OGC Newsletter - May 2005
New from the Frascati Meeting
Conference Deadlines Approach
Website of the Month
IP Update, New Members, OGC In The News, Events, Contact, Subscribe/Unsubscribe
Back issues of OGC News are available.
The Coming Revolution in "Academic GIS"
First there were maps, then there was GIS, now there is the evolving Spatial Web. Part of the Spatial Web is a growing global online library of spatial information and services that teachers, students and researchers can use to publish, find and apply spatial data. This on-line data and service resource is a fresh breeze blowing through the computer rooms and GIS labs where students are often left to continually re-process old data sets in support of their studies in geomatics, statistics, urban planning and related disciplines. Many of those students will graduate into a working world of rich, geospatial Web services. Hopefully they will have some preparation. But, providing access to a distributed archive of geodata stores and geoprocessing services is not just about preparing students for the future. It is a matter of moving science into the Internet Age.
Getting more value from data
The Internet is very much a child of science, but consider the progress we are not yet realizing in many academic settings. Science depends on shared data and research transparency. Scientists generate huge amounts of data in their research. Rarely is anything published except the research results and conclusions, including statistical summaries of their data. In the Internet Age, there are strong arguments for providing access to intermediate data and associated analyses online with full metadata so that others asking similar or different questions might benefit from the collected data. These may comprise map layers, geographic features, gridded coverages or other geospatial bits and pieces that are secondary to the original inquiry. Preparing the community to be able to discover and apply these nuggets of valuable information is an important goal. There are no doubt challenging policy issues involved in sharing of intermediate data and analysis, but nevertheless the ability to more readily discover and apply this information to other research is an inviting proposition.
Many geographic studies are worth repeating at intervals to understand what is studied with respect to change -- that is, undertaking longitudinal studies in which methods are rigorously the same over time. This would be supported by making data and metadata -- including acquisition and processing methods -- accessible and discoverable via a public catalog, and employing Web services to discover, view, access and process them.
Furthermore, online, standards-based Web service access to geospatial data, metadata, schemas, and catalogs will support a heightened level of inter-institutional and interdisciplinary collaboration. Those who collaborate now using a common proprietary platform already enjoy some of this benefit. These believers in digital sharing need to consider how much more they could do if the open, global, spatially-enabled Web were their platform for collaboration. By connecting to a larger and more dynamic network, they would boost their contribution to science, and also their contribution to policy, education, public awareness and environmental management.
Geospatial standards aid scientific verification
A number of our university colleagues have noted the importance of interoperability in assuring repeatability and verification of results obtained using GIS. That is, GIS needs improvement with respect to rigorous application of the scientific method. Open interfaces (and perhaps also open algorithms) are a necessary part of this progress. Geographers would benefit from a consensus process to discuss, develop and characterize interfaces and algorithms relevant to common areas of geographic inquiry.
Sharing data models and application schemas
Researchers and practitioners in many fields would also benefit from a Web-mediated consensus process to develop essential shared data models and application schemas. Consider the importance, for example, of consistent technique in water quality testing and reporting, and imagine this body of technique documented as a spatial data model. Every scientific Information Community that uses spatial data could benefit from a portal for efficient data model management and for discovery and use of data in their domain. This type of consensus process, and tools to facilitate it, have already been established in national and international framework data coordination efforts.
Sensor web advances
Take one more step and imagine online, automated water quality sensors and other kinds of sensor networks. The OGC Sensor Web Enablement (SWE) initiative can be an extraordinary boon to scientific research and an agent for "spatially enabling" many research areas that previously have not been amenable to complex spatial analysis. A critical OGC specification for the research community is Observations and Measurements. O&M is a robust, universal XML encoding for virtually any kind of observation and measurement related to environmental, agricultural or earth science data. What an extraordinary tool for the advancement of science!
The academic bottom line
If this idealistic appeal to the advancement and fruitful application of science isn't persuasive, look again at the bottom line. Academic departments will get more geospatial benefits for less money with Web services, and their students will have many new opportunities for study and research, and new career paths as well. Making spatial capabilities available to every computer user creates additional demand for geoprocessing expertise. It also creates more awareness of the importance of looking at problems from a geographic perspective, and the importance of geoanalytical rigor, which is good for geography departments. And faculty and students who participate in the development of the specifications that underlie the capabilities incompletely described above will be advancing their careers by working at a key frontier in geospatial technology.
