OGC Newsletter - May 2006
News and Opinion From The Blogosphere
Website of the Month
IP Update, New Members, OGC In The News, Events, Contact, Subscribe/Unsubscribe
Back issues of OGC News are available.
The US Geospatial Enterprise Architecture Advances
The US Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has worked with the CIOs and IT departments of federal agencies to develop the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA). Among other things, the FEA provides guidance in planning agency-wide systems that save money and facilitate information sharing within and between agencies. The FEA embraces "Service Oriented Architecture" and "Web services." The FEA architects recognize that Web services are the way of the future because they make so much sense in terms of meeting information requirements and taking advantage of advances in compute speed, storage and bandwidth.
The geospatial profile of the FEA, called the Geospatial Enterprise Architecture (GEA), has been developed to optimally meet the geospatial service needs of all the US federal agencies. GEA Version 1.1 is now in active use, providing guidance to agency architects and CIOs. The GEA helps them clarify their organizations' requirements for geospatial information and plan the procurements needed to meet those requirements with open, service oriented solutions. It should be noted that the profile was developed with participation from state and local government representatives as well as federal agencies. There is a clear recognition that government enterprises need to interoperate vertically as well we horizontally.
Imagine the master electrician planning the electrical system for a new home: The location and type of wire, 120 volt or 220 volt outlets, switches, circuit breakers, maybe a photovoltaic panel, etc. depend on the requirements of the new home. The electrician makes dozens of decisions based on the home's requirements, but these decisions always comply with the electrical code of the country (in the U.S, the U.S. National Electrical Code), i.e., the open, non-proprietary standards established by the industry for the industry.
The FEA and GEA are like the U.S. National Electrical Code, except they are mainly for federal agencies, and they are guidelines, not rules. Nevertheless, they are, figuratively speaking, an important step away from each house having its own electrical code. The "loosely coupled" systems that agencies are building could not be coupled at all without the many assumptions that are set forth in this well thought out architecture of open interfaces, encodings and best practices.
We are hopeful about future progress, because Service Oriented Architectures based on open interfaces and encodings makes so much sense. Will local and state governments build architectures compatible with the FEA and the GEA? They'll have to. If they don't, how will better communication be possible in the next natural or man-made disaster? How will better regional collaboration on infrastructure and environment be possible? How else will they be able to afford IT modernization?
The General Services Administration (GSA) and the OMB announced recently that they seek additional input from industry, government (federal, state & local, and tribal), academia, and non-profit organizations to help the US government achieve its geospatial vision, goals and objectives. They have issued a Request for Information (RFI) titled "Geospatial Line of Business - Request for Information." OGC attended a GSA and OMB meeting on April 18th for those wishing to respond to the RFI. Responses are due by May 5.
We hope interested OGC members and others will respond to the RFI with their thoughts and recommendations. Also, because so much of the document points to issues related to interoperability, architecture and standards, the OGC is working on a coordinated response with its members.
As if to underscore what the GSA and OMB are doing, in April the highly regarded Digital Connections Council of the Committee for Economic Development issued a U.S. national policy recommendation called "Open Standards, Open Source and Open Innovation: Harnessing the Benefits of Openness."
The OGC is certainly in tune with the times, and these are exciting times. It's important to remember that the standards recommended in the FEA and GEA are largely the result of international efforts. In the European Renaissance, John "No man is an island" Donne and other Renaissance individuals broke out of old roles and established new networks of free association, supported by the proliferation of machine-made books. In this global age, humanity is embracing a new information technology that facilitates a richer network of connections between people and organizations. The single most important characteristic of our new information technology is open 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.
The anonymous Problem-Solving in Spatial Dimention blog addresses "Data_Format_Binded GIS Software."
"The trends in the opening and the sharing of the spatial data is closing the way of GIS vendors to make profit by binding their GIS software and their specific GIS data format.
"Many independent software vendors are now working on this. Some are working in the client side to make various spatial data be rendering and using in the GIS client software, and others are working on the spatial data interoperating architectures(for example ETL for spatial data), also more and more organizations are working for open spatial data following the OGC Standards."
Shoaib Burq, writing in the GeoLabs blog notes an early implementation of Sensor Alert Service.
"? the current CVS version [of MapServer] has already implemented partial support for Sensor Observation Service for enabling Sensor Webs. If you can't wait go a head and try it. So currently it's not generating an XML response to getCapabilities request but rather needs a predefined URL. This will change very soon, I'm sure. "
Jeff Thurston, writing at Vector One blog suggests that many people do not "get" WMS.
"I don't think WMS has yet been explained in simple terms - how maps can be constructed from different databases of information. Call me silly, but it is as simple as that - most average people 'don't get it'. A need exists to explain in low branded, low technical language to everyday people, what a WMS is doing and how it all comes together. The onus is on the WMS service and WMS creators to explain."
