OGC Newsletter - July 2001
Digital Earth Conference Highlights
Contracts and Implementations
Open Location Services Call for Participation Released
OGC In The News
Back issues of OGC News are available.
The Next Creative Phase
As we discuss with integrators the utility of OGC and its interfaces, we realize that we are beginning the next phase of creativity, i.e. the development of strategies for evolving existing non-interoperable systems into open environments, often enterprise environments.
There are seven approved specs and 22 candidate specs in the pipeline. As listed on http://www.opengeospatial.org/resources/?page=prducts, seven software vendors currently offer 19 commercial products that have passed OpenGIS Specification conformance tests. Twenty vendors offer an even larger number of commercial products (71), which the vendors claim to be OpenGIS Implementations but which have not yet passed conformance tests, and we frequently hear about other implementations that have not been officially reported to us to be recorded on our site. The set of interoperable products grows steadily. There is plenty here for integrators to work with.
The advent of a component market creates a very significant opportunity for integrators and the end users that they serve. In this context, system integrators are able to define their proprietary advantage in creating efficient and effective open interoperable spatial systems, or in creating techniques for integrating open components into existing enterprise environments. This next step will require as much creativity as creating the specifications.
Such integration efforts will produce important information for the developers of specs because you only find out from real implementation what works and what doesn't, and whether the specs that have been created meet the needs of users. We are entering a period when the user community becomes of major importance. In the beginning our focus was on the development side. Now we need to be far more aware of user requirements, and the community of integrators is particularly well-suited to communicate these requirements into OGC's specification development process. Integrators must now become expert at "interface administration" to meet user requirements and this will result in both marketing activity and input into OpenGIS Specification development. The whole market, not only the integrator market segment, is well served by this process.
Integrators play an important role in building an effective value chain and they play an important role in bringing an appropriate and complete set of requirements into OGC's process. Integrators are concerned with whole solutions for major customers, so they are in a position to work with vendors on architectural approaches to make sure that component specifications are meeting the needs of these customers. Lessons learned in the integrator arena are valuable to vendors who are productizing components and sets of components for smaller end users who don't need integrators.
OGC's Roadmap is important here. Major users look at OGC's Roadmap with their integrators to understand how OGC is evolving. The Roadmap shows users what the integrator has to work with and what the integrator can plan for, and it provides a way for major users to input requirements. It choreographs the proliferation of products, providing a basis for integrators to plan what they will build for their customers. "Enabling a market" has been a phrase in the consortium's lexicon for many years, and now it begins in earnest, with integrators playing a key role.
David Schell, President, Open GIS Consortium
DIGITAL EARTH CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS
OGC's Cliff Kottman and OGC member Allan Doyle of International Interfaces attended the Digital Earth Conference in Fredericton, New Brunswick, during the week of June 24th. Mr. Kottman was enthusiastic about two sessions in particular. The keynote by Jack Pellicci of Oracle "was about business, not technology. If the vision of Digital Earth is ever to be realized, it will be because it is supported by business needs and business practice. Not because it is 'neat technology'". Jeff de la Beaujardière of NASA presented the Digital Earth "Alpha Version" "live, on the 'Net from Fredericton, not a canned local demo. It demonstrated that there is already commitment from serious data providers who are 'wrapping' their data in OGC-conformant servers. And what power this puts in the hands of people who need to see new relationships!"
Mr. Doyle noted a demonstration from the American Museum of Natural History in NYC. "They used the WMS interface to get successive frames of atmospheric ozone over time from the NASA GLOBE server. They then used a special HDTV production tool to take those frames and build a very impressive video of ozone circulation around the world." He also felt that the conference was a good reality check. "I missed the closing keynote by Mick Wilson of UNEP in Nairobi. I did sit across from him at dinner. Imagine a place where you can get about 1.5 Mbit/sec in the office but zero connectivity anywhere else. And the fact that the office has that bandwidth makes it a pretty unusual place."
Both attendees pointed out that OGC interfaces were a sort of "given" for the work going on in Digital Earth. Mr. Doyle put it this way: "Most presentations dealing with technology or infrastructure either talked directly about OGC interfaces or at least mentioned them as something to pay attention to."
The success of OGC in advancing the interests for interoperable geoprocessing depends on the efforts of many other standards organizations that bring elements of interoperability to the larger IT enterprise. There are many ways to examine and categorize standards organizations. One is to separate the de jure organizations (that carry the authority of government organizations) from the de facto, or ad hoc, organizations (that carry the authority of industry and the marketplace.) Let's look at the ad hoc organizations that play a role in geographic information standards, and compare their contributions to those of OGC.
The Object Management Group (OMG) is in many ways the role model for OGC. It also is a membership organization, but one dedicated to the Common Object Broker Architecture (CORBA.) OGC has addressed CORBA technology in the Simple Feature Access Specification, CORBA option.
The British Standards Institute (BSI) is a world leader in standards and quality management services. OGC is well connected to this influential body through the TC211/OGC Cooperation Group.
