OGC Newsletter - November 2003
OGC Resources Now Include Internship Project
OGC GOS Portal Open
IP Update, Member Corner, New Members, OGC In The News, Events, Contact, Subscribe/Unsubscribe
Back issues of OGC News are available.
The Return on Investment in OGC
What's the value proposition that drives our members to engage in the OGC process?
For user organizations with interoperability issues -- such as government agencies at all levels -- the value of membership lies in reduced technology risk, better ability to leverage the value of legacy data and systems, and more efficient information sharing. For developers and integrators, the value proposition is often about reduced development costs, reduced time to market, improved ability to quickly penetrate new markets, and improved customer satisfaction.
Development and implementation of open standards would be virtually impossible to achieve with conventional contracting practices. The OGC consensus process provides a forum in which geospatial technology users and providers work together to define, test, and maintain standards for the benefit of the entire user community. OGC is the only place for user organizations to do this, to easily and legally work together with industry to identify interoperability requirements and to test industry's willingness to address these requirements through open standards. Further, by working together, the cost for development of OpenGIS Specifications(R) is shared across the community. Such cost sharing could never be achieved through conventional user/vendor contractual relationships.
The practical benefits of membership in such a consortium are "collaboration," "knowledge" and "choice". Users' participation in OGC gives them first hand knowledge of interoperability issues, specifications, products and providers. Because open interfaces open the market, users can choose from a broader, more competitively priced array of offerings. When organizations buy standards-based commercial, off-the-shelf software (SCOTS) or extend their legacy systems to use OpenGIS specifications, they clearly benefit. They are better able to integrate data from multiple sources, insert new technologies, and reduce technology life cycle costs by avoiding vendor lock-in, expensive custom solutions and associated maintenance costs. Organizations may discover that their choices include open source and freeware.
How do we know this process is working? In 1999, six sponsors provided limited resources to develop, test, and demonstrate the first OpenGIS Web Map Server Specification (WMS). Sixteen participants were selected by sponsors to provide in-kind contributions. Those contributions leveraged the sponsors' contributions by a factor of four. After the testbed ended, members adopted the WMS and released it to the public in the spring of 2000. The real return on investment can be seen in the marketization of the WMS interface since that time: Almost 100 software products implement the WMS interface (see OGC's "Registered Products" page, visit the OGC website, click on Resources).
Other OpenGIS Specifications have followed the same successful course. For example, 29 products implement the newer OpenGIS Web Feature Service Specification (WFS) and 12 implement the Catalog Interface Specification -- and there are many others. (See the "Registered Products" page of the OGC website.) In addition, prior to release of the OpenGIS Open Location Services 1.0 Specification, Autodesk, ESRI, Intergraph/IntelliWhere, Kivera, MapInfo and Webraska have all implemented part or all of the specification in their location based services product lines.
Developers join OGC and work in the Interoperability Program for the return on investment that comes through reduction in development cost and time to market, and through the ability to penetrate new markets with their standards-based offerings. Niche application providers can offer products that work with multiple vendors' product suites. This benefits both the niche application and product suite providers, because together they can offer their customers more. The integrators' return on investment derives from an increased ability to quickly assemble components from multiple vendors into customer solutions. And of course, as prices fall and integration of geoprocessing into diverse applications and architectures becomes easier, the market grows for both vendors and integrators.
Who's buying? Our "OGC User" online magazine has publicized deployments by the U.S. states of Arkansas and Massachusetts (MassGIS); the state of Vaud, Switzerland; the New South Wales Australia Community Access to Natural Resources Information (CANRI) program; the Canadian Forestry Service and the City of Copenhagen. You will become familiar with these and many others, because now that we have many specifications adopted and others certain to be adopted in 2004, our focus is on OGC's Outreach and Community Adoption Program getting the word out. That's another membership benefit: We will increase the value of every OpenGIS compliant product and every customer site by promoting and expanding the Spatial Web.
OGC RESOURCES NOW INCLUDE INTERNSHIP PROJECT
The OGC has developed an outreach program that enables organizations looking for qualified interns to work on interoperability challenges and college students seeking internships with interests in that area, to find each other. An OGC supported electronic bulletin board helps the two groups match requirements with skills. A form is provided that captures the various interests, skills, availability of the student, and the openings offered and skill set required by the organization, along with contact information for both parties.
