OGC Newsletter - August 2001
The View From Here
GML 3.0 Workshop Held In Vancouver
Members Needed to Review Beta of New Website
Internet Engineering Task Force Meeting Review
Contracts and Implementations
OpenLS Testbed Participants Selected
OGC In The News
Back issues of OGC News are available.
THE VIEW FROM HERE
For those of you who've not been counting, this is the 8th issue of OGC News. From the first issue in January, the circulation has grown from hundreds to nearly 3700. This is testament to the role that OGC plays in a variety of industries from GIS to telecommunications to the Internet.
This month, David Schell takes a hard look at location services, Cliff Kottman continues his roundup of standards organizations, and Carl Reed introduces us to the Internet Engineering Task Force, a group with locational interests of its own.
At this point OGC News has matured, but it is still growing. This is a good time for you, our readers, to let us know what's missing, what works and what does not. Your input is invaluable in making OGC News a useful resource for those interested in geospatial interoperability.
I look forward to your comments and suggestions.
Editor, OGC News
adena [at] opengeospatial.org
IT Infrastructure Companies Critical to Location Services
For standards organizations and major corporations building the platform for Location Services, OGC offers a critical body of open technology and a unique open specification development and testing process. Broad support for OGC's OpenLS Initiative, increasing mention of OGC in Location Services press coverage, new members joining to participate in Location Services platform development, and rapid solidification of standards group liaisons with OGC show that the Location Services community appreciates OGC's offering. In this context, major corporations are discovering new reasons to participate in OGC's programs.
The value chain that will deliver Location Services is complex and requires the participation of a broad range of IT infrastructure players. Consider the likely information path of a car driver's request for directions to the nearest Shell service station: Voice recognition software in a cell phone or a car's computer interprets a spoken request and sends the request in a standard form with Internet routing instructions, location information, and direction information via the local cellular network. A router (probably located in the physical network specifically to route wireless Internet packets) sends the request to a spatial server somewhere on the Internet. The spatial server determines which highway the driver is on and which intersections the driver will pass in the next ten minutes. The server is probably configured on a very high-speed local network with special information storage devices optimized for real-time response to queries of this type. The request probably moves over the Internet to a second spatial server that can provide the location of the nearest Shell station, a list of services at the station, and directions or a map showing how to get there. The directions or map may be returned to the driver's cell phone or car computer in Geography Markup Language (GML), enabling synthesized voice output and/or customized graphic map display.
Do you want the solution that you bought in New York to work when you're in Philadelphia? When you're in Paris? Do you want it to show you bus fare zones, and school district boundaries, or just the contents of last year's Yellow Pages? You want fast access to many kinds of information about your space wherever you are. Industry agreements on interface specifications need to be in place for this vision to become reality.
Do Shell and Pizza Hut need to employ the same technical solution? No! A thousand different technical solutions should be possible, but they should be able to talk to each other in spatial terms that reference location, gazetteers, catalogs of spatial features and online geoservices, earth coordinate systems, etc.
The computer and networking companies in the IT infrastructure business play a key enabling role in the development of the Location Services infrastructure that supports these kinds of "simple" information transaction. The client Internet device, the voice recognition software, the special digital hardware and software that determine location and direction, the spatial server software, the optimized server-connected storage devices and local networks, the software that composes the GML reply, the software and the device that interpret that reply and present it to the user -- these are not simple solutions and they are not one-off solutions. They are complex and they are being designed by major corporations to reliably serve scores of major customers, each of whom provides online services to hundreds of millions of people in markets around the world. Standard interfaces and protocols, of course, are the "glue" that will enable a transaction to make its way through this huge system of many parts. The links in the value chain hold together only if the technical links hold together. Due to the variety of systems today, agreement on open interfaces and standards is key to prosperity for Location Services.
We believe these agreements will be reached. All the longstanding principal members in OGC began several years ago to see this value chain forming. In the last year, companies with major interest in Location services have joined for strategic reasons related to their market goals. It will take a few more years for the Location Services infrastructure to form and mature, but it is happening. We invite all the major infrastructure builders and providers to come under the OGC tent where they can help shape the common parts and understand where their unique strengths and positioning give them the best business potential.
