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FAQs - OGC Process
Q and A:
- What is OGC’s Interoperability Program?
- What is OGC's Standard Program?
- What is OGC's Outreach and Community Adoption Program?
- What's the difference between a testbed and a pilot?
- What are RFPs, RFIs, RFCs, CFPs, RFQs, RFTs, IPRs and DIPRs?
- 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?
- What is a Recommendation Paper?
- What is a Discussion Paper?
- Are OGC’s industrial standards decisive?
- 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: Implements: When we say that "a product ‘implements' an OGC standard," we mean that a developer has obtained a copy of an OGC Standard and has made an attempt to implement it in software, follow the standard's instructions regarding interface or schema syntax and behaviors. The developer does this during the development of a software product or application whose functionality falls within the scope of the standard. The software developer can claim that their product "implements the specified standard," and the developer may register the product at OGC's Website. The developer may not claim that the product is compliant with the standard.
Compliant: The OGC Compliance Testing Program provides a formal process for testing compliance of products that implement OGC Standards. A Compliance Testing determines that a specific product implementation of a particular OGC Standard complies with all mandatory elements as specified in the standard and that these elements operate as described in the standard. Once a developing organization successfully completes compliance testing for a specific product, the OGC staff validates the test and then licenses the developing organization of the implementation to use OGC's trademarks or certification marks, such as these:
OGC marks can be used in the developing organziation's marketing and product materials to indicate to users that the product complies with one or more specific OGC standards and has passed compliance testing for those standards. In the current list of Compliant Products, Compliant products are indicated with green text in the "OGC Spec" column. The list also includes implementing products that have not passed OGC compliance tests. Test suites are available at the OGC Web Testing Facility.
Conformance: Many people and organizations use the words "compliance" and "conformance" interchangeably. However, in the OGC, and in ISO, "conformance" has a more specific meaning that refers to a standard's "abstract conformance" to test suites for that standard. (See ISO 19105:2000 Geographic information - Conformance and testing ). "Complies", not "conforms", is the word that should be used in referring to an implementation of an OGC standard that has passed a compliance test. In the OGC context, "Compliance" should refer only to the OGC compliance testing program and no other aspects of the work of the OGC.
Additional details are available at the OGC Compliance Program web page.
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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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