OGC Newsletter - May 2003
WMS Cookbook Available
OGC Europe New Address
IP Update, Resources, New Members, Member Corner, OGC In The News, Events, Contact, Subscribe/Unsubscribe
Back issues of OGC News are available.
As I mentioned last month, readers now have the option of receiving OGC News in plain text or HTML format. We are pleased so many of you have taken the time to look at and switch to the HTML version. You can switch your preference on our subscription page.
While visiting the page, consider signing up for other OGC related e-publications, included the newly launched OGC User which highlights real life implementations of OpenGIS® Specifications. The first issue covers implementations in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States and Vaud State, Switzerland. Know of an implementation that should be covered? Let me know.
adena [at] opengeospatial [dot] org (Adena Schutzberg)
OGC Members Forge Ahead in Building the GOS Portal
The Extent of OGC's Global Outreach
Because geography touches everyone and because the work of the OGC and our members continues to extend interoperability into all aspects of spatial processing, it should come as no surprise that the OGC membership base is diversifying.
We are truly global. We now have over 250 members from 30 countries. Most members joining in the last year are from countries other than the US, continuing a longstanding trend. About a year ago, the United Nations joined, and since then our Geospatial Interoperability for Sustainable Development Initiative established interoperable Web mapping at more than 15 data centers in Africa. Phase 2 of that initiative is expected. Our planned joint work in Europe with the Association of Geographic Information Laboratories for Europe (AGILE) will add to the momentum we have developed through the EC-funded Geoprocessing Networks in a European Territorial Interoperability Study (GETIS) and Geographic Information Network In Europe (GINIE) projects that are now coming to successful conclusions. And soon we will have a partner organization in Australia, OGC-Australia, performing the same kinds of outreach and coordination that Open GIS Consortium (Europe) provides in Europe.
All levels of government are involved. Non-federal government organizations in Australia, Canada and Germany have participated for several years. Now participation at sub-national levels of government is picking up, and for the first time, we have US states and cities joining. Twelve sub-national agencies have joined in the last year, and we anticipate more as the Critical Infrastructure Protection Initiative demonstrates the practicality of open, multi-vendor geospatial networks based on consensus-derived standards. Public sector communities are engaging in other areas of interest, including e-Gov (as in our Geospatial One-Stop Transportation Pilot and Geospatial One-Stop Portal Initiative), environmental monitoring, and transportation.
Our new members work in diverse areas: Location Based Services (LBS), petroleum geology visualization, networks, emergency management, transportation, spatial data clearinghouses, and solutions for municipalities. Players in the real estate, banking and insurance industries are reviewing our proposed Property and Land Initiative. Sensor Web Enablement (SWE) began with the EPA, but, predictably, this effort is attracting interest from many different quarters. The simulation community is realizing the potential of OGC Web Services and SWE. It will be interesting to see what groups find our specification of a Web Notification and Messaging Framework central to their work.
We are coordinating with other standards organizations. This is for two reasons: many OGC specifications build on the work of other standards organizations and other standards organizations require integration of spatial services and content in their specifications. And the range of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) is broadening, as exemplified by our memorandum of understanding with the International City and County Managers Association (ICMA) and the Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA), and by our active informal partnership with the National Association of Cities and Counties (NACO).
The timing is right for Open Location Services. With our successful OpenLS Testbed and proposed OpenGIS Location Services (OpenLS) Implementation Specification, we are appropriately just ahead of the main phase of market growth. As LBS markets and technologies inexorably advance, the logic and value of our comprehensive vendor-neutral specification (and specification effort) is becoming increasingly clear to LBS players.
The diversity of our membership reflects broadening interest in and adoption of our specifications. There are now many operational implementations of OpenGIS specifications including MassGIS, Canadian Forestry Industry, CEOS programs, and the Vaud State Switzerland implementation of Web Services. We have the US, Canadian, Australian and EU communities stating that OpenGIS Specifications are critical to their spatial data infrastructures. The broadening of scope also indicates that the foundation of our "technology baseline" -- the set of adopted OpenGIS Specifications and the OpenGIS Reference Model -- is strong enough to support many new interoperability efforts involving virtually any area that involves geospatial information.
David Schell, President, OGC
What's the difference between a testbed and a pilot?
OGC testbeds and pilots are part of the continuum of specification development activities that we conduct and as such are complimentary.
A testbed is conducted to research, prototype, and document lessons learned from potential solutions to interoperability challenges and to develop, architect, test, and demonstrate engineering specifications, and changes to them, for solving specific interoperability requirements.
