OGC Newsletter - November 2002
Interoperability in Action at GITA and 2003 GeoTec Event
Australian Tender Highlights OpenGIS(R) Specifications
OGC Resource: National Forest Information System
What`s New on the OGC Website
OGC Interoperability Inititatives
OGC In The News
Back issues of OGC News are available.
What We Have Accomplished
As OGC enters its ninth year, I look back with astonishment at what we have accomplished. The OGC Reference Model (ORM), on its way to becoming the world's service framework for geoprocessing, is a monumental achievement that wraps together every formal technical agreement reached in OGC since 1994. The OpenGIS Abstract Specification and adopted OpenGIS Implementation Specifications provide the technical baseline for the ORM. Scores of software products now on the market interoperate through interfaces that implement those specifications. The list of conformant products and the list of conformance tests for products implementing new specifications continue to grow. Our new Conformance and Interoperability Test and Evaluation (CITE) Initiative, launched this month, will yield a sharp increase in conformance tests, conformance testing, and interoperability verification and validation.
However, adopted specifications and products that officially conform to those specifications are only the visible tip of the iceberg. The overall Framework, planned specifications, and specifications that are in progress have a strong guiding influence on the development plans of technology providers and the procurement plans of users. OGC members' work in Interoperability Initiatives results in Interoperability Program Reports (IPRs) and Draft IPRs (DIPRs). These are not referenced in the ORM because they are not yet adopted OpenGIS Implementation Specifications. But these documents, based on working prototypes and lessons learned in testbeds and pilot projects, represent consensus or near-consensus on many technical points. Despite the fact that IPRs and DIPRs are not yet adopted specifications, they guide not only development and procurement, but they also members' commitment of resources to fill gaps in the ORM.
The process clearly works: Members are pushing specifications to completion. This is apparent, not only from the increasing number of specifications approved each year, but also from the fact that more and more members are assigning one or more staff people to work full time in the Interoperability Program and/or the Specification Program. And members are putting in place more streamlined and robust certification and validation testing (the CITE initiative) to hasten the delivery and widespread use of interoperable products.
I hope everyone involved in the Consortium will take time over the coming holiday season to consider the progress we have actually made and to consider how significant our progress is in light of all that is happening in the world.
David Schell, President, OGC
INTEROPERABILITY IN ACTION AT GITA AND 2003 GEOTEC EVENT
OGC members are invited to participate in two new "OpenGIS Interoperability Demonstrations." Next March, OGC will be working with GITA and GeoTec Media to promote GIS interoperability at their respective conferences. We will be organizing these demonstrations and all associated marketing opportunities with all interested parties.
- Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA)
"Wide Open Spatial Frontiers: Adding Value to Your Business."
March 2-5, 2003
Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center
San Antonio, Texas, USA
- 2003 GeoTec Event
"A Spirit of Collaboration"
March 16-19, 2003
Vancouver, BC, Canada
If your organization is interested in exhibiting and demonstrating ANY OpenGIS Interfaces at either or both of these shows, please contact Greg Buehler gbuehler [at] opengeospatial.org.
If you are attending either of these events, this is a great way to learn about what organizations are doing with OGC specifications. Be sure to seek OGC members out and learn about their solutions and contribution to OGC!
