of the Month
New Members, OGC In The News, Events, Contact, Subscribe/Unsubscribe
Back issues of OGC News are available.
OGC STAFF MESSAGE: THE OGC HELPS RESEARCH COMMUNITIES ACHIEVE INTEROPERABILITY GOALS
Today's global need to mitigate and prepare for climate change adds urgency to the longstanding need for hydrologists, oceanographers, meteorologists and climatologists to share information. The physical interconnectedness of large-scale natural phenomena—such as the water cycle and weather—demands that scientists be able to easily share data and processing resources.
Researchers in many of the sciences that use geoprocessing are using OGC standards, but the current versions of these standards are not always adequate in terms of handling the complex data types required. Meteorologists, for example, want to extend OGC's Web Mapping Service and Web Coverage Service interface standards to better support meteorologists' weather analysis and forecasting software and data products.
To support such domain-specific needs, OGC members who have had success in harmonizing OGC standards with netCDF (a key standard for scientific data arrays such as those used by the meteorology community) and WaterML (an XML schema serving the hydrology community) will be launching a Meteorology Working Group (WG) and a Hydrology WG at the OGC's Athens meetings in April. The OGC already has the Earth Systems Sciences WG serving as the nexus for coordinating and integrating requirements, specifications and best practices across various existing Working Groups.
OGC is also establishing a relationship with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The WMO (originally the International Meteorological Organization, founded in 1873) was chartered in 1951 as a specialized agency of the United Nations to serve the world community's need to share weather information to support global weather forecasting. The WMO has departments and commissions devoted to meteorology, hydrology, and oceans, and thus it has a natural interest in working to help these communities share information. The WMO has a membership of 188 Member States and Territories. Both the WMO and the OGC are closely associated with ISO, so once the two organizations have member approval of standards, those standards will very likely gain ISO approval.
The new WGs and the relationship with WMO are closely tied to past, present, and future initiatives in the OGC Interoperability Program (IP). The IP provides organizational structure and processes to conduct rapid development projects such as the ongoing Oceans IE (Ocean Science Interoperability Experiment http://www.opengeospatial.org/projects/initiatives/oceansieii), and the GALEON IE (Geo-interface for Atmosphere, Land, Earth, and Ocean netCDF Interoperability Experiment, see http://www.opengeospatial.org/projects/initiatives/galeonie). Possible initiatives under discussion include another Interoperability Experiment to adapt the WMS specification to better support weather analysis and forecasting products and a Europe-wide OGC Pilot Study to develop a service-oriented architecture for collecting and aggregating water quality information across 39 EU member states.
At the direction of the Group on Earth Observation (GEO) Architecture and Data Committee (ADC), George Percivall, OGC Chief Architect, leads the development of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS, see http://www.earthobservations.org) Architecture Implementation Pilot (AIP), now in its second year. The upcoming third phase of the AIP is likely to have a strong focus on water availability and quality.
OGC members use the OGC consensus framework to develop and promote standards and best practices that are domain and content neutral as well as extensions to existing standards and best practices that are tailored for very specific domains, such as hydrology. The work being done in the OGC by the water, oceans, or meteorological communities is immediately accessible to all OGC members and often to non-members. By providing an environment in which parallel standards activities proceed under one roof, the OGC helps interacting communities develop efficient means of technical coordination and many opportunities to share costs and reduce the cost of software development and acquisition. I can think of no public/private partnership that offers Science a better bargain.
-- David Arctur
Director, Interoperability Programs
NEWS AND OPINION FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE
On 18 March, Geoff Zeiss posted "Open Geospatial Consortium and Open Source," in which he described OGC as "... a remarkably successful geospatial standards organization ..." Geoff's comments were in response to an article by OGC's Executive Director, Specification Program, Carl Reed, that appeared in the February issue of GeoConnexion.
On 16 March, Geoweb Guru carried a post by Richard Marsden, "Technical Overview: GeoRSS," which identifies the GML standard as the source of GML vocabulary, one of three vocabularies for GeoRSS—a standard for adding location information to an RSS feed.
