OGC Newsletter - October 2007
President's Message - Strengthening OGC's Focus on User Requirements
CTO's Report on September 2007 TC and PC Meetings
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.
PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE - STRENGTHENING OGC'S FOCUS ON USER REQUIREMENTS
The OGC's whole purpose is to meet geospatial technology users' requirements for interoperability. We have a diverse membership encompassing industry, government, NGOs, academic and research organizations. However, we'd like to improve the representation of user organizations. To do this, the OGC Board has approved two new membership categories to encourage and facilitate such improvement and bring an even broader base of experience into our process.
First, we are instituting a new Aggregate Voting Membership for government organizations below the national level. State, local and provincial agencies represent a large portion of technology consumption, however there are currently only 28 such organizations holding membership in the OGC. Agencies below the national level just don't have sufficient resources to commit staff to participate in standards activities. But an increasing number of people working in government at this level recognize the money-saving and service-enhancing benefits of using and helping to shape standards. To meet the needs of these organizations, The OGC Board of Directors recently approved an Aggregate Voting (Technical Level or Principal Level) Membership in the OGC.
This new Aggregate Membership will allow groups of sub-national agencies, not-for-profits and research institutions with a common interest to work together in an alliance as a single voting member. As an aggregate member, these organizations then have the flexibility to pool both their requirements and their resources to optimize their participation in OGC programs. An initial trial of Aggregate Membership is underway, with the NYC Office of Emergency Management inviting participation by public safety/response agencies, universities and not-for-profit organizations. Contributing partners will form a "Metro New York Regional Emergency Management Consortium" designed to promote geospatial interoperability in support of critical activities (e.g., evacuation planning, infrastructure assessment/protection) that span multiple county and state jurisdictions. We are also in discussion with other regional interests in Europe regarding potential Aggregate membership trials.
Aggregate memberships are not open ended. Organizations participating in an Aggregate membership must all be working together in a particular area of interest. Also, the total number of organizations allowable in an aggregate membership must be negotiated and approved in advance with OGC staff.
The OGC will be revamping the Government Special Interest Group (GovSIG), which has been inactive recently. The GovSIG, OGC User and the OGC Network will be repositioned as tools for collaboration between Aggregate and other government OGC members around the world regarding interoperability requirements, implementation case studies, and other best practice exchanges.
We are also instituting Individual Membership to enable independent consultants and other individuals to participate in the OGC. This new option enables individuals-technology developers and technology, data and service users-to enjoy many of the same benefits that organizations enjoy through membership. Individual Membership also provides opportunities for individuals to advance their understanding of technical issues and to increase their visibility and standing in the professional community. We anticipate that many of these members will be people with intimate knowledge of special interoperability requirements in a wide variety of application domains, and we look forward to their contributions.
Finally, we are exploring ways to help organizations in developing nations to participate in the OGC. We need to accommodate the diversity of international market requirements and the pace at which information technologies are advancing in places like India and China. No developed nation, for example, is facing a challenge similar in requirements to India's commitment to bring tens of thousands of impoverished villages into full participation in a modern Information Age democracy and economy. We are working with leaders in India to find a membership model that works for them, and we will learn from this effort how to do the same in other countries.
- Mark Reichardt
CTO'S REPORT ON SEPTEMBER 2007 TC AND PC MEETINGS
The 62nd OGC Technical Committee meetings were held the week of September 17th in Boulder, Colorado. The meetings were sponsored by Platinum Sponsor NCAR and Silver Sponsor ITT. Over 150 individuals attended and participated in the various Working Group meetings.
During the meetings, the following document actions were approved:
As an OGC Best Practice:
- OGC NID-URN (07-107)
- Reference Model for the ORCHESTRA Architecture (07-097)
- KML 2.2 (07-113r1)
As an OGC Discussion Paper:
- OGC 07-095r2 - Web Service Summaries
- Web Coordinate Transformation Service (WCTS) draft Implementation Specification (OGC 07-055) to replace Discussion Paper OGC 05-013
- OpenGIS® Tiled WMS (07-057r2)
The members also approved release of the following corrigenda:
- (07-123), Corrigendum 1 to Styled Layer Descriptor (SLD) 1.1.0 (05-078r4) and
- Corrigendum 2 as defined in 06-023r1 to Definition identifier URNs in OGC namespace.
Members approved two motions from the subcommittee on Compliance Interoperability Testing & Environment (CITE):
- 45-day Beta Testing Periods for Executable Test Suites will be available to the public; OGC will announce beta periods by means of a Press Release.
- Compliance Testing Language Discussion Paper (CTL 06-126) is approved as an OGC Policy standard.
