OGC Newsletter - October 2003
News From the Segovia Meeting
Important Resource Documents Support Interoperability
Open Source and Free OGC Implementing Software
Geo-Intel Demonstration Resources Online
IP Update, Member Corner, New Members, OGC In The News, Events, Contact, Subscribe/Unsubscribe
Back issues of OGC News are available.
Spreading the Blessings of Geographic Information Systems
Few, if any, computer applications are more useful than GIS for doing important work in many areas of government, commercial and academic activity. The list of GIS application domains is long, and the range of capabilities and applications grows through interaction between a steadily maturing GIS academic tradition, a growing GIS industry, and convergence with other digital technologies. Through spatial services, the value of GIS increases and its benefits extend to far more individuals and organizations.
GIS experts draw on considerable training and experience to perform operations that require understanding, not only of GIS operations and particular applications, but also statistics, mathematics and data: data accuracy, data models, resolution, collection methods, lineage, etc. The need for people with this kind of knowledge will increase, not decrease, as geoprocessing interoperability advances, because these experts provide essential products and services for the growing number of people working downstream in the flow of geographic information. Users of these products and services include citizens and consumers as well as people who are working important issues in government, research and business.
Easy Web-based access to spatial information is important to many people who are not GIS experts. Business, government and academic enterprises have many special requirements not only for geographic information display, but also for simple repetitive tasks in decision support, modeling and analysis. These applications typically do not require the use of a full function GIS. Today's GIS industry is starting to provide Web Services solutions that range from simple to complex processing tasks. However, other technology providers are now also able to deliver Web Service-based solutions, often without GIS components, to address simple spatial data management and display. The use of OGC's interface standards helps geospatial information flow in many places it has not flowed before. Thus, more people are using spatial data in their problem solving and decision environments - perhaps without even knowing that they are using GIS functions!
For business-wide enterprise solutions, the interoperable Web services framework defined by a family of OpenGIS(R) specifications make it easy to insert spatial services and geospatial information flows at points of need across the enterprise. Anyone in the enterprise, expert or non-expert, can use these services. To be sure, an established professional infrastructure and numerous sophisticated data providers are at the beginning of any spatial information value chain.
The message for individuals and organizations at the beginning of the spatial data value chain is to imagine the results of their investment being accessible through this new channel, providing access to a much larger user community than ever before. They might also look at the needs of their discipline or profession and consider how using OGC's interface standards can improve their practice. For example, how could GIS-using scientists exploit the new technical openness to make research results more verifiable and rapidly transferable to other scientists and the user community? How can communities with shared interests (for example, Sustainable Development or Critical Infrastructure Development) best deploy interoperable products to make diverse information within the community more accessible and usable across the discipline? How might open interfaces and encodings address the issues of differing information semantics within and across communities of interest? Could new standards efforts help to produce a more effective and automated way of addressing data licensing for distribution on the fly in a Web services environment?
OGC is the place where people come together to design and standardize new elements of the Spatial Web. The work necessarily involves the worldwide cooperation of hundreds of organizations and people who are each building parts of an interoperable system that benefits all.
NEWS FROM THE SEGOVIA MEETING
1. The Web Map Service (WMS) 1.2 was approved for adoption as a publicly available OpenGIS Implementation Specification. In addition, WMS 1.2 has also has been submitted to the ISO TC 211 as a new work item.
2. As a result of an earlier member e-vote, the Web Coverage Service (WCS) 1.0 was approved as an adopted OpenGIS Implementation Specification.
3. The Web Terrain Service draft specification was approved for public release as a Request for Comment. A 30 day public comment period will start shortly.
4. The release of the Open Location Services core specification package (parts 1-5) as a publicly available Implementation Specification it to be put to an electronic vote by OGC members soon. OGC's new procedure requires that all members make any claims of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) used in the specification during the e-vote period. The final approved specification will be made public once this process is complete.
5. The Planning Committee approved the CITE testing framework and documents for WMS and Web Feature Service (WFS). These documents and the CITE automated testing capabilities will be available on line soon. CITE provides an automated set of tests for testing of software compliance with the WMS 1.1 and WFS 1.0 specifications along with a Geography Markup Language (GML) validator.
6. Look for some changes regarding OGC's testing program. The phrase "Certified Compliant" means that vendors have submitted their products to OGC's Compliance Testing Program, passed, and paid required fees. Details on the compliance testing process can be found at http://www.opengeospatial.org/resources/?page=testing. Visit http://www.opengeospatial.org/about/?page=ipr&view=guidanceltr for current guidelines on usage of OGC trademarks.
7. The creation of the Enterprise Architecture Special Interest Group (EASIG) was approved. Charter and mission documents will be drafted. The SIG, created as part of the OGC Planning Committee, will provide a forum for discussion on the relationship and integration OGC's work with geospatial standards and architecture with the broader information technology environment.
8. The OGC launched its new website during October. If you've not had a look, visit soon! http://www.opengeospatial.org . Comments and suggestions are always appreciated - contact us via the website: http://www.opengeospatial.org/about/?page=contacts.