David Schell, President, Open GIS Consortium
GML 3.0 WORKSHOP HELD IN VANCOUVER
The first annual Geography Markup Language (GML) Technical Workshop, hosted by Galdos Systems, was held in Vancouver in July. Thirty senior software developers from Galdos Systems, ERSI, Microsoft, Oracle, Lockheed-Martin, Laser-Scan, NTT Data, DPC, CSIRO and Social Change Online were in attendance. The goal of the workshop was to clarify and enhance the functionality of GML.
Significant strides were made in the areas of topology, geometry, harmonization with ISO 19118, temporal, default styling, coverages, and spatial locators (including postal addressing models). Agreement was reached in most areas on the content and structure of the GML 3.0 schemas. Late August has been established as a target date for the final draft candidate schemas. This deadline is set to coincide with the OGC Open Web Services Test Bed and a G-XML Test Bed being conducted in Japan.
MEMBERS NEEDED TO REVIEW BETA OF NEW WEBSITE
OGC's communications team has been hard at work developing a new look for the website. To ensure the new version meets the many requirements of our members, we are looking for a few members to review a current work-in-progress and share their thoughts. If you can help us out, please contact Roger Correll, rcorrell [at] opengeospatial.org.
We hope to unveil the completed site soon; stayed tuned!
In my last column, I distinguished 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.) Here's a quick summary of that perspective applied to some of the standards organizations of importance to the goals and mission of OGC:
Organization - Class - Authority
OMG - ad hoc - represents about 800 companies
BSI - de jure - represents the government of the UK
ANSI/NCITS/L1 - de jure - represents the government of the USA
LIF- ad hoc - represents companies investing in Mobil Services
MAGIC - ad hoc - represents leading companies in the LBS business
ISO - de jure - represents the consensus of multiple countries
In the last column, we provided thumbnail sketches of the Object Management Group (OMG), the British Standards Institute (BSI), and ANSI/NCITS/L1. I continue with LIF, MAGIC, and ISO.
LIF - The Location Interoperability Forum (LIF) is a global industry initiative developing and promoting common and ubiquitous solutions for mobile positioning technology and Location Services Mobile Location Services (MLS). MLS refers to a collection of enabling technologies and applications that: (a) estimate the location of a mobile device, (b) derive, customize, and personalize information (contents) based on the device's location and user preferences, (c) deliver the information to the interested parties, devices, or network equipments, and (d) collect and deliver charging data. Major investors in LIF include Motorola, Ericsson, Siemens, and Nokia.
MAGIC - The MAGIC Services Initiative is a group of nine companies - TeleAtlas, NavTech, Microsoft, MobileGIS, and others - founded with the goal of defining and promoting the open industry specification for delivering navigation, telematics, and related geographic information services across multiple networks, platforms and devices. MAGIC seeks to define a minimal set of generic geo-information services that will be found in most of these mobile Internet ventures.
ISO is the world's main de jure standards body. Country delegations to the ISO technical committees TC/211 (Geographic Information/Geomatics) and TC/204 (Transport Information and Control Systems) have been working for the last several years to develop some of the high level standards necessary for coherent international commercial progress in this area. OGC has a Class A Liaison relationship with each of these technical committees. Because their visions and scopes are so closely aligned, ISO Technical Committee 211 and OGC have been increasingly coordinated.
In future columns I will highlight other organizations related to GIS and Location-Based Services: Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), 3GPP, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), Parlay, and others.
Cliff Kottman, VP and Chief Scientist, Open GIS Consortium, Inc.
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 Location Interoperability Forum (LIF)
INTERNET ENGINEERING TASK FORCE MEETING REVIEW
Carl Reed summarizes his recent trip to an IETF meeting.
I recently attended the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) meeting in London. There were almost 2600 attendees, and constant meetings, both formal and informal. OGC attended the IETF meeting for two main reasons: 1.) To learn about the IETF and how the OGC and our membership might better interact with the IETF and 2.) To participate in the kick-off meeting of the new IETF GeoPriv Working Group (WG). I'll cover the WG group below.
IETF is a large open international community of network designers, operators, vendors, and researchers concerned with the evolution of Internet architecture and the smooth operation of the Internet. There is no formal membership. It is open to any interested individual. Any individual can contribute to ongoing work in any working group.
The actual technical work of the IETF is done in its working groups, which are organized by topic into several areas (e.g., routing, transport, security, etc.). Much of the work is handled via mailing lists. The IETF holds meetings three times per year.