Members also approved two motions from the Joint Advisory Group (JAG), the forum by which members of OGC and ISO TC/211 collaborate to identify areas of common interest and work closely to ensure harmonization of effort:
- the OGC revisions of Simple Features Access and Simple Features SQL will be offered as base documents for an ISO TC-211 New Work Item Proposal (NWIP) to revise ISO 19125-1 and 19125-2.
- OGC representatives to TC211 will put the following topic on the TC211 meeting agenda for discussion: If OGC charters a new Standards Working Group (SWG) to work Change Requests for an OGC standard that is also an ISO standard, the OGC and ISO will issue a joint call for participation for TC211 members to participate in the new SWG.
The next Technical Committee meetings will be held in Stresa, Italy during the week of December 10, 2007.
- Carl Reed
NEWS AND OPINION FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE
Below are some of the discussions of OGC specifications in the blogosphere since the last edition of this newsletter:
17 October: Ed Parsons blogged that, based on Microsoft rejoining OGC, "Along with the new support for KML in virtual earth, I would say that the geoweb is beginning to develop quite nicely!"
10 October: Ritesh Ambastha identified a tool, "Explore Our Planet," to search for public WMS layers. 30,000+ WMS layers from 200+ servers are indexed. Predefined searches are available for a quick look.
30 September: Johannes Kebeck posted his paper "Integrating OGC-Compliant Web Mapping Services into Virtual Earth" online for public access . His example is for Virtual Earth used as a WMS client (not server).
12 September: Jason Galanis identified the article "The world on your desktop" from the 6 September issue of The Economist in his blog, as "a great article in a leading publication that lays out a view of ... the ‘Geoweb'. ..."
16 August: On the Google Code Blog, in an entry titled "Plant a Seed, Watch It Grow," Chris Holmes reported improvements to GeoServer, a project started by The Open Planning Project (TOPP) in 2001. GeoServer supports OGC's WFS, WMS and GML protocols. Chris elaborated on the participation of TOPP in OGC Web Services, Phase 5 (OWS-5) by noting, "The GeoServer team is very excited about KML becoming an OGC open standard, as GeoServer already implements the main OGC standards. For the testbed TOPP will build support for the new version of KML in to GeoServer ..."
WEBSITE OF THE MONTH
The Office of Geographic and Environmental Information in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, known as MassGIS, maintains "Web Map Service" and "Web Feature Service" servers available to anyone. Datasets include aerial photography, street maps, census data, environmental data and more. The wiki explains who MassGIS is and what it does, then provides guidance for getting started, and links to advanced topics including the OGC Styled Layer Descriptor (most popular "Advanced Topics" link). The wiki entry for OGC SLD includes links to an explanation of hex colors, a color wheel to help users pick colors, and a tool for getting the hex value of a color, as well as several examples for points, lines and polygons.
In 2005, MassGIS won both URISA's Exemplary Systems in Government Award and GITA's Innovator Award.
The MassGIS Online Data Viewer, OLIVER, can be used to display and query nearly all of the MassGIS data and print maps over the web. To serve a specific constituency, SPOLIVER-The State Police Online Data Viewer-has a slightly different look and different data folders,
SPOLIVER displays hundreds of themes of Massachusetts Crime Stats Data along with base map features.
The Official Website of MassGIS lists more than two dozen viewers, of which the following nine use WMS:
- Mass.Gov Legislative District Browser
- Mass.Gov Legislative District Demographic Viewer - Census 2000
- Mass.Gov Town Boundaries Demographic Viewer - Census 2000
- CZM Massachusetts Shoreline Change Project
- EOEA Community Preservation Viewer
- DOR Massachusetts Real Property Sales Viewer
- DCR Watershed Protection Act Viewer
- DCR Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACED) Viewer
- Biodiversity Days Maps
The viewer developed by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) displays information on coastal shoreline change rates for several time periods, generally from the mid-1800s to 1994. A fact sheet discusses shoreline change, the CZM Shoreline Change Project, and an explanation about how to correctly interpret the data. Clicking the "Yes" button to confirm one has read the fact sheet brings up the viewer with access to the online maps and the transect data.
Zooming in to the shore near Sandwich, one can select a specific transect. For transect 10250, the viewer returns the total change for three time periods and rate of change per year in each of them, and the long-term shoreline change rate, as shown on this screen:
Geospatial Data Quality Survey
Please take the Geospatial Data Quality Survey, prepared by OGC's SDQ WG and available at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=_2ffWZCQbm2ugKS_2fW8A0MWIQ_3d_3d. It will take ten to fifteen minutes to complete, and respondents will receive a copy of the "anonymized" results.
Proposed AECOO Interoperability Initiative
The OGC, in cooperation with several industry organizations and private firms, is in the process of arranging sponsorships for an AECOO (Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Ownership, Operation) OGC Interoperability Initiative. After sponsors have been solicited, the next phase will involve concept development, in which the scope of the project will be outlined in detail.
