Defense and Intelligence Organizations Benefit from Membership in the OGC

Almost every Defense and Intelligence (D&I) information technology application - planning, intelligence, logistics, etc. - requires the use of geospatial information. Almost every asset and every threat, human and material, has a location or an area. If D&I personnel are to develop and share awareness of assets and threats effectively, geospatial information and geospatial processing instructions need to be easily and seamlessly accessed and moved freely between many different information systems.


Use Cases & Communities

The NATO C3 Agency supports NATO through the provision of unbiased scientific support and common funded acquisition of Consultation, Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) capabilities. NATO C3's adoption and implementation of the Core GIS system using open, industry-consensus standards, including those of ISO Technical Committee 211 and the Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. will enable NATO to rapidly mobilize new technologies at reduced cost and risk. 

The US Defense Department's Global Information Grid Enterprise Services (GIG) system is a very large, high-capacity, high-availability, highly secure internet and Web-based global information system for the US and its allies. Department of Defense (DoD) system architects designed the GIG to use open commercial standards because a custom or proprietary approach would not affordably provide interoperability across the broad spectrum of DoD business processes and domains. The use of open standards reduces risk, maximizes return on investment, and future-proofs critical applications. It increases the ease and likelihood of interoperability with coalition forces, other federal agencies with systems based on the Federal Enterprise Architecture, and state and local agencies who are partners with DoD in Homeland Security efforts. OGC interoperability makes it much easier to connect the D&I, relief, weather, scientific and emergency management and emergency response communities for coordinated planning and response to regional emergencies and natural disasters.  Further, competition among providers of standards-based commercial off-the-shelf (SCOTS) products improves the quality and diversity of commercial offerings.

Benefits of OGC Membership:

  • Members collaboratively develop open geospatial standards framework for secure but decentralized "system of systems"
  • Accelerate progress toward users across jurisdictions and industries being able to rapidly share, integrate and apply data
  • "Need-to-share" information culture gets needed tools
  • Participation in Risk & Crisis Management Working Group provides insight into trends and OGC members' offerings and requirements
  • Text, sensor and video become part of geospatial searches
  • Standards enable networking of sensor systems
  • Standards solve Geospatial Digital Rights Management issues
  • Membership facilitates collaboration with other governments on geospatial issues.

Around the world, D&I agencies are taking the same approach. The increased value and liquidity of data and applications that result from the use of standards has become clear to IT providers, buyers, and users.

The Key Role of Geospatial Technology Standards

The integration points that enable such seamless access and communication involving geospatial resources are interfaces and encodings that implement the OGC's OpenGIS® Standards. These standards enhance interoperability in geographic information systems (GIS) and systems for Earth imaging, navigation, tracking, facilities management, cartography, location based services and surveying and mapping.

Scope of OpenGIS Standards

OGC Web Services (OWS):
OGC Web Services enable real time multi-source integration across the Web and across D&I networks. They greatly improve the ability to discover, access, integrate and apply geospatial data to support planning and operations. OWS encompasses image exploitation as well as raster and vector Web mapping, location services and other technology areas.

Information Interoperability and Semantics:
The diversity of geospatial information available to the D&I community results in semantic non-interoperability. OGC members are addressing the problem by using OGC's Geography Markup Language (GMLTM) schemas to support "on the fly" translation to and from a common model.

Sensor Web Enablement:
The Web is increasingly being used to access, control, and read dynamic and in-situ sensors and imaging devices. OGC's Sensor Web Enablement work has demonstrated the value of standard schemas for sensor description and standard interfaces for sensor control.

Geospatial Fusion Services (GFS):
Automated methods of integrating multimedia references into a geospatial framework introduce unprecedented efficiencies and capabilities into intelligence analysis. OGC members have advanced GFS specifications, in concert with OGC's adopted standards baseline, to effectively enable analysts to integrate/link textual documents, imagery, and Web content into an application.

Location Services (OpenLS):
The OGC OpenLS Specification specifies interfaces for location utility, gateway, directory, presentation, and routing services. GeoRSS can easily be combined with OpenLS and other location-based protocols and proposed standards for the Internet including location enabled DHCP, OASIS CAP, and web notification services.  

OGC Specification Program

The OGC Specification Program provides an effective and well-trusted industry consensus process to plan, review and officially adopt OpenGIS® Standards for interfaces, encodings and protocols that enable interoperable geoprocessing services, data, and applications. The Specification Program allows members from many government, research and industry segments worldwide to do this work together in a collaborative and collegial environment. The D&I Working Group specifically encourages dialogue on the needs of the community.

OGC Interoperability Program

The OGC Interoperability Program (IP) is a global, hands-on and collaborative prototyping program designed to rapidly develop, test and deliver proven candidate specifications into OGC's Specification Program, where they are formalized for public release. OGC Interoperability Program Initiatives include test beds, pilot projects, and interoperability experiments.

The IP is an essential part of the consortium's fast, inclusive, effective user-driven process for developing OpenGIS® Standards. These standards make it possible for technology providers to meet their customers' needs for efficient discovery, access, sharing and use of geospatial data and geospatial processing services.

OGCNetwork TM is an online infrastructure of Internet-accessible, configuration-controlled components that implement OpenGIS Standards. OGCNetwork is the place to find technical documents, test suites, training materials, reference implementations and other resources to support wide deployment of OpenGIS Standards. 

Why is OGC Involved?

The OGC is involved in the D&I standards effort for two reasons: 1) because geospatial standards are an important part of the international D&I picture; and 2) because D&I requirements parallel a wide ranging set of critical real world information interoperability demands of the GIG. Major software vendors, private and government members, already engaged in the OGC consensus process, seek to accelerate the development and adoption of standards. Of particular mention is OGC's demonstrated ability to rapidly develop, test and validate standards in the context of real world business requirements, while harmonizing them with other standards and stakeholder organizations. What drives the OGC process is the desire to solve the real world challenges encountered by government and business organizations when they attempt to integrate information to meet critical needs.

The OGC® is an international industry consortium of more than 350 companies, government agencies, research organizations, and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available interface standards.

Join the OGC

To learn more about what the OGC is doing and how your organization can benefit from participation, contact:

Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.
Phone: +1 (508) 655-5858
outreach [at]
George Percivall
Executive Director, Interoperability Architecture
Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.
Phone: (301) 560-6439
gpercivall [at]


Visit the OGC website at