AUSTRALIAN TENDER HIGHLIGHTS OPENGIS(R) SPECIFICATIONS
A tender aimed at providing an interactive graphical facility for the community to interact with Councils to locate and use local services/facilities in Australia is currently up for bid. The documents note the importance of open interfaces and standards and explicitly mention OpenGIS specifications. More in formation is available at:
OGC RESOURCE: NATIONAL FOREST INFORMATION SYSTEM
Dr. Seuss' Lorax may speak for some trees, but the trees in Canada have a special voice through the National Forest Information System (NFIS). The system, approved by the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers (CCFM), ( http://www.ccfm.org/home_e.html) provides for the integration and delivery of diverse spatial and thematic forest resource information holdings in support of national and international reporting requirements for sustainable forest management. One of the tools in NFIS' toolbox? OpenGIS Specifications. http://www.nfis.org/index_e.html
NFIS has a wonderful four-minute online video that explains how open interfaces underpin the system. http://www.nfis.org/media/video_e.html
WHAT`S NEW ON THE OGC WEBSITE
The following product was added to the list of products implementing
Oracle Spatial, release 9i (9.0.1 and 9.2.0) Specification: SFS NG 1.1 (Simple Features SQL, Normalized Geometry)
Specification: GML 2.1
Cadcorp Ltd. (some are conformant, that is, have been tested)
Many Cadcorp products including apSIS 6, SIS, Terrain Server, Feature Server, Map Server Specification: various
WFS Connector for ArcGIS, WMS Connector Specification: WFS 0.0.14, WMS 1.1.0
OGC INTEROPERABILITY INITITATIVES
- OGC Web Services Initiative Phase 1, Thread 2 (OWS-1.2)
The OWS 1.2 demonstration was held at Lockheed Martin's facility in Gaithersburg, Maryland on November 22. The well-attended live demonstration of geospatial interoperability drew on three emergency response situations in a mock Department of Homeland Security Emergency Operations Center. The demonstration featured the use of live sensors, the tasking of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and the integration of data, services and other elements hosted on servers worldwide. While the demonstration employed a variety of innovative software products and geospatial data drawn from local, state and federal agencies, and the private sector, OGC Interoperability Program Executive Director Jeff Harrison made it clear at the outset that what was important was that all of the technology worked together through OGC interfaces. After the formal presentation, attendees visited with participants at an electronic poster session to learn more about their contributions.
Some of the work in OWS 1.2 focused on enhancing existing OpenGIS Specifications such as Geography Markup Language and Web Feature Server while others defined new interfaces that may someday become specifications, including such technologies as image handling, Web-based sensor planning and collection, service registries, symbol/style management, and composite services (linking or chaining one service to another).
The UAV scenario illustrated mobile targeting - using an aerial sensor to capture images over an area - and allowed analysts to examine them to determine if a specific vehicle entered the area of interest. Behind the scenes a series of services grouped together, a composite service, made this possible. Draft interfaces for a variety of services, including a Sensor Planning Service, Web Notification Service, Sensor Collection Service, Sensor Markup Language (SensorML), Image Archive Service, Web Coverage Server, and Coverage Portrayal Service each played a part in the procedure. These services, all linked together, demonstrated a method to gather imagery in a rapid fashion, potentially within minutes, and provide it for analysis.
While exploring and extending services and interfaces, OWS 1.2 participants developed a service information model that forms the basis for a common method to describe services. Another part of the common architecture work involved the use of registries, a sort of online phone book, where information about services is documented and maintained for users to find.
Many of the OGC Interoperability Program Reports developed during OWS 1.2 have been posted to the OGC Web Site. Others are being finalized and will be posted soon.
The twenty-one participants in OWS 1.2 included: Autodesk, Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies (CAST), CSIRO, CubeWerx, Inc., Dawn Corporation, ESRI, Inc., Galdos Systems, Inc., GE Network Solutions, Geodata Systems Inc., George Mason University, Institute for Geoinformatics - University of Muenster, Intergraph Mapping and GIS Solutions, IONIC Software, Laser-Scan, Ltd., Laser-Scan, Inc., PCI Geomatics, Polexis, Inc., Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), Syncline, Inc., University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, CAST, and the University of Alabama at Huntsville. BAE SYSTEMS, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, NASA, and a DoD support agency sponsored OWS-1.2.
- OGC Web Services, Phase 2 (OWS-2) Feasibility Study Call for Sponsors
OGC issued a Call for Sponsors for a Feasibility Study that will support the next phase of the OGC Web Services (OWS) Initiative. The OWS Phase 2 Feasibility Study will seek community input and technology concepts to support efforts directed at understanding emerging technology areas for the next-generation of Web-based interoperable geoprocessing and location services. This effort will support planning for subsequent OGC testbed activities to develop and extend existing OpenGIS Specifications, enabling interoperable geoprocessing and location services to better support government, business, education, research, and consumer needs. More information is available at http://ip.opengeospatial.org/ows2/. For more information on becoming a Sponsor of the OWS-2 Feasibility Study, please contact Mr. Jeff Harrison, OGC Executive Director, Interoperability Program, at (703) 628-8655, or at jharrison [at] opengeospatial.org.
