OGC Newsletter - October 2006
News From The Tyson's Corner Meeting
Statistics Canada Releases Free Road Network File 2006 In GML
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.
Fit for Purpose Microformats
At a recent keynote address, I spoke about various technology and market tensions that are powerful forces impacting and reshaping our geospatial discipline. I also spoke of the implications these powerful forces will have on how we shape and create standards for the global geospatial community. Many of these tensions and associated market forces are the same ones that are driving the evolution of the Web (known as Web 2.0) and the integrated GeoWeb.
One tension that hits very close to home is a phenomenon of "fit for purpose," simple data encodings often referred to as "microformats." From the Microformats website, microformats are "designed for humans first and machines second, microformats are a set of simple, open data formats built upon existing and widely adopted standards. Instead of throwing away what works today, microformats intend to solve simpler problems first by adapting to current behaviors and usage patterns" (e.g. RSS, XHTML, blogging).
These formats are: developed quickly, very lightweight, limited in scope, semantically adequate in terms of the problem they solve, typically developed outside any standards organization, and permeate the structure of the Internet/Web much more rapidly than "traditional" standards do. These are characteristics of so many aspects of Web 2.0. The tension, or market force, to be considered is how (or does) a traditional standards setting organization such as the OGC fit into this development environment? A related example of this type of tension is the ascendancy of dynamic programming languages for Web development. In both instances, the key phrases are "open," "dynamic," "lightweight," "easy to implement," and "easy to learn."
Yes, microformats are built upon existing standards. This is good. However, from a standards setting organizations perspective, how do we respond to the requirements of the ever evolving, ever changing Web 2.0 community? Organizations such as the OGC are often viewed from the outside as "slow," "stodgy," "heavyweight," with standards that are "difficult to learn" and "hard to implement."
Well, being the eternal optimist, I see a strong synergy between what we in the OGC do and can do and what the "wild Web" is demanding. First, we have developed a standard, GML, that is becoming the cornerstone for many of the "geo" related microformats. Examples are the GML serialization of GeoRSS, the use of GML Point profile in the IEEE 1451 Standard, and the use of GML in the Presence Identity Data Format (PIDF - an internet RFC). In these cases, OGC staff and members have been involved with other key players in the broader IT domain to develop these microformats. However, all has not been rosy in terms of getting other groups to see the value of GML - for the reasons I stated above. Another key aspect of this synergy is that the OGC can learn and evolve our standards setting process based on the experiences of collaborations that have been developing microformats outside the OGC. We can streamline the process, create profiles of existing standards that are lightweight, much easier to learn and use, and change how we collaborate with outside organizations.
This synergy goes both ways. Collaborations that develop microformats outside a standards group can bring these specifications into a standards organization, such as the OGC. The external collaboration can quickly define, test, and implement a microformat and then submit the specification to a standards organization without giving up control or having that standards organization take control. Instead, the standards organization enables a broad spectrum of geospatial technology developers and technology consumers to review the microformat, provide input, and potentially approve that microformat as an international standard.
There is great value in having such branding: Many organizations simply will not use a microformat - no matter how good - unless it has the stamp of approval from a standards organization. The IT and Communications systems we all rely on are built on international standards, standards that have been vetted by an international community, standards that will be around and supported for many, many years. Another important point to consider is that standards organizations such as the OGC work hard to insure that our standards are unencumbered by intellectual property rights (IPR), restrictive patents, and other issues that can restrict or prevent the nondiscriminatory, widespread, free use of a standard. Furthermore, the OGC and other standards organizations act as catalysts to make sure that the availability of a standard is broadly communicated and made available to the global IT community.
For a microformat to truly succeed - as evidenced by takeup in both the traditional and non-traditional enterprises - requires the synergy between the dynamic world of the web 2.0 developer community and the more structured (but also dynamic) world of the traditional standards setting community.
Chief Technology Officer
Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.
NEWS FROM THE TYSON'S CORNER MEETING
The 58th OGC Technical Committee (TC) meetings provided a great venue where 34 Working Groups met over a four-day period. Sponsors ESRI (Gold), Autodesk (Silver), Boeing (Silver), and e|spatial (Silver) provided resources to make this a very successful meeting.
As always, there were numerous excellent presentations in the Working Group meetings. We also had four very informative presentations at the opening and closing plenaries:
- "Aeronautical Information eXchange Model (AIXM), GML, and Temporal" Brett Brunk (FAA) and Jeff Bell
- "Temporal Web Map Service: Exploiting Baseline OGC Web Services for Tracking and Locating Scenarios" Jeff Yutzler, Ionic Enterprise
- "NASA and Google partner to make geospatial information more universally accessible and useful" Chris Kemp, NASA
- "Location Services, Landmarks, Perception, and Routing - Implications for standards" Dr. Alexander Klippel, University of Melbourne
- "FGDC CSGDM Application Profile for Catalog Services for the Web (CS-W)" (06-129) as a Best Practices Paper.
- "EO Products Extension Package for ebRIM (ISO/TS 15000-3) Profile of CSW 2.0" (06-131) as an OGC Discussion Paper
- "WMS Application Profile for the Interactive Browse of EO Products" (06-093) as an OGC Discussion Paper.