This effort was originally conceived as a thread in the OGC's OWS-5 testbed activity, but the projected scope of the project has increased and these potential sponsors have decided to pursue the possibility of a separate OGC testbed devoted entirely to building lifecycle requirements, some of which will relate to non-geospatial technical issues. Those interested in learning more about the proposed AECOO Testbed activity can contact the OGC's lhecht [at] opengeospatial.org (Louis Hecht) .
A set of screen casts showing use of OGC standards for Earth observation is now available. When you access this site, the videos will play through in sequence. It takes about 30 minutes to watch them all. The controls allow you to view the 3-minute videos individually. Be sure to turn on your sound as they are narrated.
The GEOSS architecture is the topic of the first video. Scenario topics include Sub-Saharan African Wildfire, Africa Ecosystems & Biodiversity, Polar Ecosystems & Biodiversity, Oil Spill Response, Volcano Eruption Response and Hurricane Response Finally, candidate portals from Compusult, ESA-FAO and ESRI are each the topic of a video.
The screen casts were developed as part of the Architecture Implementation Pilot (AI Pilot). The AI Pilot was initiated to support the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and includes collaboration with Tri-Lateral Agreement Pilot and Federated Earth Observation Pilot, sponsored respectively by USGS/FGDC and ESA. Credits are listed at the end of each screen cast.
OGC welcomes new members who joined us recently.
Dresden University of Technology (University) (Germany)
Microsoft Corporation (Principal) (United States)
Mining Innovation, Rehabilitation & Applied Research Corp. (University) (Canada)
OGC IN THE NEWS
- OGC in the Press
The November issue of GIM International has an article by Paul van Asperen and Mahmud Shahrear Kibria, "Comparing 3D-Earth Viewers" in which Google Earth, MSN Virtual Earth 3D and NASA's World Wind were each combined with OGC WMS for the evaluation.
On September 11th, GISCafé.com published an article about a new on-line data delivery service. EDINA DigiMap serves Ordinance Survey's MasterMap Topographic and Integrated Transport Network (ITN) layers to the UK's academic community. The system uses a "Service Oriented Architecture" approach based on Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards and best practices.
On September 7th, GEOInformatics published an interview of Autodesk's Geoff Zeiss. Question 8 asked his opinion of geospatial standards, and he spelled out why he feels there has been tremendous progress in the last two years: "... we have seen a strong trend toward recognizing the importance of standards and standards bodies such as the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and ISO, and toward adopting geospatial standards. .... Another spatial standard that has been widely adopted is the OGC's open web services (OWS), for example, WMS and WFS. Again both of these are supported by all major geospatial vendors. ..."
On September 6th, Economist.com posted an article from The Economist print edition, "The world on your desktop." It quotes OGC Chief Technologist Carl Reed to the effect that GML and forthcoming standards-for KML, dynamic geodata, 3-D models of buildings and sensor networks-will "do for geodata what the web did for other forms of data."
On August 29th Directions Magazine carried an article by Julie Leese about Canada's agri-environmental web portal, The National Land and Water Information Service (NLWIS). The portal uses interfaces based on OGC standards for WMS, WFS and GML. An example shows how a user can determine and map the difference in corn acreage between 1996 and 2001.
- OGC Press Releases
Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Adds Microsoft as Principal Member
October 22, 2007
NGA Receives OGC Vision Award
October 18, 2007
The OGC Announces Geospatial Data Quality Survey
October 17, 2007
Northrop Grumman Assumes Strategic Member Role in the OGC
October 15, 2007
Leica Geosystems Geospatial Imaging Takes Principal Membership in the OGC
October 11, 2007
The OGC® Announces New Call for Participation in OWS-5 Testbed
September 7, 2007
OGC® Web Services for GEOSS Demonstrated in International Workshops
September 5, 2007
Registration Open, Abstracts Needed Soon for Global Spatial Data Infrastructure Conference
September 5, 2007
The OGC Announces Corrigendum Release for Geography Markup Language (GML) Version 2.1.2
August 30, 2007
October 29-30, 2007, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Great Lakes Regional Data Exchange 2007
December 10-13, 2007, Stresa, Italy
December '07 OGC Technical Committee Meeting
December 12, 2007, Stresa, Italy
OGC - ORCHESTRA Interoperability Day
December 13-14, 2007, Stresa, Italy
December '07 OGC Planning Committee Meeting
January 21-25, 2008, London, England
DGI Europe 2008
February 25-29, 2008, St. Augustine, Trinidad
GSDI-10: Tenth International Conference for Spatial Data Infrastructure
For further info on events please contact gbuehler [at] opengeospatial.org (Greg Buehler).
Please send comments and suggestions to:
tcary [at] opengeospatial.org (Tina Cary)
Editor, OGC News
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Copyright 2007 by the Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.