OGC Newsletter - February 2003
Report From the Annapolis Meeting
IPE Course Announcement
ISO TC 211 Software and Data Products Survey
Join Us at Key Events in March
OGC In The News
Back issues of OGC News are available.
This month OGC's Technical Committee and Planning Committee approved version 1 of the OpenGIS® Reference Model (ORM). The ORM brings together, under the rubric of ISO's RM-ODP standard, a comprehensive description of our technical baseline for interoperability and framework for our adopted and emerging OpenGIS Specifications. This is a major milestone for the Consortium. If it were merely a plan and architecture for a large enterprise, knowledgeable technologists would praise it. But it is much more. It is a framework for communication between spatial processing systems and components, and it has been endorsed by OGC membership. Our success will have a positive impact in many areas:
- Information Technology (IT) infrastructure and the Spatial Web. I believe that we will have a more profound effect on IT infrastructure than anyone can imagine at this early stage. Today, enterprises and individuals have barely begun to take advantage of inter-system flow-through of spatial data from sources both old (such as credit card reader locations) and new (such as cell phone locations). Our members are the ones to help major mainstream IT players spatially enhance the information environments of enterprises and individuals.
- Broad industry advancement toward interoperability. OGC's innovative processes reduce technology risk for users and reduce product development costs for providers. Our way of accelerating industry, government and academic consensus on practical interoperability solutions is gaining attention in the larger IT world. Expect to see other organizations emulate our process to achieve more user-driven evolution of other parts of the global IT infrastructure.
- Spatial enablement of domains. Interoperability Initiative sponsors work with the planning groups in OGC to build a requirements matrix that helps us prioritize our efforts. The matrix includes market sectors (EGov, logistics, facilities management, mission management, modeling/simulation, command and control, transportation, insurance, pipes and wires etc.); technologies (sensor web, geospatial fusion, semantics management, terrain modeling, grid computing, Web services integration, etc.); and global/national priorities (Earth system science, sustainable development, critical infrastructure protection etc.). New interoperability requirements uncovered in this matrix point to new market needs, and new opportunities for our members.
- Research and education. OGC's consensus work impacts research, inspires research and is leveraged by, and sometimes led by, research. As researchers light the lamp of knowledge in geospatial technology domains and application domains, the scope of interoperability requirements expands. OGC helps bring university members' research accomplishments to the mainstream. Our new University Program aims to support this as well as providing opportunities for members to train practitioners and for students to work as interns.
Our members have worked together to create a market for plug and play components that can be applied inside or outside of product development or upgrade cycles. They have created a new kind of project business that brings great value to multiple users and providers. Supporting all of this activity is the ORM, a product of creative cooperation in OGC between public sector and private sector organizations. The ORM represents the ideal of the OGC community, and the world can now see what we as a community have accomplished in the service of this ideal.
Finally, the ORM is a living document. It will be maintained and revised as OGC members forge ahead in establishing new levels of interoperability.
David Schell, President, OGC
REPORT FROM THE ANNAPOLIS MEETING
The 44th OGC Technical Committee meeting was held the week of February 9th in Annapolis, Maryland. Thanks to NASA for sponsoring the meeting and to GST to hosting the Wednesday evening reception. The following were the key votes and actions:
1. The TC and the PC voted to adopt the OGC Reference Model (ORM) as documented in OGC Document 02-077 as part of the OGC Technical Baseline and to make the document public. The ORM provides a model for the OpenGIS framework for geospatial software, services and data interoperability. It is also a RoadMap to the current OpenGIS adopted specification baseline. Once some editorial changes are made to the document, it will be posted to the OGC website.
2. The TC and the PC voted to approve the Web Coverage Service (WCS) candidate specification as an adopted OpenGIS WCS Implementation Specification, version 0.0, and that a Revision Working Group be formed to develop version 1.0 for public release. The WCS supports the networked interchange of geospatial data as "coverages" containing values or properties of geographic locations. The specification details interfaces that allow client applications to seamlessly query and access raw or processed satellite imagery, digital elevation models, raster data, and other types of coverage data stored on one or more distributed servers.
