OGC Standardizes Digital Map Coordinate Transformations

Mark Reichardt Director, Marketing and Public Sector Programs Open GIS Consortium, Inc (301) 840-1361 Voice (301) 330-2839 Fax (301) 412-2336 Mobile mreichardt [at] opengeospatial.org
Tuesday, 27 February 2001 UTC
Wayland, MA, USA, February 27, 2001: Open GIS Consortium, Inc. (OGC) announced that the OpenGIS Coordinate Transformation Services Implementation Specification, which reached general consensus in OGC last year, has been finalized and released to the public. It is available at "http://www.opengeospatial.org/techno/specs.htm" . Coordinate transformation refers to mathematical processing that enables overlay of digital maps that use different "coordinate reference systems," that is, map projections and earth measurement systems. In part because coordinate reference systems are complex and diverse, geographic information systems (GIS) and earth imaging systems have required too much expertise to become part of mainstream computing. Lack of a coordinate transformation interface standard has prevented web users from easily accessing and overlaying maps or earth images that have been created and referenced to the earth using different datums, ellipsoids, projections and units. Now, users of geoprocessing software with open interfaces conforming to the new standard will be able to discover the coordinate reference systems of geospatial data held in other systems on the network and then transparently transform coordinates from one coordinate reference system to another. Dr. Robert Moses, president and CEO of PCI Geomatics, Inc., said, "The OpenGIS Coordinate Transformation Services Implementation Specification will open the door to much wider use of maps and map-like images that, up to now, have been locked in arcane projections and datums that don't overlay. This Specification allows us to build applications where everything fits automatically and where all the complexity is hidden from the user." Cadcorp, Ltd. (UK) submitted this specification in response to an OGC Request for Proposals. Cadcorp's marketing executive Chris Holcroft said, "Cadcorp responded to the OGC Request for Proposals to develop both a Coordinate System package to handle multidimensional coordinates and a Coordinate Transformation package that allows points to be transformed between any two coordinate systems. This project is one of many OpenGIS technical activities to which we are actively committed." Many other members participated in OGC's Coordinate Transformation Working Group to finish the specification, including BAE SYSTEMS, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Shell Oil Company, and POSC (Petroleum Open Software Corporation). The working group benefited from earlier work by ISO (International Organization for Standardization) TC211 and EPSG (European Petroleum Survey Group). The OpenGIS standard now includes facilities for compound coordinate systems such as those used in the petroleum industry, as well as facilities for resource defaults that will make web-based operation more efficient. OGC, an international consortium of more than 200 corporations, agencies and universities, coordinates collaborative development of the OpenGIS Specification and collaborative business development to support full integration of geospatial data and geoprocessing resources into mainstream computing. -- end --