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The Value of OGC Membership
The OGC is the only industry consortium that comprehensively addresses the issues of "spatial-temporal computing" to enable the integration of all spatial data types and real-time spatially related technologies into mainstream ICT, including the World Wide Web ("Spatial Web"), enterprise and net-centric computing environments, as well as commercial and engineering platforms. The Consortium was established in 1994 and offers a wealth of historical records, reports and presentation material relating to geospatial problem solving.
OGC's value derives from the fact that location information is pervasive in human activity and only a well-run, global, consensus standards process can provide the platform to make location information pervasive in mainstream information processing.
The spectrum of OGC’s work currently covers a range of domains and technology areas including by not limited to:
Symbology & Style Management
Internet of Things
Enterprise Network Architecture
Catalog/Search and Discovery
Geospatial service integration with IP Stack services (e.g., SOAP, WSDL, RSS, and REST)
Web-based Modeling & Simulation
E-Commerce/Digital Rights Management
Real time transaction services
Vertical Markets & Communities
Disaster Response & Management
Geospatial Infrastructure (SDI)
Defense & Intelligence
Natural Resources & Environmental Management
Weather Forecasting & Warning
Technology users and technology providers become members to solve business issues, accelerate technological advancements and deployments, stimulate economic growth or desirable societal change, discover new business opportunities and enable new business models. Networking in the OGC has huge value in terms of learning, meeting customer needs, forming open communication channels between buyers and sellers, and forming partnerships.
Advantages for Technology Consumers
Technology consumers who are OGC
Voice their interoperability needs directly to a
broad and global industry, academic and government community. In the OGC's
Standards Program and Interoperability Program, vendors, integrators and
platform providers build interoperability interfaces and encodings far faster
than is possible with traditional system integration contracting. The benefits
are shared globally.
Pool both requirements and invested resources
with other technology users. These investments bring a very high return on
investment: 3:1 for every $1 invested in OGC Interoperability Program OGC Web
Services (OWS) testbed projects.
Employ OGC programs as a form of technology risk
reduction. The time and cost of participating in the development of standards
that enable “loose coupling” of different vendors’ products is far less than
the cost of customized integration projects that lock users in to specific
products and approaches. Small resource investments by technology users in the
OGC’s consensus processes often result in vendors’ willingness to address and
then broadly implement OGC standards in their products.
Use the OGC process for procurement reform.
Users benefit first by expressing their interoperability requirements in the
OGC standards development process, and then by adopting procurement language
that calls for OGC standards in the geospatial and location-based services
products to be considered for purchase and deployment.
Introduce their user perspectives and work with
other users in the OGC process to demonstrate the need for and potential market
appeal of new standards. This reduces technology risk because there are more
stakeholders investing in the process and the eventual standard that is produced.
Support the needs of community members, partners
and stakeholders who want open standards but who may not be in a position to
participate in standards development.
Once open standards have been
developed and implemented in products and services, technology consumers can:
Reuse their geospatial software or content in
multiple projects and across multiple departments or across the enterprise.
This means that they invest less overall and also less frequently, potentially saving
costs for each new user or project. This is often cited as the single greatest
benefit from deploying standards-compliant products or solutions.
Leverage existing investments in legacy content
and applications. Standards help companies and agencies leverage IT investments
and create liquidity. Put another way, a critical benefit of using standards is
revenue enhancement as opposed to direct cost savings. Standards provide a
platform for realizing opportunities that would otherwise remain hidden.
Mobilize new technology solutions quickly and
adapt easily to the rapidly changing information technology world, policy
changes, and new and emerging user requirements. Choices made today don’t limit
the choices an organization can make in the future. Also, solutions can connect
to internal departments and external partners that made different technology
Maximize the return on their current and future
technology investments, while reducing the time and cost of integration.
Solutions can involve multiple best-of-breed hardware and software components.
Advantages for Technology and Content Providers
Approximately 40% of OGC's members are commercial service providers, systems integrators and technology providers. The members range from small and medium sized enterprises to very large multinational organizations in the public, private and not for profit sectors. Commercial members work together in the OGC
because they recognize that a lack of interoperability is a bottleneck that
slows market expansion. They know that interoperability enabled by open
standards positions them to both compete more effectively in the marketplace
and to seek new market opportunities. The sum of market-stimulating community
innovations in the OGC far exceeds what any single vendor could create.