Matt Perry offers a quick tutorial on the distinction between open source and open standards at PerryGeo.
"Open source refers to software distributed with a license that allows access to view and modify the source code. There are also some other criteria but unrestricted access to the source code is the key component.
"Open standards refers to software-neutral specifications, usually developed collaboratively, to accomplish a technical goal."
Geoff Zeiss of Autodesk (an OGC member), wrote in his Between the Poles blog about the interoperability demo OGC presented at GITA last week.
"Ten vendors in the geospatial arena viewed and updated shared maps. ?Replete with news casts and simulated oil spills and noxious gas clouds, the demonstration showed how geospatial data could be shared live among geospatial products from most of the major vendors using open web services standards WMS/WFS/GML defined by the OGC. Not only was the demonstration extremely well presented, but the fact that OGC was able to achieve the cooperation of so many vendors is a remarkable accomplishment."
WEBSITE OF THE MONTH
A variety of organizations provided data about air, water, "landscape," noise, waste and more. Data providers include Aquatest, ATEM, Czech Hydrometeorological Institute, Czech Statistical Office, DHI Hydroinform, Public Health Authority of the City of Prague, Institute of Municipal Informatics of the City of Prague, Prague City Hall, Prague Services Company, Prague Water Supply and Sewerage Company, Design Institute of Transport and Engineering Constructions (PUDIS), National Institute of Public Health, Institute of Transport Engineering of the City of Prague, City Development Authority of the City of Prague.
The Atlas can be viewed via Java or HTML clients via the website or accessed via any WMS client from the server.
A section of a map of Prague's waste collection yards. Red yards are
free for Prague citizens, blue yards are free for Prague district citizens.
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 Service, Phase 4 (OWS-4)
The Request for Quotations/Call for Participation is out and responses are due May 5. The Interoperability Initiative, based on sponsor input, will focus on seven topics:
- Sensor Web Enablement (SWE): Standards for discovering and accessing Web-resident sensors
- Geo Processing Workflow (GPW): Development of GML Application Schemas and testing OWS in the larger Web service workflow environment
- Geo Decision Support (GeoDSS): Refining OWS as an open framework for DSS
- Geo-Digital Rights Management (GeoDRM): Standards to support geospatial DRM including underlying security standards.
- Computer Aided Design/Geospatial/Building Information Model integration (CAD/GIS/BIM)
- OGC Location Services (OpenLS): Extending OGC standards for Location Based Services
- Compliance Testing (CITE): Improving tools for testing compliance and interoperability of products and services that implement OGC standards
Global Earth Observing Systems of Systems (GEOSS)
OGC members continue to increase their participation in the Group on Earth Observations (GEO). GEO is the organization that is leading development of the Global Earth Observing Systems of Systems (GEOSS). Development of OGC's GEOSS Services Network (GSN) is the basis for demonstrations at six GEOSS User Workshops in 2006. GSN is a portion of OGC's contributions to the GEO 2006 Work Plan Tasks. OGC is leading one GEO 2006 Task and contributing to several others.
If your organization is interested in contributing to the technical development of GEOSS based on open standards for geospatial interoperability, contact George Percivall.
For more information about the Interoperability Program, contact percivall [at] opengeospatial.org (George Percivall).
OGC welcomes new members who joined us recently.
Advanced Computer Systems S.p.A. (Italy)
Mapsolute GmbH (Germany)
Sejong University (Korea)
Tamimi Consulting (Saudi Arabia)
OGC IN THE NEWS
- OGC in the Press
LandVoyage Announces New FetchConnect WMS Technology
April 25, 2006
Emerging Geospatial Trends Revealed in OWS-4 Testbed
4th GML Relay
Generic GML 3 Database Import Tool and FREE Viewer Now Available
April 6, 2006
- OGC Press Releases
The OGC® Seeks Comment on Geospatial Catalog Application Profile
April 20, 2006
OGC® and IAI Join Forces to Advance Joint Standards
April 13, 2006
The OGC® Announces Call for Participation in OWS-4 Testbed
April 11, 2006
OGC® Requests Public Comment on Sensor Web Enablement Specifications
April 5, 2006
The OGC® invites public comment on candidate Geospatial Digital Rights Management (GeoDRM) Reference Model
April 3, 2006
May 4, 2006
The Next Generation - Situational Awareness
May 8-10, 2006
GID 2006 ? The Geospatial Cross-Intelligence Conference For Defense
May 16-17, 2006
Camp Hill, PA
The Pennsylvania GIS Conference
May 25-56, 2006
ISO/TC 211 22th Plenary
June 21-23, 2006
12th EC GI & GIS Workshop
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 2006 by the Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.