Ron Lake blogged on 24 February that "Concepts die slowly." In his review of concepts called layers and features, he recounts that the issue of what constitutes a feature "... was a subject of immense discussion in the Open Geospatial Consortium ..."
On (Friday) 20 February, the Got Geoint? folks blogged "Friday's Food for Thought." On the subject of LinkedIn, they listed their top ten Groups of interest to the GeoInt community, and we are happy to note that the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) group is on the list.
Tom Kralidis blogged about the importance of metadata on 4 February in "OWS Metadata Matters." He offers ten tips, five for service metadata and five for content metadata, so that "OGC Catalogues will be able to harvest your metadata and provide useful search results."
Jeff Harrison posted "New Video Tutorial Teaches Basics of Gaia Geospatial Viewer" on 30 January, introducing a four-part video tutorial about Gaia, a free geospatial browser developed as part of the FGDC NSDI Cooperative Agreements Program. The fourth part is explicitly focused on using OGC standards-based data and services. GML, WMS and WFS are included.
Patrick Murris on 24 January posted an interview with Patrick Hogan, Project Manager of NASA World Wind. Question 10: "The unique aspect of World Wind technology is that it also provides the WMS server software to deliver geospatial data. How did that happen?" The answer includes in part "Making data accessible, the data delivery mechanism, is where the information experience begins. The World Wind Server delivers data according to the Open Geospatial Consortium international WMS standards."
On 12 January, Richard Marsden posted "Book Review: GML Geography Mark-Up Language." The review concludes
This book is strongly recommended for anyone intending to write a GML application schema. It is also recommended if you intend to know more than the very basics about GML, or if you wish to have a better understanding of the GML schema and design philosophy.
WEBSITE OF THE MONTH
The US Fish & Wildlife Service makes its Wetlands Inventory data available online via OGC standards. Five areas are offered: the conterminous 48; Alaska; Hawaii; Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; and Pacific Trust Islands. All areas are available in two ways:
- as KMZ files for viewing in Google Earth (http://www.fws.gov/wetlands/_GoogleEarth/WetlandsData.KMZ, last updated 19 February 2009), and
- served via WMS 1.1.1 (see OGC/WMS Wetlands Data Service Information at http://www.fws.gov/wetlands/Data/WMSServiceInfo.html).
Figure 1. Wetlands polygons in the area of Cherry Creek Reservoir area, Denver, Colorado.
Figure 2. Wetlands polygons on the island of Kauai, Hawaii.
TC and PC Meetings: Athens, Greece, 30 March - 3 April 2009
Look for the minutes on OGC Network in mid-April.
Policy Directives for OGC Standards
These Policy Directives are Member-approved policy guidance on a range of elements in an OGC standards document, including the following:
- OGC document copyright usage,
- use of normative terms,
- proper annotation for profiles,
- axis order,
- SOAP/WSDL implementations,
- XML implementation and versioning,
- publication rules for OGC schemas,
- naming and referencing OGC standards, and
- naming of profiles, application schemas, and application profiles.
Beta-Testing for WMS Compliance Engine Continues Through 3 April
The following compliance tests are available for beta testing through 3 Apr 2009:
- WMS 1.3.0 updated
- WMS 1.3.0/DGIWG profile
To see if your implementation measures up against any of the new compliance tests, go to the TEAM Engine: http://cite.geoenterpriselab.com/ows6/.
The following reference implementations are also available:
The metadata file for the DGIWG instance can be found here:
Feedback from implementers is critical to the robustness of OGC compliance tests. Please report any bugs, questions or concerns by sending an email to cite.feedback [at] opengeospatial.org .
The CITE team will be updating the scripts in response to your issues on a weekly basis during the beta testing period. The process for accepting compliance tests into the OGC Compliance Test Program includes the policy that each test must be supported by 3 implementing organizations before it will be put to a TC vote. Please submit your intention to be a supporter of a compliance test by sending an email to the cite.feedback [at] opengeospatial.org mailbox.