IMPORTANT RESOURCE DOCUMENTS SUPPORT INTEROPERABILITY
- Confused about what "open" means? Not sure what vendors mean when they use the term? Not sure how "openness" impacts what OGC does as an organization and how it affects software developers, integrators and users?
OGC has answered those questions and more in a new white paper, "The Importance of Going 'Open'" available for download. http://www.opengeospatial.org/docs/2003/20030923_OpenWP.pdf
From the introduction: "In this paper we look at how peoples' needs for geographic information are served by OGC's 'opening' of geospatial information technology, and we show the crucial role that users play. We conclude that buyers of geoprocessing software, data and services should review their requirements and draft "open architectures" that lead to purchase of solutions that implement the appropriate OpenGIS Specifications."
- "Economic Benefits of Standardization" is the name of a study, completed in 2000, by DIN, the German Institute for Standardization, and the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Technology (BMWi). It highlights the benefits of standardization for business and the economy as a whole. Interesting reading. http://www.din.de/aktuelles/benefit.html
- The GINIE Book, GI in the Wider Europe is now published and available on the GINIE website. http://www.ec-gis.org/ginie
GINIE is a project funded by the Information Society Technologies Programme of the European Union, running from the 1st November 2001 to the 31st January 2004. Its main purpose is to support the development of a cohesive Geographic Information Strategy at the European level.
The purpose of the GINIE Book, GI in the Wider Europe, is to collect in one single volume the salient findings of the project as a whole and give structure to the lessons learned and the conclusions that need to be drawn.
OPEN SOURCE AND FREE OGC IMPLEMENTING SOFTWARE
Refractions announced the beta release of its WMS Client software for ArcView 3.X. http://www.refractions.net/wms/
The Open Planning Project released GeoServer 1.0.0, a full transactional Java implementation of the Web Feature Server specification. The software is freely available under the GPL 2.0 license. The release was built to serve as the reference implementation for the OGC's WFS 1.0 specification as part of the CITE (Conformance and Interoperability Testing and Evaluation) Initiative. It is built as a thin web services layer on top of the GeoTools2 (http://geotools.org) toolkit. The release can be downloaded directly here (http://geoserver.sourceforge.net/html/index.php).
GEO-INTEL DEMONSTRATION RESOURCES ONLINE
The Geospatial Intelligence Interoperability Demonstration was integrated into the GEO-INTEL 2003 Exhibition held in New Orleans earlier this month. It included multiple themes designed to help attendees visualize the challenges facing Geospatial Intelligence, imagine what is possible, and foster the notion of responsibility for creating an agile, interoperable future. Discussion of the themes, documents and screenshots of applications from the demonstration are available online.
Conformance & Interoperability Testing & Evaluation Initiative (CITE)
As noted above, testing framework and documents for WMS and WFS were approved, will soon be online. http://www.opengeospatial.org/initiatives/?iid=65
OGC Web Services (OWS-2
The OWS-2 RFQ is expected in November. http://www.opengeospatial.org/initiatives/?iid=7
Emergency Mapping Symbology (EMS-1)
The RFQ for Emergency Mapping Symbology Initiative, described last month, is expected this November. The Initiative is still
looking for additional Sponsors.
eSpatial Inc provides an advanced development and deployment environment for embedded spatial applications and Web services for use in a standard enterprise IT architecture. eSpatial joined the OGC to support our customers needs for open standards. We want to leverage OGC's important published standards to support interoperability and the sharing of geospatial data across organizational boundaries.
Our products currently support the import and export of files in GML and Oracle Spatial formats as well as the OGC's WMS standard.
Vice President of Business Development
OGC welcomes new members who joined us recently.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
GIS Centre, Lund University (Sweden)
OGC IN THE NEWS
OGC in the Press
E-Government Initiatives Adapt to Geospatial Technology
OGC's WMS Cookbook: Recipes for Web Mapping
Map Data Is Wrongly Handled
Oct 17, 2003
Interoperability - Bonus or Necessity ?
Oct 8, 2003
Safe Software Announces FME® Spatial Data Provider Server
October 2, 2003
OGC Press Releases
OGC Seeks Sponsors for Emergency Mapping Symbology Initiative
Oct 3, 2003
OGC Prepares the United States Census Bureau for a New Era
Oct 3, 2003
November 13-14, 2003
The GENIE Final Conference
November 13-14, 2003
Geospatial Interoperability for Managers Class (2-Day):
December 1-2, 2003
Santa Barbara, CA
Critical Transportation Infrastructure (CTI)
Dec. 7-12, 2003
January 12-16, 2004
New York, NY
OGC Technical and Planning Committee Meetings
January 30- 7 February 2004
For further info on events please contact gbuehler [at] opengeospatial.org (Greg Buehler).
Please send comments and suggestions to:
adena [at] opengeospatial.org (Adena Schutzberg)
Editor, OGC News
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Copyright 2003 by the Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.