- ISO 19123:2005 to replace the current version of OGC Abstract Specification, Topic 6 - Coverages, jointly developed by the OGC and ISO.
- "Geospatial Digital Rights Management Reference Model (GeoDRM RM)" (06-004r4) as an official topic volume of the OGC Abstract Specification.
- OWS Common version 1.1 as an official OpenGIS(R) specification.
- Simple Feature Access documents for Common Architecture and SQL Access (06-103r2 & 06-104r2) as approved OpenGIS Specifications, version 1.2.
- TransducerML (06-010r4) as an official OGC implementation specification, Version 1.0.
- Sensor Planning Service (05-089r3) as an official OGC implementation specification, Version 1.0.
- Sensor Observation Service (05-088r3) as an official OGC implementation specification, Version 1.0.
- SensorML (06-051r1) as an official OGC implementation specification, Version 1.0.
- "Web Coverage Service 1.1" (06-083r7) as an official OpenGIS specification, version 1.1.
STATISTICS CANADA RELEASES FREE ROAD NETWORK FILE 2006 IN GML
One of the key benefits of the new product is its format: standard Geography Markup Language (GML). This XML-based text format lends itself not only to use in commercial and open source GIS tools, but also to access using standard XML style sheets and tools for analysis, visualization and reporting. The GML standard leverages several modern internet standards and is a key component of the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure (CGDI). The availability of this core dataset as GML will provide additional momentum in the advancement of the CGDI.
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.
Jon at the Geoservice Oriented Architecture Blog notes that GeoRSS is an OGC standard.
"GeoRSS just became an OGC (Open Geospatial Consortium) standard on..."
Carl Reed, OGC CTO responds: "GeoRSS is not an OGC standard. The current GeoRSS Version 1 specification is the result of a collaboration of many individuals, including OGC staff and members. The intent is to take the work of the GeoRSS collaboration as defined in the Version 1 document into the OGC for discussion and feedback into the GeoRSS collaboration. Further, we would like to have GeoRSS version 1 approved as an international best practices statement for how to encode location into syndicated feeds (RSS)."
Guilhem Vellut writing at The Pochi Superstar Mega Show! shares what he learned at the FOSS4G conference in Switzerland held in September.
"The second conference [session] I went to was made by Raj Singh of the OGC and was about Lightweight SDI (Spatial Data Infrastructure). A few highlights of the talk: The 1.0 version of GeoRSS should be announced very very soon; The OGC is thinking about a WFS Basic, to have simpler (to use and implement) subset of the WFS functionalities; He also talked about standard tiling scheme for WMS."
Ron Exler writes in his blog The GeoFactor about the OGC Interoperability Day held last week in conjunction with other meetings going on in Vienna Virginia. He uses the term "fascinating" quite a bit in his two part overview. (1, 2)
WEBSITE OF THE MONTH
Live Weather (Australia)
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (ABM) developed the Live Weather spatially enabled weather information service. It uses OGC standards to offer Web services including Web Map Service and Web Feature Service (WMS/WFS) access to near real-time weather information. The weather data can also be accessed in spatial formats and encodings (e.g. shapefile or GML) for display or integration into a user's own spatial data and management systems.
Weather for the Northern Territory in early September 2006.
The "table of contents" for the Weather Data Viewer gives options to
turn on/off layers, view GML for that layer or view WMS image for that data.
Know of a website that uses OpenGIS specifications to solve a real world problem or demonstrates an interesting use? Or of a website that enhances the use and understanding of OGC's work? 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 welcomes new members who joined us recently.
Analytical Graphics, Inc. (US)
Carolinas HealthCare System (US)
Maptel Pty. Ltd. (Australia)
National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) (US)
NavisWorks Inc. (US)
Onuma, Inc. (US)
Research Center Karlruhe (Germany)
Research Institute / Not For Profit Institute
SAG, CeGIT, Center für GeoInformationsTechnologie (Germany)
Synergy Integration Ltd. (Israel)
TerraGo Technologies (US)
University of the Bundeswehr IT IS (Germany)
University of California at Davis (US)
University of Kansas (US)
Yale University (US)
OGC IN THE NEWS
- OGC in the Press
GML Profiles and Applications Build the GeoWeb
Sept 28, 2006-10-03
Discover the Significance of Sensor Webs
Sept 28, 2006-10-03
RFP Checklist: Geographic information systems
S. Michael Gallagher
Sept. 18, 2006
CCGIS becomes OGC Principal Member
Sept 7, 2006
OGC Sensor Web Enablement Standards
George Percivall and Carl Reed
Sensors and Transducers Journal
- OGC Press Releases
Mash-Up Event to Unite Leading Minds From the Geographic Information Industry
October 12, 2006
OGC Appoints European Business Development Director
October 6, 2006
OGC Seminar Will Demonstrate Benefits of Geospatial Interoperability
September 21, 2006
October 20, 2006
UK Geospatial Mash-Up (pdf)
November 13-16, 2006
November 14-15, 2006
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
ISO/TC 211 23th Plenary
November 27-29, 2006
Torrejon air base - Madrid (Spain)
ESA-EUSC 2006: Image Information Mining for Security and Intelligence
December 11-14, 2006
San Diego, CA
OGC Technical and Planning Committee Meetings
January 22-25, 2006
Map World Forum
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.