There are a few key points about these testbed efforts:
While in many cases the goal is development of a draft specification, sometimes other materials are created such as lessons learned, gap analyses (descriptions of shortfalls and suggested future work), guidelines, or installation/user guides.
Sometimes the lesson learned is negative, suggesting that a different path may be more successful than the one chosen.
Let's use the Web Map Testbed (our first) as an example. We set out to define the process of requesting a map image via the World Wide Web so that one client could request data from servers made by different vendors and display the results overlapped and geographically registered in the same screen window-roads from Vendor A, rivers from Vendor B, and cities from Vendor C. By agreeing on the content and form of the request, it was possible to enable "interoperability" amongst servers that previously spoke only to the proprietary clients owned by each of the vendors. The testbed provided a hands-on engineering environment where technical personnel from several companies could collaborate and agree. That testbed produced an engineering document defining these specifications, reference software implementations that used these specifications, and a demonstration that illustrated the ability of components to interoperate. We knew the specification worked in that environment, but had not yet tested them widely -- think of it as seeing a car on the showroom floor, but not driving it.
A pilot is collaborative effort that applies technology elements from the OGC Technical Baseline and other (non-OGC) technologies to sponsor scenarios. The goal is to use the engineering specifications and reference software implementations in a much broader environment, actually presenting them to everyday users. While sometimes changes to draft or existing specifications may be recommended, that's not the only goal of a pilot.
Think of a pilot as the test drive of the car we only looked at on the showroom floor. In the pilot, real users touch and stress test the specifications and software. Needed changes to the specifications are then incorporated into the engineering document.
Testbeds and pilots are incredibly useful tools to help accelerate the development, testing, validation and documentation of engineering level specifications, which can then be formally introduced to the OGC Technical and Planning Committees for consideration as adopted OpenGIS specifications.
Sam Bacharach, Program Manager
Have a question about how OGC works or what it does? Send it to the adena [at] opengeospatial [dot] org (editor).
WMS COOKBOOK AVAILABLE
The Web Map Service (WMS) Cookbook version 1.0, the first in a planned series of books detailing the implementation and use of OpenGIS Specifications is now available. WMS defines interfaces for Web-based software to learn about, retrieve, merge and query maps. The Cookbook provides the basic understanding and steps needed for implementing and exploiting the WMS interface and related technologies. The document is available for download in Portable Document Format (PDF).
Cookbook contributors include software vendors, universities, and local government users of the WMS interface from around the world. The variety of contributions highlights the different software being used and insures widespread applicability. OGC encourages developers and users to submit implementation "recipes" to include in future editions of the WMS Cookbook. Content suggestions and queries can be directed the WMS Cookbook editor [at] opengeospatial [dot] org (Editor).
OGC EUROPE NEW ADDRESS
Open GIS Consortium (Europe)'s Munich office has a new address. Please make a note of it.
Open GIS Consortium (Europe) Ltd., Munich Office
Hauptstrasse 9, D-82008 Unterhaching, Germany
Tel.: +49 (89) 6119 9758
Fax: +49 (89) 6119 9759
Mobile: +49 (172) 536 6737
Charles Mckenna, General Engineer in the Office of the Technical Director at the Topographic Engineering Center, USACE Research and Engineering Center, shared some thoughts on last month's President's Message.
"Liked very much your President's Message in the April OGC News, especially the next to last paragraph, 'The value of the integrated whole ...' and the words referring to open systems and democracy. It got me thinking that, in addition, the value of the parts depends on the integration of the whole and the quality of the integration process. Since 'integrated' implies a fixed and past point in time, perhaps we should say 'integrating', which implies the timeless and continual capacity to integrate new parts, and to be transformed by them. This implies open systems, since only these have the capacity to freely evolve based on user needs - perhaps intrinsic to the continued evolution of human consciousness - and not get frozen in time and content.
"Seems to me that if we could get beyond a corporate lock on 'closed systems,' a whole new field of enterprise would open up to stimulate the economy. Of course, I know that's what you're working to make happen!"
Critical Infrastructure Protection Initiative 2 (CIPI-2)
The Geography Division of the U.S. Census Bureau is sponsoring CIPI-2 aimed 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). The participants will work with a Local Government Office user of the WebBAS system on June 6th to gather feedback on the efficiency of the system. The overall project will be demonstrated to the Census Bureau on June 13th.
