OGC Newsletter - March 2006
News and Opinion From The Blogosphere
Accessing the WMS through a Handheld Device
Website of the Month
IP Update, New Members, OGC In The News, Events, Contact, Subscribe/Unsubscribe
Back issues of OGC News are available.
Rolling out GML
Domains such as geospatial intelligence, transportation, real property, and utilities all work with a geospatial feature data, whether the data are traditional geospatial data or spatially-enabled business data. Each community has data that it would like to share internally, or share with other communities, or even share globally. When moving to Web service-based applications, many of these communities are taking advantage of GML (Geography Markup Language) to help them share and manage data within their community, and beyond. Never has the sharing and application of geospatial data benefited from such an extraordinary technology boost, and those who manage all kinds of data are beginning to recognize this. OGC members and others can now, using existing specifications, begin to offer their customers products, tools and consulting to help them understand and benefit from GML profiles and application schemas.
-- A GML profile is a restricted subset of the GML specification, which greatly simplifies development of many GML solutions. Member-approved profiles for points and simple features are currently available.
-- GML application schemas document the use of GML for encoding data models for a given information community. Examples are the eXploration and Mining Markup Language (XMML), a GML application schema for technical information associated with the mineral exploration and mining industry, and the GML application schema for the Aeronautical Information Exchange Model (AIXM).
Geospatial content sharing and coordination need to be viewed from a new perspective. When data coordination groups begin using GML, they see that it builds on all their previous work and removes many of the impasses that have frustrated their work.
Application schemas are best defined and agreed to, not by the OGC, but within specific information communities' standards organizations or committees. For example, S57GML could become a standard of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO). S57GML is written in GML but deals with nautical charting. In the same manner we also have AIXM GML in the aeronautical sector and geoRSS GML for news feeds, or LandGML for Land Survey.
GML both reduces the need for harmonizing data models and increases the ease of harmonizing data models. One of the wonders of OGC's suite of standards is that implementations of the OpenGIS(R) Web Feature Service Implementation Specification can automate the generation of GML application schemas from databases containing geospatial data. The data model in the database automatically lends its structure to the application schema.
Communities with little previous interest in geospatial technology are finding that they have an interest in GML. For example, electricians sometimes upgrade a building from a 200 amp to a 400 amp electrical service, and truck owners are installing in situ Web-connected oil monitoring equipment so that engine oil is changed no sooner or later than is optimal. The date of the electric service upgrade is important to people who care about machine life cycles, and the location of the truck in relation to maintenance stations and scheduled stops is important to truck owners. MIMOSA is a not-for-profit trade association dedicated to developing and encouraging the adoption of open information standards for operations and maintenance in manufacturing, fleet, and facility environments. MIMOSA is using a bit of GML to give its standards a proven and Web-ready temporal/spatial component that will be maximally interoperable with the diverse information systems of its diverse user and developer community.
This widening deployment of GML clearly creates market opportunities for the vendors and integrators in OGC who helped develop GML. It also creates opportunities for OGC's technology users, because their data are becoming useful to more communities, and more "neighboring" communities will now have data that are useful to them.
GML is one of the many standards that are making the Web an increasingly vast and useful reservoir of information and services. It is certainly an essential part of the "Spatial Web." Now, with the introduction of the Point and Simple Feature profiles and growing development and use of Application Schemas, GML adoption is accelerating. As with previous Web innovations, GML is helping its users become more efficient and capable. As with most Web innovations, GML leverages previous Web technologies, and like the best Web innovations, it looks ahead to what's coming such as improved registries and semantic processing and leverages those, too. This progress is all based on open, consensus-derived standards designed to work with other such standards.
NEWS AND OPINION FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE
Discussions of OGC specifications and interfaces are popping up all over the blogosphere (the world of blogs). A few posts worthy of note follow.
Anthony Kendal, a masters student at Michigan State writes a long essay about the state of mapping at his blog Anthonares, "Chronicling and Commenting on Human Progress."
"Wikipedia entries are increasingly being geo-tagged, and the use of open standards supported by Google Earth, World Wind, and the Open Geospatial Consortium will help to assure that any and all data will be accessible across platforms."
Simone Giannecchini's in Italy has a blog which offers some technical papers including several submitted to Fusion 2006, the 9th International Conference on Information Fusion. This paper may be particular interest: Supporting Interoperable Geospatial Data Fusion by Adopting OGC and ISO TC 211 Standards
Ron Lake discusses "The importance of profiles" in his GeoWeb blog.
"A great deal of noise has been made over the past year or two about the importance of profiles. In some cases it is to try and control some domain. In others it is to get a low entry bar to encourage specification adoption. In some cases it is an organization's attempt to put a particular spin on a specification or technology."
ACCESSING THE WMS THROUGH A HANDHELD DEVICE
Authors: Adena Schutzberg and Lance McKee
If you have a mobile device such as a BlackBerry 7520 or 7100i cell phone loaded with software called "Spot," you can download map images from any Web server that makes maps available through an implementation of the OpenGIS® Web Map Server (WMS) Specification.
Skylab Mobilesystems, the German software company that developed Spot, maintains an automatically generated global list of WMS servers on its website. The number of such servers as of June 11, 2005 was 913 and the number of layers was 307736. Not all these servers are open to the public, but growth in the numbers -- and in the practical value of Spot -- continues to rise at a rapid rate as the WMS standard grows in popularity.