3. The TC and the PC voted to release the Web Map Context RFC candidate specification (Document 03-036) for a 30 day public comment period beginning February 19, 2003. This proposed specification describes a standardized approach to enable the capture and maintenance of the context - or state information - of a Web Map Server (WMS) request so that this information can be reused easily in a future user session. http://www.opengeospatial.org/info/techno/rfc16info.htm
4. The TC and the PC voted to release the Observation and Measurements (O&M) document (OGC Document 03-022r2) as an OGC Recommendation Paper. This document is a definitive description of a framework and encoding for measurements and observations. This is a core and fundamental document required for the majority of OGC interoperability efforts for sensor webs, imagery systems, and so forth. As a recommendation paper, O&M is an official OGC position on this technology. http://www.opengeospatial.org/specs/recommendations.htm
5. A number of OGC Web Services 1.2 interoperability program reports were presented and voted on to move them to public OGC Discussion Paper Status. http://www.opengeospatial.org/specs/discussion.htm These include:
- The Style Management Service (SMS) System Summary (OGC Document 03-031)
- The Integrated Client Interoperability Program Report (OGC Document 03-021)
- The Web Service Architecture Interoperability Program Report (OGC Document 03-025)
- The Service Information Model (SIM) Interoperability Program Report (OGC Document 03-026)
- The Web Object Service Interoperability Program Report (OGC Document 03-003)
- The Soap Experiment Interoperability Program Report (OGC Document 03-014)
- The UDDI Experiment Interoperability Program Report (OGC Document 03-028)
- The OWS Messaging Framework Interoperability Program Report (OGC Document 03-029)
During the Closing plenary, Scott Bradner (Harvard University and Internet Engineering Task Force [IETF] Area Director) gave an excellent presentation on how the standards process works in the IETF. He also discussed current work on privacy, location, and the location object concept and encouraged OGC members to participate in the IETF process.
Carl Reed, Executive Director, Specification Program
Question: What does "conformant" mean in the context of an "OpenGIS Conformant Product?" How is that different from a product that implements a specification?
Answer: Let's begin with the notion of "a product that implements a specification." This means that a software developer has obtained a copy of an OpenGIS Specification, and has made a sincere attempt to follow its instructions regarding interface syntax and behaviors during the construction of a software product covering the scope of the Specification. The software developer may claim that the product "implements the Specification, and may register the product at http://www.opengeospatial.org/testing/product/index.php. At this writing, there are 248 software products that have registered at this level.
Use of software products that implement OpenGIS Specifications gives users a certain measure of confidence that the software product will interoperate with other applications in their systems. But experience has shown that there are enormous benefits that accrue from a more formal approach to interoperability.
The OGC Testing Program ( http://www.opengeospatial.org/testing/about.html) provides such a formal approach with a process for testing conformance of products to OpenGIS Implementation Specifications. Once conformance testing occurs and is successfully completed, OGC will license vendors of such systems to use OGC's marks (trademarks or certification marks) that will identify to users the capability of products with respect to OpenGIS. This is the meaning of an "OpenGIS Conformant Product." To date, 26 Conformant Products have been registered; a list is available at http://www.opengeospatial.org/testing/product/index.php. The fee structure for licenses for OGC's marks may be found at http://www.opengeospatial.org/testing/fees.html.
OGC currently has conformance tests available for six OpenGIS Implementation Specifications: Simple Features SQL, Simple Features COM, Simple Features CORBA, Catalog Service Interface, Coordinate Transformations, and Gridded Coverages. These are all publicly available at http://www.opengeospatial.org/testing/testSuites.html. Conformance tests for Web Map Service, Web Feature Service, Styled Layer Descriptor, and GML are in work, and others will follow (see the CITE initiative progress report below).
Conformance Testing, as described above, determines that a product implementation of a particular OpenGIS Implementation Specification fulfills all mandatory elements as specified and that these elements are operable.
Eventually, OGC intends to provide for testing of interoperability between conformant products. This will be through a future program of Interoperability Testing. This level of testing will determine whether a product implementation of an Implementation Specification interoperates with other product implementations of the same Implementation Specification, different but related Implementation Specification(s), or within a particular computing environment.