OGC Web Service (OWS-2)
OGC Web Services Phase 2 Feasibility Study is wrapping up. The Request for Technology period ended on June 2, 2003. The Sponsors and IP Team are now reviewing the responses to the RFT to ascertain possible requirements for the execution phases of OWS-2. The IP Team is targeting July 14, 2003 as a release date for a Request for Quote for the first requirement set for OWS-2. If the target is met, the execution phase of the initiative would kick off in late September 2003. Questions about OWS-2 should be sent stephens [at] opengeospatial [dot] org (here).
Geospatial One-Stop Portal Initiative (GOS-PI)
The OGC Geospatial One-Stop Portal Initiative (GOS-PI) continues to proceed according to sponsor requirements and schedule. On June 4, the GOS-PI Team demonstrated its Portal capability and architecture to the GOS Board of Directors, composed of federal, state and local stakeholders in the Geospatial One-Stop program. An initial "alpha" version of the GOS Portal was delivered to the US Government in early May. The GOS-PI team includes: Compusult, CubeWerx, Galdos Systems, SAIC, Autodesk, Intergraph, Northrop Grumman Information Technology, PCI Geomatics, Sapient Technology, Questerra, and Oracle. Final deliverables are due by the end of June 2003.
The Consortium Standards Bulletin sponsored by Lucash, Gesmer & Updegrove LLP is a very useful resource on standards setting and consortia. The resources at the consortiuminfo.org website provide an excellent summary of activity in the consortia arena, help to raise the dialog on relevant issues, and offer tips on how organizations can best engage with and leverage consortia.
The Open GIS Consortium welcomes our members who've joined us since April 2003:
Gdynia Maritime University (Poland)
International Land Systems, Inc.
National Guard Bureau Counter Drug Office
Oficina Tècnica de Cartografia i Sig Local
Spatial Knowledge Engineering, Inc.
Town of Richmond Hill (Ontario, Canada)
University of Melbourne
Universitat Jaume I (or University King James I) is the newest of the 5 universities in the Spanish region of Valencia. In its short history the computer graphics and GIS group has already made notable contributions in the area of Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDI). We are fortunate to count on collaborators within Spain (notably the TeIDE consortium with University of Zaragoza and Univ Politécnica Madrid) and from the international community. These collaborators are virtually all OGC members.
OGC membership provides us with a neutral base from which to research, create and deploy SDI technology. Our technology-oriented students and researchers welcome the ability to work within the OGC technology vision ("architecture by interfaces") instead of becoming "hyperspecialists" in one vendor's platform and formats, at the expense of all the others! Working at this level has allowed us to more easily cooperate on SDI projects, which are invariably based on heterogeneous platforms. Participation in OGC also keeps our research tied to reality: great ideas are even better when they are consistent with what the OGC consensus process says the industry really wants. A concrete example is our current work as part of the ACE-GIS project to discover optimal methods for (Web) service chaining: rather than beginning with arbitrary services we are beginning by linking well-known OGC services which we know will be in demand.
Dr Michael Gould
Department of Information Systems
Universitat Jaume I, Castellón, Spain
Want to see your organization highlighted here? Contact the adena [at] opengeospatial [dot] org (editor).
OGC IN THE NEWS
OGC in the Press
Lessons from Building the Spatial Web
June 1, 2003
Weaving GIS into IT: One Plus One Equals Three
May 28, 2003
Business Continuity and Security Rely on Spatial Information
Putting IT on the Map
May 15, 2003
The OGC: Its Mission to Reach Out to Professionals it Affects the Most
April 16, 2003
"Breaking the Barriers"
Discussing Issues and Trends in GI Internationally
OGC Press Releases
OGC Releases Web Map Service Cookbook
May 28, 2003
Open GIS Consortium Launches OGC User Magazine
May 12, 2003
Vienna, Virginia, USA
June 5-6, 2003
Emerging Technology Summit II: Spatial Web Services
Dulles, Virginia, USA
June 9-12, 2003
OGC Technical and Planning Committee Meetings
June 30 - July 2, 2003
Information Sharing & Homeland Security Conference
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
July 20-24, 2003
GML Dev Days 2003 Conference & Exhibition
October 13-17, 2003 (tentative)
OGC Technical and Planning Committee Meetings
January 12-16, 2004 (tentative)
OGC Technical and Planning Committee Meetings
For further info on events please contact gbuehler [at] opengeospatial [dot] org (Greg Buehler).
Please send comments and suggestions to:
adena [at] opengeospatial [dot] org (Adena Schutzberg)
Editor, OGC News
Open GIS Consortium
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Wayland MA 01778-5037
USA Phone: +1 508 655 5858
Fax: +1 508 655 2237
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Copyright 2003 by the Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.