If you are reading this as you read the OGC News, you probably are among those who already see the potential. I invite you to forward this message to your friends and colleagues in academia. Please invite them to attend our next meetings, June 13 - 17 in St John's, Newfoundland, Canada.
NEW FROM THE FRASCATI MEETING
The April 2005 OGC Technical (TC) and Planning Committee (PC) meetings were held in Frascati, Italy from April 4 through the 8th. The meeting were sponsored and hosted by European Space Agency (ESA/ESRIN). The key actions and votes from the meetings are:
1. Formation of new revision working groups for Catalogue, Simple Features, and Open Location Services.
2. The TC and PC voted to release the document "Server Architecture Models for the National Spatial Data Infrastructures (NSDI)" as an official OGC White Paper.
3. The TC and the PC voted to release the following documents as OGC Discussion Papers:
- Enterprise Architecture documents on Discovery, Collaboration, Mediation, and Enterprise Service.
- A point profile for the Geography Markup Language (GML)
- OGC Web Services 2.0 Interoperability Program report titled, "Application Schema Development".
- The WMS and WFS Change Request Proposals for SOAP bindings.
4. The TC and the PC votes to release the following documents as OGC Recommendation Papers:
- 19115/19119 and ebRIM profiles of Catalog 2.0.
- Recommended (GML) XML encoding of image CRS Definitions 5. The TC and the PC voted to issue an electronic vote for the GML 3.1.1 bundle. This minor release is focused on correcting issues with the schemas that prevented proper validation.
5. The TC and the PC approved a new policy for translation of OpenGIS(R) interface specifications.
Chief Technology Officer
CONFERENCE DEADLINES APPROACH
OGC's Greg Buehler will serve as conference chair for GITA's Annual Conference 29 "No Barriers: Connected. Responsive. Prepared" set for April 23-26, 2006 in Tampa, Florida. This is an opportunity to promote OGC in all aspects of this conference. The Call for Papers and Online Abstract Submission Form are available. The Call for Papers abstract deadline is May 24, 2005.
The First International Conference on Geospatial Semantics (GeoS 2005) will be held 29-30 November 2005, Mexico City, Mexico. The deadline for paper submissions is May 25, 2005.
WEBSITE OF THE MONTH
All of the websites and data services profiled thus far in this space are free and open to the public. Does that mean that OGC's specifications are only used in non-commercial areas? Hardly. Several for-profit companies offer their data via OGC-defined services for a fee. Supporting an open standard simply means making content available more easily to more potential customers.
CustomWeather has been offering different weather layers including real-time lightning strike data since 2004. "CustomWeather provides an OpenGIS ®-based framework that can seamlessly and easily fit into any Geographic Information System (GIS)."
GlobeXplorer makes its extensive image catalog available via WMS. "We've been at the forefront of this breakthrough since its inception, providing Open Geospatial Consortium WMS services that are fully compatible with ESRI, MapInfo, AutoCAD, Intergraph or just about any WMS-enabled client."
TopoZone offers its data via WMS: "Many Web mapping servers can act as OGC WMS clients and draw TopoZone's topographic and aerial photographic data into their own systems. You can add a library of nearly 20 Terabytes of maps and imagery to your mapping server "
Know of a website that uses OpenGIS specifications to solve a real world problem or demonstrates an interesting use? Drop the adena [at] opengeospatial.org (editor) an e-mail with the details including the URL, organization behind the website, specifications used, technology used and the goal of the website.
OGC Web Services Interoperability Initiative, Phase 3 (OWS-3) Kickoff Meeting
The kickoff meeting of OWS-3 was held April 19-21 at the Oracle training facility in Reston, Virginia. Jack Pellicci, OGC Board of Directors, provided an opening welcome and challenge to the group. Thanks to Oracle for hosting the OWS-3 Kickoff. Thanks to BAE-Systems for supplying a lunch for everyone at the kickoff.