Skylab Mobilesystems also provides a free OGC WMS-implementing client that is implemented in J2ME and specifically designed for mobile devices. It was developed as a demonstration of technology and does not include all the features of Spot. It supports zooming, scrolling, unlimited layer selection, and other features. A user manual is available in German and English.
Figure 1: BlackBerry 7520 is one mobile device supported by Spot.
BlackBerry cell phones include GPS, browser, email, instant messaging and personal organizer in a single handheld device. The 7520 has a PC-style 33-key QWERTY keyboard, and both models have displays big enough to make digital maps useful. Other mobile devices are supported by Skylab's SPOT software, including the Siemens S65, BlackBerry 7290, Palm III (using the midp4palm runtime), Tungsten T3 (IBM J9 VM for Palm OS) , Nokia 6600, Sony Ericsson T616 and iPAQ Pocket PC (running IBM J9 VM for PocketPC). Skylab Mobilesystems offers integration and development services.
Figure 2: Spot wayfinding navigation screen displaying map accessed
via a client that implements OGC's WMS specification.
Like some other GPS applications, Spot centers your current position on a map, panning across the image as you move. The difference is that with Spot, the map can be a street map, a topographical map or a satellite photo that the user has accessed (probably at no cost) through an open standard interface from a remote Web map server. Also like other GPS applications, Spot offers a routing feature for navigation that will guide you to a waypoint and give you information on the distance and estimated time of arrival. You can manually add waypoints and points of interest to mark locations or you can download them from the internet. They are then displayed on the device to simplify orientation. A built-in track-logger draws the distance you covered on the map.
Spot includes an integrated Google maps layer which can be used in combination with WMS layers, but Spot does not offer support on the Google feature.
Skylab also provides a desktop application called the Skylab GPS Simulator 1.1 which generates NMEA-0183 GPS sentences and can be used in a number of ways to support Spot applications, including taking data directly from a fully featured WMS client. Other functions include GPS multiplexing, GPS log file replaying, GPS interface transformation and remote GPS bridging.
Spot is surely a sign of things to come, as the accelerating trend toward location services converges with the accelerating trend toward use of OGC standards.
WEBSITE OF THE MONTH
IDEC: Geoportal of the Catalonia SDI
The IDEC project is a common initiative of the Cartographic Institute of Catalonia (ICC), the Department of Territorial policy and public works, the Secretariat for Telecommunications and Information Society, and the Department of Universities, Research and Information Society of the Generalitat de Catalunya, within the framework of the III Research Plan 2001-2004 and the Strategic Plan for the Information Society (Catalonia on the Network). It is actively supported and promoted by the Catalan Section of the Spanish Geographic Information Systems Association (AESIG).
Just a few of the many image and vector layers are show in this coastal area.
The viewer offers: downloads in GML, downloads of orthos, access to metadata catalog, thematic legends, control of transparency, gazetteer type search, more than 100 layers of data.
Know of a website that uses OpenGIS specifications to solve a real world problem or demonstrates an interesting use? Drop the adena [at] opengeospatial [dot] 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 - Phase 4 (OWS-4)
Potential sponsors of OWS-4 are working closely with OGC staff to move the effort forward. The second sponsor meeting was held at University College of London on March 1st and included about 15 organizations represented. The OGC appreciates the efforts of Jeremy Morely for hosting the event. Lew Leinenweber will be the OWS-4 Initiative Manager.
GALEON Interoperability Experiment (GALEON IE)
The OGC "Geo-interface for Atmosphere, Land, Earth, and Ocean netCDF" (GALEON) Interoperability Experiment supports open access to atmospheric and oceanographic modeling and simulation outputs. GALEON is currently completing its first phase. Results will be presented at the upcoming Huntsville Technical Committee meeting. The GALEON IE is considering a second IE phase and may create a node on the OGC Network. The OGC Network node will allow use of the WCS use for meteorological data as a persistent capability.
OGC welcomes new members who joined us recently.
Department of Homeland Security (United States)
OGC IN THE NEWS
- OGC in the Press
NGA Leads International Standards Effort
Pathfinder - The Geospatial Intelligence Magazine
January / February 2006
Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Officially Adopts the Geography Markup Language JPEG 2000 (GMLJP2) Standard Proposed by LizardTech and Galdos Systems
February 23, 2006
GO Publisher attains Compliance Certification
February 22, 2006
GeoServer 1.3 Official Release
February 16, 2006
Virtual globes: The web-wide world
Feb 16, 2006
The Mandate for Seamless CAD/Geospatial Information
Feb 15, 2006
Galdos Systems Inc and GITA to Present GeoWeb 2006
Feb 15, 2006
The Web Services Opportunity
The ROI of Geosciences Interoperability Standards
Myra Bambacus, Mark Reichardt
Restructuring Old Degrees
Dr Miguel-Angel Bernabé, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain
IONIC Software excels at the 4th GML Relay
January 26, 2006
- OGC Press Releases
OGC Announces RFQ to Extend Reference Implementation in Kentucky
February 14, 2006
OGC Approves GML in JPEG 2000 Specification
February 13, 2006
Australian Spatial Interoperability Project Wins Award
February 3, 2006
March 6-10, 2006
OGC Technical and Planning Committee Meetings
April 3-5, 2006
San Francisco, CA
Location Intelligence Conference 2006
April 23-26, 2006
GITA's Annual Conference 29
May 8-10, 2006
GID 2006 The Geospatial Cross-Intelligence Conference For Defense
May 25-56, 2006
ISO/TC 211 22th Plenary
June 18-21, 2006
June 21-23, 2006
12th EC GI & GIS Workshop
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 2006 by the Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.