Additional details are available in the Conformance Testing Program document. http://www.opengeospatial.org/testing/documents.html#ctpdoc
Cliff Kottman, Chief Scientist
IPE COURSE ANNOUNCEMENT
The first official training classes developed in collaboration between the Open GIS Consortium, Inc. (OGC) and the Institute for Professional Education (IPE) are now available for registration. The OGC and IPE agreed to collaborate on the development and delivery of GIS related education for advancement of interoperability that meets the interests of their members and the public, and to raise awareness of and interest in both organizations' missions. IPE recently announced the first two course offerings for 2003, which were developed by Global Science and Technology, Inc. (GST), an OGC member. One new class aims to introduce technical managers to the value and utility of open source standards in technology program development and acquisition. The other addresses the needs of software engineers in implementing OGC-based solutions. For details please visit http://www.ipeseminars.org/GIS/interoperability.htm and http://www.ipeseminars.org/GIS/interoperabilitySE.htm.
ISO TC 211 SOFTWARE AND DATA PRODUCTS SURVEY
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee 211, Geographic information / Geomatics has announced a software and data products survey. The goal is to gather information from developers and producers of computer software and data products that implement ISO/TC 211 standards and industry specifications, many of which mirror OpenGIS Specifications, to provide this information to users.
Organizations and companies are invited to complete the online survey and to register their products or forthcoming products implementing ISO/TC211 standards and/or industry specifications at http://www.isotc211.org. The results of this ongoing survey will be updated quarterly.
In the future the plan is to link the survey results the OGC Implementing Products web page.
JOIN US AT KEY EVENTS IN MARCH
Today's technologies do not live in a vacuum. Government, business, academia and the public all demand that the technologies that allow us to communicate and share information work together. Members of the Open GIS Consortium are prepared to show how that can happen using OpenGIS Interface Specifications at the 26th Annual GITA Conference in San Antonio Texas, March 3-6 and the GeoTec Event in Vancouver, British Columbia, March 16-19. At GITA, OGC members Autodesk, Cadcorp, Inc., Dawn Corporation, ESRI, GE Network Solutions, Hitachi Software Global Technology, Intergraph, Ionic Enterprise, MapInfo Corporation and Safe Software will be participating. At GeoTec demonstration will be available from Autodesk, Cadcorp, CubeWerx, ESRI, GeoConnections, Galdos Systems, Inc., Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi Software, Idelix, Intergraph, MapInfo, PCI Geomatics, and Safe Software, Inc. Stop by, see how it works, and ask questions of vendors who've made it happen. Complete the tour and you could go home with a prize courtesy of Hewlett-Packard. Further information about the GITA conference is available at http://www.gita.org. Details about the GeoTec Event are available at http://www.geoplace.com/GeoTec/welcome.asp.
OGC members will also be participating in GeoEvenement2003 to be held March 4-6 in Paris. Look for member demonstrations and new product announcements regarding OpenGIS Interoperability. Government representatives, space industry, defense, wireless and European Commission representatives are expected to be particularly interested in interoperable solutions. Details can be found at http://www.geo-evenement.com.
- Geospatial One-Stop Transportation Pilot (GOS-TP)
A UML to GML Application Schema tool is now working and generating useful GML Application Schemas from UML Models. Road Transportation has been tested thus far and others are expected by the time OGC News is released. During development, several useful modeling guidelines were identified. These are being documented for distribution to the other modeling projects within GOS. The project's servers will be coming on line over the next few months.
- Conformance & Interoperability Testing & Evaluation Initiative (CITE)
The design of the Conformance Testing Engine has been finalized and the engine is under development. Test Scripts for WMS, WFS, SLD and GML are under development and drafts will go to the WMS and WFS RWGs next week. Initial portal designs are in revision. The planning study has been delivered and the major recommendations briefed to the PC. A more complete set of recommendations concerning the Conformance Testing Program will be made to the TC and PC at the April meeting.
- Critical Infrastructure Protection Initiative (CIPI)
The two nodes under development in CIPI-1 Phase 1 are nearly complete. Engineering work on Emergency Notification Services is moving ahead. The Interoperability Program Team is actively working on setting up several servers to host data in the Detroit area. Currently, the demonstration of this section is scheduled for March 27th, in the Detroit/Windsor area. Look for further details in a press release.