If you have any questions, please contact Raj Singh, Compliance Test Coordinator.
EUROGI Opens Membership to All GI Stakeholders
EUROGI represents SDI (spatial data infrastructure) stakeholders in Europe. Thus its announcement 11 February that it is adjusting its membership structure to allow more inclusive participation is good news to OGC members in Europe.
You Can Now Follow OGC on Twitter
The OGC Twitter account is opengis. If you have a Twitter account, you can choose to follow opengis, which will announce OGC press releases.
OGC welcomes new members who joined us recently.
BHT-Berlin (Beuth Hochschule für Technik Berlin) (University) (Germany)
Cirincione, John (Individual) (United States)
Data World Information Systems Pvt. Ltd. (Technical) (India)
EOX IT Services GmbH (Small Company) (Austira)
KISTERS AG (Associate) (Germany)
Lufthansa Systems FlightNav AG (Associate) (Switzerland)
METEO-FRANCE (Technical) (France)
Spacemetric AB (Technical) (Sweden)
Spatial Intelligence Genuine & Generic IT Solutions NV (SIGGIS) (Small Company) (Belgium)
Terradue Srl (Small Company) (Italy)
TopQuadrant Korea (Technical) (Korea)
University of Maryland, Baltimore County (University) (United States)
University of Pretoria (University) (South Africa)
University of Windsor (University) (Canada)
OGC IN THE NEWS
OGC in the News
The report (133 pages, pdf), "Advanced Regional Spatial Data Infrastructures in Europe," presents the findings of a May 2008 workshop organized by the European Commission Joint Research Centre. Eleven SDIs are reviewed in the report: Lombardy and Piedmont (Italy), Catalonia and Navarra (Spain), Wallonia and Flanders (Belgium), North-Rhine Westfalia and Bavaria (Germany), Northern Ireland (UK), Brittany (France), and Vysočina (Czech Republic). OGC standards are mentioned in seven of the 11 cases. The concluding sentence of the Executive Summary captures an important lesson about Spatial Data Infrastructures: "The technology is cheap, data is expensive, but social relations are invaluable."
On 16 March, EarthZine posted "Geospatial Web Services and Cross-Boundary Information Sharing During Disasters," by OGC's Executive Director of Outreach and Community Adoption, Sam Bacharach, and Lance McKee. Five stages of disaster management are identified, and the article subsequently focuses primarily on the preparedness stage. Decentralization of resources is an advantage in disasters, and so is the fact that the internet is inherently designed to find alternate paths when one path fails. Data and services accompanied by metadata, registered in online catalog services, and available in systems that implement open interfaces are key to successful data sharing. And commitments to open interfaces made in the disaster preparedness stage will result in improved success for the subsequent stages of mitigation, response and recovery.
"Software Firms See User Needs Driving New Development" appeared in ENR.com (Engineering News Record) on 25 February. The article discusses the challenges faced by firms providing software for virtual design and construction (VDC). One of the people quoted in the article is OGC's Director of Business Development, Louis Hecht, talking about OGC's current work with the buildingSMART alliance. Bhupinder Singh,Senior Vice President at Bentley Systems Inc., characterized OGC as "doing a great job in certain areas defining standard protocols by which an applications can talk to a map server to serve up maps," says Singh. "OGC went down a path of protocols and interfaces. The philosophy is right. The more you look at interfaces, the better off you are. Rather than seek the union of all business needs, it is the intersection of them. I think that is the only way to go. You have to define the problem as the intersection, and then you have a chance of solving it."
Another article appearing in ENR.com on 25 February is "Modeling Pathfinders Impatient to Have a Much Fuller Digital Toolbox." OGC's work with the buildingSMART alliance receives brief mention. Associated with this story is a slide show, "Capital Projects Technology Roadmap Vision."