- Critical Infrastructure Protection Initiative (CIPI)
Two CIPI phases are currently underway. CIPI-1 recently began with a successful kick-off meeting held in Reston, Virginia. CIPI-1 will focus on the border area between Detroit, Michigan, USA and Windsor, Ontario, Canada and will emphasize the sharing of transportation data, and will examine response opportunities to hypothetical events in the border area between Canada and the United States. Six organizations on both sides of the border have contributed data sets for this important work. CIPI-1 will be executed in two "builds" with GeoConnections, the US Geological Survey, and General Dynamics sponsoring the first build. Participants in the first build include ClassCo Inc. (US), Compusult Ltd. (Canada), CubeWerx (Canada), ESRI (US), Galdos Systems (Canada), Ionic Enterprise (US), PCI Geomatics (Canada), SAIC (US), Syncline (US) and York University (Canada). The second build of CIPI-1 is scheduled for a possible start in December 2003. In addition, the Spatial Technologies Industry Association (STIA) is providing public policy and intergovernmental affairs assistance to support CIPI-1.
CIPI-2 began with a successful kick-off meeting on November 12th. In CIPI-2, the sponsor, the Geography Division of the U.S. Census Bureau, will use the OGC's rapid-prototyping process to develop two prototype systems: an online system to update governmental unit boundary information for existing incorporated places, and a system based on OpenGIS Specifications for serving Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER(R)) data. Galdos Systems, Intergraph, Northrop Grumman Information Technology, TASC and Syncline are participating.
Autodesk, BAE Systems, Intergraph and Northrop Grumman Information Technology, TASC have committed significant resources to the overall CIPI program to help accelerate OGC's advancement toward interoperability objectives. Their leadership, dedicated resources and commitment will enrich OGC's processes related to CIPI.
- Geographic Objects (GO-1) Feasibility Study
The Open GIS consortium has developed a robust set of Web-based technology. The Geographic Objects Feasibility Study, sponsored by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), has examined the possibility of extending that technology to other distributed computing environments (DCEs) leveraging a robust modeling approach for interoperability. The main recommendations of this study focus on using platform independent and platform specific models to enable technologies developed for one distributed computing environment to be mapped into other environments, using the community understanding gained during the OGC Web Services Initiatives as a common foundation. Under this approach, a set of models and application objects will be defined, providing a model-based platform for interoperability as well as the application objects that form core geographic constructs needed to build applications. The Java open source community has already begun collaborating on a set of application objects for Java. The Geographic Objects initiative will encourage and influence that effort assuring that the resulting concepts are consistent with emerging OGC Web Services and portable to other distributed computing environments through a robust set of models.
Release of the Geographic Objects RFQ is expected in early January 2003. Parties interested in participating in or sponsoring this initiative should contact Chuck Heazel at cheazel [at] opengeospatial.org.
- Open Location Services (OLS)
OLS Initiative is conducting specification refinement and harmonization in order to produce a consolidated specification for the OpenLS platform that will be advanced forward through the OGC Specification Program. OLS held an OpenLS Initiative Forum Meeting in Nice, France November 18-21 in conjunction with the GIS in Telecoms conference (see http://www.openls.org/ for more information).
- Conformance and Interoperability Test and Evaluation Initiative (CITE)
The Open GIS Consortium Inc. (OGC) launched its Conformance and Interoperability Test and Evaluation Initiative (CITE) on November 7th. CITE is the first of a series of initiatives addressing interoperability verification and validation. The expected outcome is a consortium-approved process by which software vendors can test and validate their products' conformance with OGC's Web-based OpenGIS Specifications. OpenGIS Specifications specify common interfaces, encodings and schemas that support the development and deployment of interoperable geospatial solutions, services, data, and applications.
