OGC Newsletter - December 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.
The OGC's Global and Regional Focus
The OGC, now with over 330 members, grows increasingly international. More than half of our members are from countries outside of North America. We have members from every world region, including Africa, Asia, the Middle East, South America and South Asia, as well as Europe and Australasia. As representation of previously unrepresented and under-represented world regions grows, a number of benefits accrue to both new members and old members, and new opportunities arise.
One benefit of international growth is that regional interoperability requirements are continually introduced into the consortium process, making our standards more global and comprehensive. Global uptake of OGC specifications increases as global membership increases, resulting in more and better products and services; more geospatial information produced, published and used; and more business. Another benefit is the potential for improved inter-governmental communication in activities such as disaster management.
With increased global representation come new opportunities as members in particular nations and regions of the world learn to cooperate actively with other members in their nations or regions. We are gratified to see such cooperation particularly in the Americas, Australasia and in Europe, but the recent developments among our members in Europe have been especially instructive and I believe we can all benefit from a closer look at what is happening there.
OGC's European membership now totals more than 140, with a number of major commercial organizations having joined during the last few months, including Alcatel Alenia Space - France, EADS Astrium, and Logica CMG. It is clear that OGC standards and OGC European members are positioned to play a significant role in such important initiatives as INSPIRE (recently approved by the European Parliament); the new European sensor network architecture (ESNA), the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security program (GMES), and the Group on Earth Observations (GEO).
European members recently organized the "Europe Forum" to promote discussion of such regional topics, as well as to improve coordination to serve regional interests and efforts. We anticipate that "European positions" will be discussed and formulated within Europe Forum meetings, which voting European members will then communicate to the Technical Committee and Planning Committee as formal proposals. The Europe Forum may also collectively wish to propose and support testbeds, pilot initiatives, and interoperability experiments that have particular value to the European region.
There's no reason that such "self-organizing" forums can't succeed in other regions of the world as well. Regional forums are particularly well-positioned to organize collaborative efforts to support both OGC outreach and member marketing programs. In the context of regional forums, for example, members can have the opportunity to conduct seminars and exhibitions that illustrate for non-members the value of consortium membership as well as OGC-enabled technical interoperability. Such regional activity helps members maximize the business development opportunities that membership provides and increases the members' ability to assert leadership in consortium affairs.
We should note that much of what applies to multi-country regions can also apply to regions within a country. In Nord Rhein Westfalen in Germany and Catalonia in Spain, for example, OGC members have worked together to advocate for local spatial data infrastructure (SDI) development based on OGC standards. This work has led to uptake, new members, and new technical contributions.
OGC must respond to diversity in the market. It would be naive to expect all people around the world to be able to support the same approach to developing and purveying standards. The purpose of the OGC is not just to run a consensus process for the production of technical specifications, but also to help divarse communities of interest - both regional and thematic - develop methods for working together. The great benefit of OGC's forum activity is that it enables both staff and membership of the consortium to understand what the OGC really needs to be to meet the world's business requirements. For example, the Europe Forum could address such issues as the effectiveness of OGC's membership structure for Europe, or even national business issues related to testing and the way that certification is determined. It could address also OGC's member recruitment approach, helping to identify the industry and technology sectors and "communities of interest" most important to the acceptance and use of OGC's standards in Europe.
In India and China we have few members, but we nevertheless see tremendous interest in and use of our specifications. I believe there is an opportunity for leaders in these countries to organize the local OGC user community to increase public awareness of the benefits of consortium programs, and encourage higher levels of formal participation.
We can expect that thematic forums will play a more significant role as membership increases. Most notably, more than 110 universities and research organizations now belong to the OGC and they are evolving a thematic forum to address their special interests and needs. It is clear that universities can collectively benefit from collaborative research projects enabled by the interoperability models developed in the consortium. The University Forum is particularly important as the OGC Interoperability Institute (OGC II) begins to organize its program of organizing funding for research related to geospatial interoperability.
I encourage all members of the OGC to think strategically and engage in regular discussions with other members in their region or market domain. The creation of regional forums, in particular, is of great importance to the consortium if we are to achieve global relevance. In addition to all the other issues I have mentioned, it is clear to me also that regional forums are particularly well positioned to identify the sort of leadership needed to shape the consortium's strategy and path to the future, and that they should be active in promoting candidates for election to the OGC board of directors. For this purpose, we hope that you will continue to bring regional leaders to our attention so that we are able to continually refresh OGC's purpose with new talent and vision. In this way, OGC's future is to a great extent in your hands, and with your help it can be a very bright future.
Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.
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.
Cristian Opincaru, writing at oppy's view on the world, shared what he saw at Intergeo with regard to OGC.
"In the last years security has grown in importance and this can be seen in both the general IT industry and the Geospatial industry. The first one is demonstrated by the fact that the SYSTEMS fair which shortly followed INTERGEO at the Fair Center Munich (23 -27 October) dedicated one of the six exhibition halls to security. The latter can be seen by the increase in the security-related activities within the Open Geospatial Consortium: in May this year the OGC published for review and comments the GeoDRM Abstract Model which is meant to provide guidance for further Digital Rights Management implementations; the Abstract Model has been approved and will be published as a new topic in the OGC abstract specification. Furthermore, at the OGC Meeting in June in Edinburgh two new working groups have been created: The Security Working Group which will address issues such as Authentication, Authorization, Digital Signature and Encryption and the Ordering Working Group which will focus on the more business related aspects. Finally, this year, one of the 7 threads of the OWS4 initiative (OGC Web Services Test Bed 4) is GeoDRM, where several participants are working together to address issues such as authentication, authorization and licensing."
The Sunburned Surveyor writing at the openJUMP blog discusses how he was enamored with XML and even wrote his own subset of XML, but in time came to this conclusion:
"In the end what I really want is what I had in GML 2.0. An easy to read, easy to interpret, and simple way to store Geospatial Data."
Paul Ramsey at his Geotips blog discusses the challenges of implementing the Web Feature Service Specification. An excerpt of the very detailed post:
"So, we have been working long and hard on a true WFS client, one that can connect to any WFS and read/write the features therein without modification. And here's the thing -- it is waaaaaaay harder than it should be."
WEBSITE OF THE MONTH
Tim Schaub recently launched wms-sites.com which "aims to be a visual catalog of public Web Mapping Service (WMS) resources online." Visitors can search for WMS data by keyword and see the results mapped in a "preview." He's looking for more sites to add to his catalog.
Preview of seismic velocity - 2km at wms-sites.com,
OGC welcomes new members who joined us recently.
Alcatel Alenia Space (France)
GGP Systems LTD (UK)
LogicaCMG Nederland B.V. (The Netherlands)
Monterey Bay Aquarium (U.S.)
University of Gdvle (Sweden)
OGC IN THE NEWS
- OGC in the Press
The Emerging Geospatial Semantic Web
ebRIM Manages Artifacts in an Open World
Standards Profiles - Making Standards More Interoperable and Less Complex
January 22-25, 2006
(Discount for OGC members, see brochure)
January 25, 2006
Best practice makes perfect with Open Geospatial Standards
April 16-20, 206
OGC Technical and Planning Committee Meetings
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.