FAQs - OGC Process

Q and A: 

  1. What is OGC’s Interoperability Program?
  2. What is OGC's Standard Program?
  3. What is OGC's Outreach and Community Adoption Program?
  4. What's the difference between a testbed and a pilot?
  5. What are RFPs, RFIs, RFCs, CFPs, RFQs, RFTs, IPRs and DIPRs?
  6. What does "Compliant" mean in the context of an "OGC Compliant Product?" How is that different from a product that "implements" or "conforms to" a standard?
  7. What is a Recommendation Paper?
  8. What is a Discussion Paper?
  9. Are OGC’s industrial standards decisive?
  10. How do you compare the action of the OGC with that of the ISO and other standards organizations?


Q: What is OGC’s Interoperability Program?

A: OGC’s Interoperability Program runs Interoperability Initiatives in which technology-using organizations – Initiative Sponsors – set requirements and provide funding. Technology providers – Initiative Participants – develop, test and validate new candidate OGC standards.

  • Fast-paced Testbeds produce draft engineering standards and prototype implementations addressing sponsor requirements.
  • Pilot Projects help collaborating communities test and apply technology providers’ interoperable offerings in real world settings.
  • Planning Studies assess opportunities to expand and sustain organizations' capacities for interoperability.
  • Feasibility Studies help communities and industries understand the application of interoperability in emerging technology areas.
  • Insertion Studies introduce well established and tested OGC technologies into sponsor environments for sustained support of the sponsor’s information technology environment.

These Initiatives produce technical documents, training materials, test suites, reference implementations and other interoperability resources that become available for use by members and the public on the OGCNetwork.

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Q: What is OGC's Standard Program?

A: In the OGC Standard Program, the OGC Technical Committee reviews standards for interfaces and encodings developed either in the Interoperability Program by groups of members or through an internal proposals process. The Technical Committee and Planning Committee then approve these as OGC® Standards for release to the public.

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Q: What is OGC's Outreach and Community Adoption Program?

A: OGC's Outreach and Community Adoption Program promotes global advancement of geoprocessing interoperability through education, awareness building and strategic relationships.

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Q: What's the difference between a testbed and a pilot?

A: OGC testbeds and pilots are complementary:

A testbed is conducted to research, prototype, and document lessons learned from potential solutions to interoperability challenges and to develop, architect, test, and demonstrate engineering standards, and changes to them, for solving specific interoperability requirements. Sometimes other materials are created such as lessons learned, gap analyses (descriptions of shortfalls and suggested future work), guidelines, and installation/user guides.

A pilot project is collaborative effort that applies technology elements from the OGC Technical Baseline and other (that is, non-OGC) technologies to meet the requirements of sponsors' application scenarios. The goal is to use the engineering standards and reference software implementations in a much broader environment, presenting them to everyday users. While sometimes changes to draft or existing standards may be recommended, that's not the only goal of a pilot. In the pilot, real users use and "stress test" the standards and software. Needed changes to the standards are then incorporated into the engineering document.

Testbeds and pilots are incredibly useful tools to help accelerate the development, testing, validation and documentation of engineering level
standards, which can then be formally introduced to the OGC Technical and Planning Committees for review and approval as adopted OGC standards.

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Q: What are RFPs, RFIs, RFCs, CFPs, RFQs, RFTs, IPRs and DIPRs?

A: Requests for proposals (RFPs), requests for information (RFIs), and requests for comment (RFCs) are documents that are published to solicit input into OGC’s formal Technical Committee process for consensus-based development of open interfaces. Calls for Participation (CFPs), Requests for Quotation (RFQs), and Requests for Technology (RFTs) are documents that are published prior to the launch of OGC Interoperability Initiatives (testbeds, pilot projects, planning studies etc.). Interoperability Program Reports (IPRs) and Draft Interoperability Program Reports (DIPRs) are generated in these Interoperability Initiatives.

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Q: What does "Compliant" mean in the context of an "OGC Compliant Product?" How is that different from a product that "implements" or "conforms" to a standard?

A: Below we provide first definitions, then recommendations, and finally links.

Implements: When we say that a product implements an OGC standard, we mean that an organization has developed a software product and the organization claims that the product fulfills the requirements defined in the standard. The product may or may not have actually passed the test. In either case, the developer may register the product at OGC's implementation products public database.

Conformance: The OGC Compliance Program uses as its foundation an ISO standard: ISO 19105:2000 Geographic information - Conformance and testing. Section 3.8 defines conformance as "fulfillment of specified requirements". Thus, for OGC, conformance means that: 1) a specific software product has passed a test that determines whether the product fulfills all the requirements documented in a particular OGC standard and 2) the developer organization has acquired from the OGC a license to use the OGC certification marks for that standard.

OGC Certification diagram

Recommendations:

  • We can interchangeably say that a product is compliant, conformant or certified. All of these words mean that the organization has gone through the OGC process, has passed the test and has been granted a license to use the OGC Certification mark.
  • If an organization doesn’t have the OGC mark for a particular software product and particular OGC standard, it can nevertheless claim that their product implements an OGC standard.

Additional Resources:

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Q: What is a Recommendation Paper?

A: A Recommendation Paper is an OGC document containing discussion of some technology or standard area, prepared by a Working Group for release to the public. Recommendation Papers are the official position of the OGC and thus represent an endorsement of the content of the paper.

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Q: What is a Discussion Paper?

 

A: A discussion paper is a document containing discussion of some technology or standard area prepared by a SIG or WG for release for the public. Discussion Papers are not the official position of the OGC and contain a statement to that effect.

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Q: Are OGC’s industrial standards decisive?

A: They are decisive for virtually the entire industry.

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Q: How do you compare the action of the OGC with that of the ISO and other standards organizations?

A: The standards tracks of OGC and ISO are fully coordinated through shared personnel and through various resolutions of ISO TC211 and OGC. They are often complementary and where they overlap, there is no competition, but common action (e.g. in the geometry model). OGC provides fast-paced standard development and promotion of standards adoption, similar to other industry standards consortia such as W3C, IETF, and OMG. ISO is the dominant de jure international standards development organization (SDO), providing international government authority important to institutions and stockholders. Through OGC's cooperative relationship with ISO, many of OGC's OGC Standards either have become ISO standards or are on track to become ISO standards.

OGC maintains contact with a number of other standards organizations (W3C, IETF, OMG, AMIC and others), generally offering expertise related to spatial issues and receiving expertise necessary to ensure that OGC's standards framework is consistent with other IT standards frameworks.

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