In the OGC consensus process,
technology and content provider members:
Drive technologies that
bring value to their businesses. Instead of being a passive consumer of
standards developed by others, an OGC member can become an active force in
defining future technologies, ensuring that they align well with the
member’s business goals. Not participating can result in larger costs
later in migrating to standards developed by other companies – standards
that may not align well with business requirements.
Position themselves early to influence the
definition of new open standards, preparing their companies so they are ready
when the standards are approved.
Free up resources from interface maintenance to
focus instead on higher-value development projects.
Develop standards that meet customer and market requirements
to integrate and leverage the value of geospatial data available from different
systems and data sources. This helps provide customers with more comprehensive
decision support capabilities.
Develop successful, revenue-generating products
and services based on the enabling technologies defined in standards, and
accomplish this quickly to address emerging opportunities and market needs. Taking
a leadership position in development of useful standards-based technologies can
help to create the markets for those technologies.
- Find and reassign skilled developers more easily.
solution providers can:
Deliver solutions more quickly and at lower
Enter new markets in which OGC standards are
Mobilize a range of products across open
interfaces, rather than performing resource-intensive custom integration.
with IR&D funds dedicated to helping government customers can reduce the
risk associated with customers’ anticipated resistance to proprietary
solutions. This can also be an issue for start-up companies, but they also face
different challenges, both near-term and later as their businesses mature.
Company founders, angel investors, venture capitalists, and companies looking
at buy-outs or IPOs should consider these points:
- OGC membership can help companies avoid
intellectual property and anti-trust concerns. Because members sign IPR agreements
that ensure OGC standards are not burdened by patents, and because trade
association and anti-trust collusion rules are part of the contractual basis
for collaborative development, important parts of a start-up’s technology
architecture can be quickly and safely developed, with help from others, in the
- Companies can use the consortium to help them rapidly
create new technology or to repurpose existing technologies to broaden markets
for new ventures. This improves their ability to invade new market space
quickly. Many OGC standards, such as the Sensor Web Enablement (SWE) standards,
Open Location Services (OpenLS), Open GeoSMS and GeoSynchronization provide
platforms that are ripe for re-purposing in new business models. Membership
puts innovators in contact with the newest developments and provide valuable
- Companies can introduce an interface or encoding,
built on OGC standards, as a new OGC standard. This is what Google did with KML
to help establish a common API for Web
mapping services. New ventures can create capability, develop proprietary
interfaces, and, as the market is built, push to internationalize an interface or
encoding as an open standard to promote rapid acceptance. The word “open” has
significant market cachet, and “open standard” means more when a respected
standards organization owns the standard.
- If the targeted market is government, then there
is the additional benefit of international open standard status – important for
sales to governments in US, Canada, Europe that have policies and regulatory
mandates and acquisition preferences that favor open standards.
- After the start-up phase, a company may seek to
be bought out by another company, buy another company or buy additional
technology. In these cases, open standards can create opportunities and keep
The development and use of standards does not require members
to give up intellectual property or trade secrets. The use of open standards to
connect components, applications, and content allows a “white box” view on the
components' functionality and interfaces without revealing implementation
details. This fulfills both the industry requirement for protection of
intellectual property and the user requirement for transparency. Such
transparency supports both interoperability and the credibility of the
enterprise or federated solution. Learn more about OGC intellectual property rights policies.
Outreach benefits all
All members benefit from the opportunities the OGC provides for communicating with others in the industry. The OGC's website, meetings, listservs, and events connect geospatial technology users and providers and help geospatial information communities develop best practices for data sharing. The OGC Speakers Bureau gives members a way to increase their visibility and associate their organizations' names with the OGC. The OGC provides the world's best pool of expertise for discussions of geospatial technology policy. Overall, the OGC contributes in unique and important ways to a thriving geospatial industry, and this benefits everyone.
Being a member of the OGC means different things to
different organizations, but with over 495 members worldwide ranging from
individual members to major multinational corporations and organizations, the OGC offers a forum
for doing business, learning, knowledge exchange and geospatial technical
know-how. We invite you to become a member and see for yourself: www.opengeospatial.org/ogc/join/levels.
For More Information Contact:
Executive Director, Marketing and Communications
Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC)
Copyright © 2015, Open Geospatial Consortium, All Rights Reserved. OGC® and OpenGIS® are trademarks or registered trademarks of the Open Geospatial Consortium in the United States and in other countries. Revised 3/3/2015.