Participants and participant teams include the Open Group (UK); Galdos Systems (Canada); Northrop Grumman Information Technology, TASC (US), a team of Sinclair Knight Merz and Social Change Online (Australia); a team of The Open Planning Project, The Center for Computational Geography at the University of Leeds, lat/lon, National Center for Atmospheric Research (US, UK, Germany, and US, respectively), Universitat Jaume I (Spain), Intergraph (US) and IONIC Software (Belgium). Participation is still open to members of the Open GIS Consortium.
- Geospatial One-Stop Call for Additional Requirements
The Geospatial One-Stop (GOS) initiative recently issued a Call for Additional Requirements for the Geospatial One-Stop Portal (see http://www.geo-one-stop.gov/cfar/). The GOS Portal will rely in part on interoperability specifications such as those published by OGC. Respondents to the Call for Additional Requirements will help the Geospatial One-Stop Portal Team of state, local, and federal representatives develop the functional requirements of the Portal. These requirements will inform the draft architecture of the Portal, which will then be refined and implemented during an interoperability initiative to be executed by OGC.
For more information on OGC's Interoperability Program, please contact Jeff Harrison at jharrison [at] opengeospatial.org.
The Open GIS Consortium welcomes our members who've joined us since October 2002:
Jackson County GIS (Oregon)
California Dept. of Transportation
Everything happens somewhere. Issues often involve multiple communities in a region. Therefore communities can benefit by banding together to more closely align and optimize their geospatial resources. Technology interoperability is an important ingredient, along with institutional agreements to pool and focus the resources of many communities on the problem of assuring geospatial capability for all.
When I started the not for profit Urban Logic organization a decade ago, the justifications for sharing spatial data were muted. People just did not recognize the power of "spatial thinking". Agencies guarded their data, and the marketplace responded by honing offerings close to proprietary software, hardware and customized products.
Challenges exist today that no single community can address without broader consensus. Improving the environment, the fight against terrorism, and assuring human rights are a few examples. Spatial data and technologies offer a new international language to deal with these issues. 41 states and 5 metropolitan regions are now involved in the "I-Team Process" to collaboratively plan, build and ultimately finance their geospatial information infrastructures. The I-Team Process leverages research prepared by Urban Logic for the FGDC with the support of the Office of Management and Budget to overcome the financial and institutional barriers implicit in the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (http://www.fgdc.gov/I-Team.html). The I-team model invokes interoperability in a compelling way.
As chair of the I-Team Financing Solutions Group, Urban Logic is working to create new options for the aligning resources through co-investment and other sustainable finance strategies. OGC, through its Government SIG, is supporting I-Teams via a Technology Advisory Group (TAG). I invite OGC members around the world to work with these groups to advance Spatial Data Infrastructure.
OGC IN THE NEWS
- OGC in the Press
OGC & the Data Sharing Puzzle
GeoNorge: Moving Fast, Moving Smooth
Norwegian Mapping Authority chooses OpenGIS specifications GEO:connexion
GIS group advances info-sharing project
Federal Computer Week
Nov. 11, 2002
OGC Web Services Geoprocessing and the New Web Computing Paradigm
I-Team Connections - Issue 2
Nov 05, 2002
- OGC Press Releases
OGC Announces Successful Critical Infrastructure Protection Initiative Kickoff
Nov 20, 2002
Geospatial One-Stop Portal Call for Additional Requirements
Nov 07, 2002
OGC OGC Demonstrates Open Location Based Services Interfaces
Nov 01, 2002
December 9-13, 2002
Thousand Oaks, California
OGC Technical and Planning Committee Meetings
February 10-14, 2003
OGC Technical and Planning Committee Meetings
March 2-5, 2003
San Antonio, Texas
GITA's 26th Annual Conference
March 16-19, 2003
Vancouver, BC, Canada
The GeoTec Event
April 7-11, 2003
OGC Technical and Planning Committee Meetings
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 2002 by the Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.