About 60 people met in plenary each morning, focusing on these topics: OWS-3 overview, sponsor direction, catalogs for OWS-3, workflow in OWS-3, and OWS-3 demonstrations. Sponsor comments were provided by: BAE Systems, National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA), National Technology Alliance (NTA), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and others. NTA provided an entertaining video on the GUARD program produced by Channel 13 of NYC providing a new way to define use cases.
The bulk of the kickoff consisted of breakout sessions for the five OWS-3 threads: Common Architecture, Sensor Web Enablement, Geo-Decision Support Services, Geo-Digital Rights Management, and OpenLS.
OWS-3 will be developed by eighteen organizations selected for cost-share funding. We are grateful that four organizations are participating fully in-kind. Chuck Heazel is the OWS-3 Initiative Manager. The architecture team is John Davidson, Nadine Alameh, Josh Lieberman, and Steve Smyth. Flip Dibner is leading the demo team.
Status of OGC Interoperability Experiments
- Web Processing Service (WPS) IE is nearing completion focusing on final documentation and demonstration.
- GML in JPEG 2000 IE is progressing through a series of individual tests ranging from a minimum instance to complex encoding of imagery and related features.
- Geospatial Semantic Web IE Activity Plan was approved. The GSW IE Press Release generated numerous inquiries from members and non-members. The kickoff meeting is scheduled.
- Sensor Alert Service IE Activity Plan has been prepared to the Review Board. Agreement forms are being completed.
For further information about these and other initiatives visit the initiatives website or contact gpercivall [at] opengeospatial.org (George Percivall), Executive Director, Interoperability Architecture.
OGC welcomes new members who joined us recently.
Applied Innovation Inc. (U.S.)
Defense Modeling & Simulation Office (U.S.)
Department of Lands (New South Wales, Australia)
Earth Data Solutions (U.S.)
ESTI MAP (Russia)
Generalitat Valenciana (Spain)
North Carolina Dept. of Environment & Natural Resources (U.S.)
Refractions Research Inc. (Canada)
OGC IN THE NEWS
- OGC in the Press
Carbon Project Supports GSDI with CarbonTools Open-Geospatial Toolkit
May 6, 2005
Galdos Systems Inc, Vinditec deliver Web Catalogue to Institut Cartografic de Catalunya
May 5, 2005
IONIC selected by Danish National Survey and Cadastre
May 4, 2005
Galdos Systems delivers AML Extension to UKHO S-57 GML Application schema
May 2, 2005
Open Geospatial Standards and .NET A Recipe for Uptake
May 1, 2005
GIS and Geospatial Technology in the Information Age A New Perspective
May 1, 2005
RightWebMap 7.0 from ER Mapper provides integrated solution for Web GIS and image services
April 22, 2005
Carbon Project Announces Success at First Open-Geospatial Development Workshop
April 21, 2005
Galdos Systems Inc, InCom Korea deliver traffic information solution to Korea Telecom
April 20, 2005
IONIC Supports Eurocontrol in Aeronautical GeoSpatial Interoperability
April 12, 2005
JPEG 2000: Good Things in Smaller Packages
Jonathan W. Lowe
Sensor Data Are Spatial Data
TeIDE SDI consortium goes global
April 11, 2005
gvSIG: Open Source GIS and Spatial Data Infrastructures. It's About Time
- OGC Press Releases
OGC Membership Approves Six New Specifications
May 5, 2005
OGC announces Risk and Crisis Management Working Group
May 2, 2005
Global Spatial Data Infrastructure Conference held in Cairo
April 29, 2005
OGC to Begin Geospatial Semantic Web Interoperability Experiment
April 12, 2005
May 26 - 28, 2005
AGILE 2005 Conference
May 30 - June 2
2005 GISPLANET 2005
June 6-9, 2005
Sensors Expo and Conference
June 9-10, 2005
ISO/TC 211 20th Plenary
June 13 - 17, 2005
St John's, Newfoundland, Canada
OGC Technical and Planning Committee Meetings
June 16-18, 2005
Open Source Geospatial. '05
June 29 - July 1, 2005
11th EC-GI & GIS Workshop, ESDI: Setting the Framework
July 4-15 2005
Fiesole (Florence) Italy
3rd annual Vespucci International Summer School on GI Science
July 6-8, 2005
ISO/TC 211 21th Plenary
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 2005 by the Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.