ANSI/NCITS is the American National Standards Institute / National Committee for Information Technology Standards. It acts as the TAG (Technical Advisory Group) for the US Technical Advisory Group (delegated to the L1 Committee) for ISO/TC211. OGC enjoys a large number of ANSI/NCITS cross-members, and is well connected to the L1 agenda.
The L1 Committee is a subset of ANSI/NCITS. The work of L1, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) consists of adopting or adapting information technology standards and developing digital geographic data standards. Digital geographic data standards are concerned with creating, defining, describing, and processing such data. This technical committee is the U.S. Technical Advisory Group to ISO/TC 211. OGC shares several members with this committee, and is a member in good standing.
Next time, we'll take a look at several other Ad Hoc standards groups including several involved in location-based services, such as LIF and MAGIC.
Cliff Kottman, VP and Chief Scientist, Open GIS Consortium
Object Management Group
British Standards Institute
American National Standards Institute/National Committee for Information Technology Standards
L1 Committee is a subset of ANSI/NCITS
The OGC Conformance Testing Program is preparing to enter a new phase as responses to the Cross Member Evaluation and Conformance Testing Program (CMECTP) Call for Participation are under review. ESRI, IONIC, Laser-Scan, Litton TASC, and Social Change Online have all made offers to contribute resources to the program. The goal of the program is to create nodes on the OGC Network dedicated to self-testing, OGC conformance evaluation, and continued cross-member interoperability evaluation. We hope to continue the momentum from the Interoperability Program into the realm of certifying products conforming to OGC Implementation Specifications. Additionally, participation by members may include value added services, such as test automation and developmental feedback to aid in the implementation of OGC Specifications.
Congratulations to con terra, ESRI, IBM, and Informix for recently passing conformance testing. con terra's Catalog Server for Informix 1.0 (CORBA) marks the first product testing conformant to the OGC Catalog Services Implementation Specification. Conforming to the OGC Simple Features for SQL were ESRI (Arc SDE for DB2 8.1, and Arc SDE for Informix 8.1), IBM (DB2 Spatial Extender 7.1), and Informix (Spatial DataBlade Module 8.1). ESRI's ArcGIS 8.1 met conformance for Simple Features for OLE/COM.
Mark Buehler, Conformance Testing Coordinator, Open GIS Consortium
Conformant Products Listing
CONTRACTS AND IMPLEMENTATIONS
-Social Change Online (SCO) recently started development of an online compliance testing facility. The service, to be called "Conform-IT", will exercise and report on the conformance of servers delivering web-based spatial information products via the already passed Web Map Server Interface (WMS) and the still to be passed Web Feature Server (WFS) Interface.
The service is expected to benefit application developers, information providers, and system integrators, all of whom have a stake in the development of robust, standards-compliant geospatial resources.
Organizations will pay a small fee for the service, where they can register their Web mapping component and subject it to a suite of conformance tests. Most of these tests will be automatic, with a diagnostics report being generated at the end.
This facility is partially funded by a grant from the Australian Federal Government.
Social Change Online of Sydney, Australia are active OGC members, and co-authors of several OGC specifications and candidate specifications, including WMS, GML and Gazetteer service. SCO's implementation of OGC interfaces in its software suite is driving many interoperable webmapping sites in Australia, most notably the New South Wales "Community Access to Natural Resource Information" program.
For more information, visit http://webmap.socialchange.net.au.
New South Wales "Community Access to Natural Resource Information" http://www.canri.nsw.gov.au
-OpenGIS was the focus of recent workshops in the Australian cities of Sydney, Adelaide and Perth. The workshops, entitled "Using standard web technologies to share GIS data online", are being run by AURISA (the Australian Spatial Information Association) and feature presenters from the New South Wales Community Access to Natural Resources Information (CANRI) Program and OGC member Social Change Online. The workshops are proving popular because of their mix of technical information, step-by-step guides to implementing freeware data servers, and vendor presentations. Attendees are inspired by the New South Wales Government's CANRI website, one of the first significant real-world implementations of OGC concepts.
The workshop presentations and a video are available from the CANRI website: www.canri.nsw.gov.au/activities/dsd2001#workshop2
The Interoperability Program (IP) is a global, collaborative, hands-on engineering and testing program designed to deliver proven candidate specifications into OGC's Specification Development Program. Many things are happening in the Interoperability Program this month.
-The Civil Technology Insertion, Phase 1 (CTI-1) has developed an initial operating capability. Sponsored by the US Army Corps of Engineers, Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), the CTI-1 Project integrated multiple map servers with online services from OGCNetwork (OGCN). Two different commercial map servers at the Corps Mississippi Valley Division and the New Orleans District Office were updated to conform to the OGC Web Map Server Interface Specification. The information on these servers was then incorporated into a registry of online services and cascading map servers available on OGCN. Participants included Compusult, CubeWerx, ESRI, Intergraph, PCI and SAIC. Demonstrations are scheduled for August 2001.
