Disasters Interoperability Concept Development Study

The OGC's Disasters Interoperability Concept Development Study (CDS) will assess the current state of data and product exchange technologies as used in disaster planning, response, and recovery. The information gained in the CDS will aid in developing a series of future pilots that will in turn advance the state of Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDIs) that support disaster risk reduction across the globe.

The OGC is inviting anyone who provides and/or uses geospatial data or products connected to disasters to participate in a series of workshops this year. You are also invited to respond to the Request For Information (RFI) that has been issued by the OGC February 28, 2018 available at: Request for Information on Disasters Concept Development Study [PDF].

Geospatial information has been proven effective in supporting both the understanding of and response to disasters. The supported activities include identifying at-risk areas by building scientific models and analyzing historical data, to assessing damage and coordinating response teams using near real-time imagery and data in the wake of a crisis, and myriad other applications in-between.

However, the ability to effectively share, use, and re-use geospatial information and applications across and between governments and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) in support of disaster response and resilience is dependent upon having the required partnerships, policies, standards, architecture, and technologies already in-place when disaster strikes. Further, building reusable analytic pathways, geospatial information, applications, and partnerships across multiple disasters – those that are geographically separate but in the same regional area – requires a sustained commitment. Conversely, maintaining such a commitment would enable stakeholders to further mature and strengthen their efforts towards resilience, preparedness, response, and mitigation.

The Disasters Interoperability CDS is being organized by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) and the US Geological Survey (USGS), with the objectives of collating, documenting, and making freely available the knowledge and best practices required for geospatial information sharing in times of crisis.

In order to achieve these objectives, the CDS will bring together diverse stakeholders from the global disasters community to assess the current state of data exchange technologies (e.g. data, tools, APIs).

This OGC Innovation Program initiative will lay the groundwork for multiple OGC Pilot Projects over the next 5 years. These pilots will, in turn, advance the ability of SDIs to support disaster risk reduction.

By combining the information gained in this CDS with future OGC Testbeds and Pilot Projects, the OGC and its members will demonstrate the richness, benefits, and value of using international standards to provide geospatial data in support of disaster planning, response, and recovery.

This study and subsequent initiatives will show how data standards help stakeholders and decision makers gain new and beneficial perspectives into social, economic, and environmental issues related to disasters by providing access to an online network of resources that improve the sharing, use, and integration of information tied to geographic locations across the globe.


The Request for Information (RFI) has been released. Responses to the RFI are requested by March 30, 2018  Update: Now Due April 10, 2018The RFI includes instructions on how organizations can respond to and submit questions about the RFI, available at: Request for Information on Disasters Concept Development Study [PDF]. 

The purpose of this Request for Information (RFI) is to gain a better understanding of the full potential of a Disaster SDI that could serve local, national, regional, and international stakeholders. Information gathered and publicly reported by the initiative will expose opportunities to improve spatial data infrastructures for publishing, discovering, assessing, accessing, integrating, aggregating, and analyzing geospatial data. RFI responses will be discussed with an expanded set of sponsoring organizations, which will review information interoperability and integration requirements, and then outline opportunities for a Disaster SDI Pilot planned for later this year.

Request for Information Questions and Answers:

Question: Are you looking for input from Disasters Coordinators or also from people who support disasters in various ways?

Answer: This Study is looking to gather information from anyone who provides and/or uses geospatial data or products connected to disasters using the Request for Information (or the series of workshops)



Tentative Dates

RFI issued

February 28, 2018

RFI responses due

March 30, 2018 UPDATE: Now due April 10, 2018

1st Planned Workshop

Late-March, Early April 2018

2nd Planned Workshop

Mid/Late-April 2018

RFI result publication

June 2018

Disasters SDI Pilot RFQ Release

August 2018


For more information on the Disasters Interoperability Concept Development Study, participation in the workshops, or responding to the upcoming Request for Information, please visit www.opengeospatial.org/projects/initiatives/disasterscds or contact Terry Idol tidol [at] opengeospatial.org.

To learn more about OGC's role in Emergency Response and Disaster Management, visit: www.opengeospatial.org/domain/eranddm.

OGC also runs an Emergency & Disaster Management Domain Working Group. To learn more about that DWG, visit: www.opengeospatial.org/projects/groups/edmdwg.