OGC Newsletter - August 2006
News From GeoWeb 2006
News and Opinion From The Blogosphere
Website of the Month
New Members, OGC In The News, Events, Contact, Subscribe/Unsubscribe
Back issues of OGC News are available.
Sensor Web Standards Ready to Implement
At the recent OGC Technical and Planning Committee meetings in Edinburgh, I was delighted to collaborate with the OGC members and invited guests to witness an important milestone regarding a new open standards framework for sensors. The OGC membership is voting to approve four key Sensor Web Enablement (SWE) specifications. These documents have been available to the public for some time in near-final form. Final release as version one and formal public release as OpenGIS® Implementation Specifications will happen later this year.
-- The OpenGIS Sensor Model Language (SensorML), (OGC Best Practices Document) provides the general models and XML encodings for sensors.
-- The OpenGIS Sensor Observation Service, (OGC Discussion Paper) provides an API for managing deployed sensors and retrieving sensor data.
-- The OpenGIS Sensor Planning Service, (OGC Discussion Paper) provides a standard interface to collection assets (i.e., sensors, and other information gathering assets) and to the support systems that surround them.
-- The OpenGIS Transducer Markup Language (TML) (Adopted Implementation Specification, version 0) provides a method and message format for describing information about transducers and transducer systems and capturing, exchanging, and archiving live, historical and future data received and produced by them.A transducer is actually any device which converts a physical quantity into an electrical signal. Examples include thermocouples and photocells.
By the end of August, these specifications will be at "Version 0" status. The sensor teams will then edit the documents to reflect the comments and questions asked during a formal public comment period.
Other OGC Discussion Papers provide additional information and inspiration for sensor web developers. The OpenGIS Web Notification Service, Geo Video Web Service, Observations and Measurements, and the Sensor Web Enablement Architecture documents have all been developed as part of various OGC activities. OGC members have striven to make these emerging standards consistent with the other SWE specifications and with other OGC Web Services.
These specifications represent a major step forward in terms of being able to discover, describe, access, and task sensors that are internet or web accessible. Nothing could have a greater impact on the world of real-time sensor applications than these SWE specifications. Examples of where the SWE standards can be used are:
-- In government, these standards meet critical needs in emergency management and response, Homeland Security, border security, and critical infrastructure protection, environmental monitoring, and defense to name a few. Local to national sensor networks for security cannot reasonably be harnessed except via an open architecture, and SWE standards provide many of the key elements to achieve such architectures.
-- In scientific research domains that depend on arrays or webs of real-time sensors, scientists are recognizing the value of the SWE specifications. In disciplines such as oceanography, meteorology, and air chemistry experimentation and early implementations are already in use, including in the GALEON Interoperability Experiment. Scientists who have been using the Internet for twenty years or more naturally recognize the value of open Web-based approaches to sharing data and expensive data acquisition assets.
-- In industry, the market for integrated real-time data acquisition sensor networks continues to grow as profitability demands automation and as devices become smaller, cheaper and faster and as physical network options proliferate. Many of the same technology choice issues apply here that apply in private sector enterprise solutions: Businesses want to get maximum value from their legacy assets while bringing in best-of-breed products now and staying flexible with respect to future technology choices. This is why open systems are attractive and why SWE-based open sensor networks are attractive.
This work has benefited greatly from collaborative activities between OGC and other key standards development organizations (SDOs) that have also been addressing sensor standards. On behalf of Consortium members, my thanks to IEEE Technical Committee 9 for its coordination on IEEE P1451 Smart Sensor standards. I also acknowledge OASIS for its coordination in the area of Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) and Emergency Data Exchange Language (EDXL). Continued coordination between OGC, IEEE, OASIS and other standards development and professional organizations will be imperative if we are to ensure that our collective work is complementary and meets the needs of a broad set of business, government, and consumer communities.
Some have raised questions about security of data on open sensor webs, potential loss of privacy with the growth of such networks, and management of rights to such data. These issues are part of the larger ongoing public debate about digital security, privacy, and rights. In most cases, sensor web security, privacy and digital rights management can be addressed with implementations of the same security, privacy and digital rights management solutions that concerned users are demanding across the broader IT environment. In fact, OGC members have already integrated and tested a number of open standards based security and rights capabilities in OGC standards development programs. We believe that the benefits to society of an open framework for sensor webs far outweigh the risks to society. We hope that others who care about these issues will join in our discussions and join in the "steering" of these technologies through our consensus process and the processes of our alliance partners.