-An international vendor team successfully completed the Geospatial Fusion Services Pilot Project (GFSPP). As part of this Pilot, In-Q-Tel funded the integration of commercial component software, with integration made possible by candidate OGC interfaces developed last year in the Geospatial Fusion Services Testbed (GFST). The vendor team included Ionic Software, Social Change Online, Polexis, Galdos Systems, ESRI, SAIC and Lockheed Martin.
-The Military Pilot Project, Phase 1 (MMP-1) is underway with significant progress on implementation and testing of security infrastructures, secure Web Feature and Web Map Servers, Styled Layer Descriptor, XIMA, a variety of Viewer Clients, and other elements. MPP-1 has been organized to test and exercise newly developed OGC specifications in a near-operational user environment.
-The OGC Web Services (OWS) Initiative Request for Quotation and Call for Participation (RFQ/CFP) has been completed by the OGC IPTeam and OWS Sponsors. The OWS RFQ/CFP was released on July 25, 2001. Elements of this RFQ are being coordinated with the OGC Documentation Team and Service Model Working Groups. OGC Web Services will provide a vendor-neutral interoperable framework for web-based discovery, access, integration, analysis, exploitation and visualization of multiple online geodata sources, sensor-derived information, and geoprocessing and location capabilities.
Jeff Harrison, Director, OGC Interoperability Program
OPEN LOCATION SERVICES CALL FOR PARTICIPATION RELEASED
After many months in preparation, OpenLS is kicking off. A variety of Sponsors -- Hutchison 3G UK, ESRI with SignalSoft, Oracle with Webraska, Sun Microsystems, and In-Q-Tel -- are leading the first initiative, the OpenLS Testbed. The testbed will develop fundamental interfaces and services to allow a wide variety of location solutions to interoperate between infrastructure platforms and wireless devices. The Call for Participation for the Open Location Services (OpenLS) Testbed is available now; responses are due August 13, 2001.
Organizations interested in participation or sponsorship of this testbed are invited to OpenLS Day on July 31, 2001 at the Hyatt Regency Reston, Reston VA. At the meeting, OGC staff will discuss opportunities for involvement and sponsors will present their goals. There will be time for potential participants to interact and have their questions answered.
OpenLS Call for Participation
OpenLS Day Information
We joined OGC in 1999. Our initial objective was to learn about international interoperability specifications such as Simple Features and to implement them in our products. That is still an objective, but now we also have other objectives.
The most important activity of OGC, we believe, is to define and verify GIS service interfaces. OGC has been fostering specifications of future GIS services through various testbeds. We recognized the importance of the testbed process and participated in WMT-2. We hope to join WMT-3 as well. Elegant architecture needs to be used in practical cases in order to grow into truly powerful architecture.
OGC has been initiating interoperability as a basic concept and helps the membership determine the way forward, carefully balancing up-to-date technologies and practical use. We strongly support this direction.
At this moment, GIS is drastically changing into a huge scale Spatial Service Network while harmonizing with location services. Also, in Japan, an even larger Spatial Service Network is required, as the use of mobile gear and ITS (intelligent transportation systems) drastically expand.
We understand the technical vision of the OGC, as well as the importance of international harmonization. We hope to contribute to realization of the next generation Spatial Service Network.
Technical Director and President
The Open GIS Consortium welcomes our members who've joined us since June 2001.
Associate - Commercial
Associate - Commercial
Associate - Commercial
University of California, CEDR
Associate - University
US Department of Energy (DOE)
Webraska Mobile Technologies SA
Associate - Commercial
OGC IN THE NEWS
-OGC in the Press
Ron Lake explains the latest iteration of GML, GML 2.0, focusing on how it works and what it can do. There's also a discussion of information communities.
GML 2.0: Enabling the Geospatial Web - Ron Lake, GeoSpatial Solutions, July
Carl Reed gives his perspective on Geo-IT taking it from ancient times up to today.
Geo-IT - A Perspective - Carl Reed, GIM International, June 2001 (not available on the Web)
-OGC Press Releases
July 26, 2001
OGC Web Services Request For Quotation Now Available
July 10, 2001
OpenLS Testbed Call For Participation Now Available
July 31, 2001, OpenLS Day, Hyatt Regency Reston, Reston VA.
September 10-14, 2001 Arlington, VA, USA OGC Technical and Planning Committee Meetings, Hosted by U.S. Census Bureau http://www.opengeospatial.org/events/nexttc.htm
December 3-7, 2001 Vancouver, BC, Canada OGC Technical and Planning Committee Meetings, Hosted by Galdos, Inc.
February 4-8, 2002 Location TBD, OGC Technical and Planning Committee Meetings
April 8-12, 2002 Location TBD, OGC Technical and Planning Committee Meetings
June 3-7, 2002 London, England, OGC Technical and Planning Committee Meetings, Hosted by Cadcorp, Ltd.
OGC Events Calendar
For further info on events please contact Greg Buehler,
gbuehler [at] opengeospatial.org.
Please send comments and suggestions to:
Editor, OGC News
adena [at] opengeospatial.org
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Copyright 2001 by the Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.