One of these working groups is "GeoPriv", which is short for Geography/Location and Privacy. This WG is the evolution of the Spatial Birds of a Feather group, which was active through most of 2000. IETF had its first formal WG meeting in London. Approximately 350 people attended this meeting. The issues of importance to the OGC can be found in these key sentences from the GeoPriv WG Charter:
"The primary task of this working group will be to assess the authorization, integrity and privacy requirements that must be met in order to transfer such information, or authorize the release or representation of such information through an agent.
In addition, the working group will select an already standardized format to recommend for use in representing location per se. A key task will be to enhance this format and protocol approaches using the enhanced format, to ensure that the security and privacy methods are available to diverse location-aware applications. Approaches to be considered will include (among others) data formats incorporating fields directing the privacy handling of the location information and possible methods of specifying variable precision of location."
Based on this charter and the discussions at the WG in London, I believe that it is very important that the OGC membership participate in the GeoPriv email list discussions as well as volunteer for writing assignments. OGC should be involved with those activities related to location in general and the technology intersection points with OpenLS in particular. I spoke to several keys members of GeoPriv, including the Chair. They would be delighted if the OGC members can help.
- Carl Reed, Specification Program Manager
A new Recommendation Paper, the Recommended Definition Data for Coordinate Reference Systems and Coordinate Transformations, is available. It is dated April 5th, 2001.
CONTRACTS AND IMPLEMENTATIONS
At the Digital Earth 2001 conference, SRI demonstrated its new Web Map Server (WMS) interface along with the latest version of TerraVision, which is augmented to browse terrain datasets from a WMS.
The SRI WMS supports the serving of data in the GeoVRML file format, Allowing users to interact with elevation models or satellite imagery in 3D. (Other traditional image formats such as GIF and JPEG are also supported.) The SRI WMS can be used to browse most of our TerraVision terrain models. We have put together a web site at the following address to document and demonstrate this server:
The next release of the Open Source tsmApi library (www.tsmapi.com) will contain the full source code for this server implementation, and the next release of the freely-available TerraVision system (www.tvgeo.com) will include the capability to browse data from Web Map Servers.
The OGC 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. Significant IP activities this month include:
Participants in the Interoperability Program are providing support to the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) FY 2001 Cooperative Agreements Program (CAP). Under this effort, the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) is sponsoring several OGC members to provide assistance to CAP grant recipients as they extend clearinghouse nodes with OGC Web Map Server interfaces. This effort is being conducted as part of OGCNetwork, an ongoing IP effort to establish and reference reliable online, interoperable geoprocessing services for experimental and public use. The NSDI Cooperative Agreements Program funds innovations in the GIS community to build the infrastructure necessary to effectively share, manage, and use digital geographic data.
The OGC Military Pilot Project, Phase 1 (MPP-1) Participants have developed an initial operating capability and completed a series of Technology Integration Experiments (TIEs) that demonstrate the ability to communicate securely using DoD Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), OGC Web Map Server (WMS) and Web Feature Server (WFS) interfaces, and multiple clients. To date, over 12 secure clients and servers have been established on a restricted access portion of OGCNetwork. Participants have also demonstrated the use of OGC Styled Layered Descriptor (SLD) and Web Feature Server-Transactional (WFS-T) interfaces, as well as registration of both WMS and WFS information in a Service Registry. In addition, MPP-1 participants have prepared a Draft Interoperability Program Report (DIPR) titled Web Terrain Server (WTS). This report begins to define interoperable methods for requesting three-dimensional scenes from a server. Sponsored by US Army Corps of Engineers, Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) and In-Q-Tel, MPP-1 has been testing and exercising OGC specifications in near-operational user environments since April 2001. MPP-1 Participants include CubeWerx, Intergraph, Skyline Software, Syncline, Lockheed Martin, Compusult, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Polexis, 3i, and Ionic Software.
As of 14 August, over 80 organizations have downloaded the OGC Web Services, Phase 1 (OWS-1) Initiative Request for Quotation and Call for Participation (RFQ/CFP). OWS RFQ/CFP responses were due August 17, 2001 with planning activities scheduled to continue until the next OGC TC meeting in September. The goal of the OGC Web Services Initiative is to 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.