Spatial Sustain (on 20 February) published "What are some of the technological frontiers for GIS advancement?" Under 3D Integration, one cannot yet move between broad geography and realistic detail, including building interiors - combining model outputs from GIS, CAD and BIM analyses. Though the author doesn't mention the AECOO Testbed by name, he does say, "A broad and international consortium of vendors and users are working together under the umbrella of the Open Geospatial Consortium to address this issue."
The February 2009 issue of GeoConnexion included "Open Sources #17: Collaboration For All" by OGC's Executive Director, Specification Program, Carl Reed. OGC collaborates with numerous other standards bodies, and also with the open source community. These collaborations "will enable the geospatial community to more quickly define, document, and approve international standards of increased value and benefit to all information communities, not just the geospatial domain."
GIS Development published "Dynamics of Changes" in its February issue. Several people were interviewed about the industry, including OGC President and CEO Mark Reichardt, and OGC Board member Lisa Campbell. Both Mark and Lisa were quoted on the importance of increasing interoperability of CAD and GIS. The people interviewed are optimistic about the continuing growth of the industry, with Asia (especially China and India) expected to lead in market growth.
On 28 January, Directions Magazine carried "A History of the Order of X, Y and Z - and Why It's Important" by OGC's Executive Director of Outreach and Community Adoption, Sam Bacharach. A lively discussion with 20 comments (a record?) followed.
The International Journal of Health Geographics published "Towards Web-based representation and processing of health information" (also available as a pdf) on 21 January. The researchers used Geography Markup Language (GML), Web Mapping Service (WMS), Web Feature Service (WFS) and Web Processing Service (WPS) standards in this case study using data from the New Brunswick Lung Association. One of the priorities of the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure (CGDI) is sharing location-based information for analyzing and monitoring public health.
The European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics chose the theme of The Sensor Web for its January 2009 issue of ERCIM News. Four of the articles specifically mention OGC and OGC standards: "A Testbed for Sensor Service Networks," "Building the Sensor Web - Standard by Standard," "Rapid Prototyping of Sensor-Based Applications with SunSPOTS" and "Sensors Anywhere - Sensor Web Enablement in Risk Management Applications." The 72-page issue is also available in pdf format, with the articles beginning on pages 21, 24, 36 and 40 respectively.
OGC Press Releases
Athina Trakas Joins OGC(R) as Director European Services
March 25, 2009
OGC(R) announces HellasGI Greek Interoperability Day
March 24, 2009
PCI Geomatics Becomes OGC Strategic Member
March 12, 2009
OGC(R) Requests Comments on Candidate Web Map Tiling Standard
February 27, 2009
The OGC forms a Spatial Law and Policy Committee
February 25, 2009
The OGC Elects Directors
February 17, 2009
OGC(R) Requests Comments on GeoLinking Service Standard
Janruary 30, 2009
March 30 - April 3, 2009
March '09 OGC Technical and Planning Committee Meetings
April 19-22, 2009
GITA GIS Conference
May 21-22, 2009
GEOSS Sensor Web Workshop
May 28-30, 2009
ISO/TC211 28th Plenary
June 15-20, 2009
GSDI 11: Spatial Data Infrastructure Convergence: Building SDI Bridges to Address Global Challenges
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
June 22-26, 2009
June '09 OGC Technical and Planning Committee Meetings
Cambridge, MA, USA
June 29-July 10, 2009
Vespucci summer institute 2009: 7th Annual Summer Institute on Geographic Information Science
Florence (Firenze), Italy
August 12 - 14, 2009
The 17th International Conference of Geoinformatics (Geoinformatics 2009)
George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, USA
September 28 - October 2, 2009
September '09 OGC Technical and Planning Committee Meetings
December 7 - 11, 2009
December '09 OGC Technical and Planning Committee Meetings
Mountainview, CA, USA
For further info on events please contact gbuehler [at] opengeospatial.org (Greg Buehler).
Please send comments and suggestions to:
Editor, OGC News
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Copyright 2009 by the Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.