NEWS FROM GEOWEB 2006
More than 235 geospatial professionals attended the GeoWeb 2006 training and conference the last week of July and heard presentations by executives from Microsoft, Google, Mercurial Communications, Oracle and Autodesk.
Galdos, Inc has run GeoWeb 2006 for five years. The event began as GML Development Days, morphed to GML and Web Services Days and expanded this year to GeoWeb.
Steven Lawler, General Manager, Virtual Earth for Microsoft Corporation; Kurt Cagle, author and technical architect of the Metaphorical Web blog; and Michael Jones, Chief Technical Officer of Google Earth gave keynote addresses. All three keynotes and several plenary presentations are available at the event website.
Raj Singh, Director of the OGC Interoperability Program conducted a WFS workshop and made a GeoRSS presentation. Sam Bacharach, Executive Director of Outreach for OGC participated in a panel discussion about opens standards. Topics for the presentations included many on the use of OpenGIS Geography Markup Language and other OGC specifications as well as KML, and other proprietary standards. OGC supported the event as a conference associate
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.
Ed Parsons, CTO of Ordnance Survey, but not representing that organization in his blog, Ed Parsons.com, addresses the new Simple Feature Profile for GML.
"As I blogged a year ago I have been a supporter of the moves to simplify Geographic Markup Language (GML). There are good technical reasons, in particular making feature streaming practical, that require a simpler vocabulary than the full GML 3 specification.
"But we must also realise that there is a major perception issue that GML is too verbose and just plain difficult. This is of course an over simplification of the facts and may have been driven by some vendors comments in the past, but perception has becomes reality.
"In this context it is good to see the OGC in the form of Sam Bacharachs' article in Directions Magazine evangelising on the potential of the simple features spec of GML. I would argue that this is just what we need the OGC to be doing, it needs to get out and really explain why the use of open standards is important, and not be seen to be merely as a club for standards enthusiasts."
In his blog, Dan Karran ponders and implements Druple (an open source content management platform, one used at OGC, by the way) as WFS server of sorts.
"In GIS, the term 'layer' is usually used to group together geographic information relating to the same kind of feature, e.g. forests, places or roads. These are often stored in different files or different tables in a database. In Drupal the equivalent concept is a little more flexible and fine-grained. All of the information is stored in one place (with the ability to extend a basic piece of information with extra attributes) and can be filtered by any number of 'tags' that may be assigned to different pieces of information.
"Using a WFS server as an interface to data held in Drupal would mean that systems would have access to any number of geographic datasets simply by combining tags to retrieve the data that they need."
The anonymous author at Thoughts and Code is working on a project for client that looks and acts like Google Maps. It's built fully on OGC standards, per the author.
"It is not yet perfect and things are still missing but I believe it is on a good track. If anybody interested I publish SLD (Style Layer Descriptor) files for download. Everything here is done with open standards from the OGC, thanks to GeoServer and PostGIS (BTW, everything on a Mac)."
WEBSITE OF THE MONTH
Those involved in these topics are invited to comment and, if interested contribute content.
OGC welcomes new members who joined us recently.
EKO Group S.r.l. (Italy)
Intelligence Collection Group (ICG)(UK)
United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UK)
University of Potsdam (Germany)
OGC IN THE NEWS
- OGC in the Press
Cadcorp to Launch Latest Versions of Products at AGI2006
Aug 1, 2006
CarbonTools PRO for .NET Now Available
July 21, 2006
ESRI Announces Enhanced Standards Support
July 26, 2006
LizardTech Focuses on Emerging Technologies in the Geospatial Industry at GeoWeb 2006
July 19, 2006
eSpatial Announces Availability of New Version of Flagship Product: iSMART 5.1
July 18, 2006
The GML Simple Feature Profile and You
July 12, 2006
Serving CityGML to a larger audience
July 10, 2006
GeoServer 1.3.2: FOSS server for Google Earth
July 6, 2006
The Countryside Agency adopt Getmapping's Imagexpress WMS service
July 19, 2006
- OGC Press Releases
The OGC(R) Releases GeoRSS White Paper
July 24, 2006
The OGC(R) Releases Sensor Web Enablement White Paper
July 24, 2006
Simon Cox Receives Gardels Award
July 19, 2006
September 12-15, 2006
FOSS4G2006 - Free And Open Source Software for Geoinformatics
September 26, 2006
IEEE GEOSS Workshop
The User and the GEOSS Architecture VI
October 2-6, 2006
Tyson's Corner, Virginia
OGC Technical and Planning Committee Meetings
November 14-15, 2006
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
ISO/TC 211 23th Plenary
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.