The goal of the project is to assist students who are seeking careers in the geospatial industry in finding positions that meet their skills and interests and to help organizations seeking geospatial expertise to find individuals to fill their needs. The expectation is that the sponsoring organization gains competent help in addressing geospatial work while the student gains mentoring, experience and, in some cases, a thesis or dissertation topic and guidelines for research.
OGC currently has many application forms from students who are seeking positions of this nature, but relatively few offers from organizations looking for this type of relationship. We'd like to encourage broader participation by organizations, both members and non-members, who are working geospatial interoperability issues. (There is currently a fee of $35.00 required for non-member organizations to use the service to post internship opportunities.) Any candidate (individual, organization, institution, or company) proposing OpenGIS-related research, development, training, technology use, or implementation may use the program for the advancement of their research goals. Every individual submitting a properly filled-out individual form is granted access to the database of institutional forms. Every institution or organization submitting a properly filled-out template is granted access to the database of internship candidate templates.
The scope of the program extends only to the posting of information submitted by individuals and institutions (or organizations) and the maintenance of this information with changes submitted by the participants. Intern candidates and/or the intern employer candidates discover one another and work out the details.
OGC GOS PORTAL OPEN
The OGC Geospatial One-Stop Portal, the result of the initiative of the same name is now publicly available. The goal of the initiative was to create a standards-based architecture and prototype for a portal for geospatial information discovery, access, and mapping in the U.S. The portal is a "prototype" that provides a reference architecture and framework based on the tenants of interoperability and standards. Because it is a prototype, the portal includes a limited number of registered data sets, and may be unavailable from time to time for maintenance.
Compusult, CubeWerx, Galdos Systems, SAIC, Autodesk, Intergraph, PCI Geomatics, Sapient Technology, Questerra, Oracle and Northrop Grumman Information Technology contributed technology. Twelve standards and specifications in draft or final form were implemented and are in use in the portal.
The portal allows users to:
- discover, access, share and organize geospatial information and content;
- publish geospatial information and content so that others may be provided access; and,
- develop or use applications and toolkits to access portal services.
Conformance & Interoperability Testing & Evaluation Initiative (CITE)
Several test suites and resources are now available
OGC Web Services (OWS-2)
The OWS-2 RFQ is now available. A bidders conference is set for December 15, 2003 and responses are due January 9, 2004. Building on previous work in other OGC initiatives and technical working groups, selected OWS-2 participants will work collaboratively to extend and "ruggedize" existing and draft OpenGIS standards into a robust and complete interoperability framework for implementing a vendor neutral enterprise -- and enterprise-to-enterprise -- solutions in government and business. The work will address a rich set of requirements provided by OWS-2`s public and private sector sponsors. Sponsors include: The Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, NASA, Spot Image (France), Sun Microsystems, and other organizations.
Emergency Mapping Symbology (EMS-1)
The RFQ for Emergency Mapping Symbology Initiative is available. Responses are due by December 16, 2003.
At INT, we provide geospatial data visualization tools that are used to build applications in diverse industries, including oil and gas, telecommunications, defense, medical imaging, and finance. The applications are deployed in many different environments. For this reason, it is essential that we be able to easily access data across many types of networks and from a variety of data sources. By depending on an implementation of the OpenGIS Web Feature Service Specification (WFS) to handle the tough data transformation and transportation issues, we concentrate on what we do best...visualizing data.
We found that supporting the WFS standard, and using open source implementations like the Geoserver, reduced development costs and opened our product to new markets. Being able to leverage this technology allowed us to keep costs lower and provide more value to our customers without re-inventing the wheel on proprietary geo-spatial data transport systems.
OGC welcomes new members who joined us recently.
Traverse Technologies, Inc.
Trimble Navigation Ltd.
OGC IN THE NEWS
OGC in the Press
OGC Press Releases
One OpenGIS Specification Approved; One Released for Public Comment
Nov 10, 2003
OGC Announces Availability of Online Compliance Testing
Nov 07, 2003
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
March 28-30, 2004
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The GeoTec Event - Pathways to Integration:
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
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Copyright 2003 by the Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.