The OGC Civil Technology Insertion, Phase 1 (CTI-1) Insertion Project is being completed this month. CTI-1 Participants, including Compusult, CubeWerx, ESRI, Intergraph, PCI and SAIC are finalizing documentation and tuning the online services. Sponsored by ERDC, this Project integrated two different commercial map servers with online services from OGCNetwork. The information on these servers was then incorporated into a registry of online services and cascading map servers available on OGCNetwork.
Planning is now underway for several new OGC Interoperability Initiatives including multiple Pilot Projects and Planning Studies.
-Jeff Harrison, Director, OGC Interoperability Program
OPENLS TESTBED PARTICIPANTS SELECTED
Joining OpenLS sponsors Hutchison 3G UK, Sun Microsystems, Oracle with Webraska, ESRI with SignalSoft and In-Q-Tel are 23 participating companies and organizations that responded to OGC's July 10, 2001 Call for Participation. Participating companies include: Siemens (Sicad Geomatics), MapInfo, Galdos Systems, Inc., Hitachi Ltd., Laser-Scan, Yeoman Group, Opt[e]way, NTT Data, Cquay, NavTech, BigTribe, MobileGIS, Intergraph (Intelliwhere), Compaq, Ionic Software, Tata Infotech, IBM, Syncline, TCS, LocatioNet, the University of Illinois, TeleCommunication Systems and Vodaphone.
The Testbed will begin on September 13, 2001 and is expected to finish by January 2002. Together the Sponsors and Participants will develop candidate interface specifications useable across all platforms in the location services universe and will jump-start market enablement. The goal is accessibility by any client to any services on any platform. The OpenLS Testbed aims to demonstrate access to location applications services and delivery of content with multiple clients, multiple servers and multiple platforms.
Organizations interested in discussing their involvement in this testbed should contact Louis Hecht, Vice President Business Development at lhecht [at] opengeospatial.org.
Standards and specifications for interoperability of Geoprocessing Technologies are a key component of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). The implementation of the NSDI calls for individuals and organizations to work together towards a common goal of making current and accurate geospatial data readily available for use in addressing local, national, and global issues. The Open GIS Consortium is providing leadership for developing open geoprocessing technology specifications to support the NSDI and to achieve improved use of geographic information as part of the business practices of government and industry. The FGDC Secretariat and many of the FGDC member federal agencies have been working closely with the OGC and its membership in addressing the challenges and opportunities of technology interoperability. This partnership, which includes participation in webmapping and interoperability testbeds, specification development, requirements definition, and strategic planning is helping to produce standards-based technologies for applications and services for spatial data. It is an excellent example of how industry and government can work together for their mutual benefit, and more importantly for the benefit of citizens who use geographic information and related technologies.
The OGC specifications and related ISO TC 211 standards represent globally recognized technical practices that, when recognized and implemented, support the realization of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure. The FGDC will be working with member organizations to formally endorse and promote the use of such open standards.
John J. Moeller
Federal Geographic Data Committee
General Dynamics-Electronic Systems
Global Science and Technology, Inc.
Associate - Commercial
Associate - Commercial
Associate - Commercial
OGC IN THE NEWS
-OGC in the Press
-OGC in the News
the Digital National Framework in GML - The details on why the OS
picked the OGC's GML for data distribution. David Holland, GeoEurope,
10 Benefits of Using GML - The GML approach is a great improvement over
the historical reliance on simple GIF/JPG image maps for a number of
reasons. Galdos Systems, Spatial News, Aug 2001
a New Course for GIS - City and county executives discuss the potential
for GIS in local government including mention of the role of OGC. Wayne
Hanson, Government Technology, Aug 2001
the Back Room to the Glass Room - This article covers the state of
spatial database highlighting OGC input. Fred Limp, GeoWorld, Aug 2001
OGC's GML 2.0 (pdf) - This article reviews how and why GML became a reality. Mark Reichardt, GeoInformatics, July 2001
Aims to Enable Information Communities - The author highlights the role
of information communities in growing interoperability. Louis Hecht,
Jr., GeoWorld, August, 2001
Shows the Way Forward (pdf) Introduction to how a German state and the
city of Koln plan to connect their GIS systems using OGC interfaces.
Louis Hecht, Jr., GeoInformatics, July 2001
-OGC Press Releases
August 8, 2001
OpenLS Day Participation Fuels OGC Initiative
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.