The Geography Division of the U.S. Census Bureau is sponsoring CIPI-2 which aims at developing an online system to update governmental unit boundary information for existing incorporated places (WebBAS), and a system based on OpenGIS Specifications for serving Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER®) data (WebTIGER).
Currently, WebBAS participants are working on setting up the basic services (WMS, WFS, WRS and WACS) needed for the pilot. Syncline is currently focusing on understanding and expressing the survey workflow, on identifying issues related to possibly ingesting large amounts of GML 3 at the client, and on working out user interface and other client design details.
Galdos is leading the WebTIGER development and has successfully set up a WFS that supports GML 3 and complex geometries (support for XLinks will follow), and populated it with the most recent version of the data received from Census. Galdos submitted a WFS change proposal for supporting requests for features in different SRSs from a WFS, as needed in the pilot. Galdos is currently designing the user interface and adapting its map style editor to work with SLD and WRS.
TASC is drafting a configuration management plan, which will include not only the technical architecture of both systems but also their operational ones (software + hardware + installation instructions).
An internal online demo of WebBAS is scheduled for March 31. A live demonstration of both WebBAS and WebTIGER is scheduled at the Census Bureau on April 15.
- Geographic Objects Initiative (GO-1)
The Geographic Objects virtual kickoff meeting took place on February 3, 2003. Thirty-four sponsors, observers, and participants attended. This initiative is proceeding on two fronts. The architecture team is collecting existing UML models of OGC technologies, integrating the models, and experimenting with techniques for generating Java interfaces from those models. The Implementation team is examining existing open-source Java implementations that are relevant to the initiative. This combination of bottom-up with top-down development will provide a model-driven, implementation focused, approach for deploying Java based OGC technologies.
The Open GIS Consortium welcomes our members who've joined us since January 2003:
EnGIS Technology, Inc.
James Madison University
Soluziona Consultoría y Tecnologia
University of Wyoming
DM Solutions Group was approached by the Canadian Forestry Service in 2000, which was seeking to enable sharing of data across its distributed infrastructure. After some discussion the Forestry Service decided to support the recently released OGC Web Map Server specification in its open source MapServer product. As a result, the Canadian Forestry Service offered a free Web mapping product to partners looking to seamlessly plug into the National Forest Information System. This was the beginning of DM Solutions Group's involvement in developing interoperable technologies.
Today, DM Solutions continues to develop interoperable technologies with support from the Canadian GeoConnections program. DM Solutions has added Web Feature Server specification support to MapServer and participated in the development of the Web Map Context specification. The recent accelerated adoption of MapServer's interoperable capabilities in Canada and abroad lead the company to make a further commitment to interoperable technology by joining the OGC.
DM Solutions Group
OGC IN THE NEWS
- OGC in the Press
Is GML only for Internet GIS?
Directions Magazine Mark Prins
OGC Is Continually Making Progress
GEOWorld Carl Reed
GIS Consortium launches new XML-based standard Mass High Tech
MapInfo Announces Support for OpenGIS Web Map Service Implementation Specification
MapInfo Takes the Lead in Adopting Specifications for Location Services
MapInfo Answers Federal Call for Open Standards and IT Interoperability
Dr. Robert Moses, CEO of PCI Geomatics, Joins OGC Board of Directors
- OGC Press Releases
OGC Seeks Comment on Proposed Web Map Context Specification
Feb 19, 2003
OGC Elects Board of Directors
February 12, 2003
US Army Corps of Engineers Receives OGC Vision Award
February 12, 2003
OGC Approves GML 3
February 6, 2003
March 2-5, 2003
San Antonio, Texas
GITA's 26th Annual Conference
March 4-6, 2003
March 16-19, 2003
Vancouver, BC, Canada
The GeoTec Event
April 7-11, 2003
OGC Technical and Planning Committee Meetings
July 28-Aug 8, 2003 2003
Vespucci Summer School on GI Science
Pratolino (Florence), Italy
gbuehler [at] opengeospatial.org.
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Copyright 2003 by the Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.