OGC Newsletter - January 2008
Chairman's Message - The OGC's Role in the International Marketplace
CTO's Report on December 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.
CHAIRMAN'S MESSAGE - THE OGC'S ROLE IN THE INTERNATIONAL MARKETPLACE
We are fortunate that the OGC is widely recognized by the international community as having a key standards role in mainstream Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Major emerging markets as well as the technology communities of North America and Europe rely on OGC standards and best practices as an integral component of SDI (spatial data infrastructure) development.
Evidence of this trend is the maturation of major Asian markets as represented by significant NSDI (national SDI) development activity in both India and China. The OGC has taken a strong interest in the use of OGC standards in emerging markets and has strategically responded to requests to explore stronger and more productive institutional and membership relations in both India and China.
In developing our strategic approach to working in Asian markets, we see great potential and are optimistic that the Consortium and the "cause" of interoperability will significantly benefit in the long run. Much of what we learn in harmonizing OGC standards with geospatial interoperability requirements from these major markets will certainly bear on our ability to work more broadly across the Asian community. We also hope that this will stimulate OGC standards activity in other developing countries that have not yet developed the capacity to work with OGC in the context of the global web service environment.
To a great extent my optimism is based on experiences from a recent visit to Delhi. I had the opportunity to spend nearly two weeks working with OGC director Dr. Siva Kumar. Dr Kumar is the head of the NSDI division of India's Ministry of Science and Technology. We met with professionals from numerous public and private sector organizations and spoke with them extensively about OGC's potential for responding to the requirements of the Indian community. It became quite clear that through the collaborative efforts of our members and working with Indian service providers that it is possible to build the practical plug-and-play environment necessary for significant advancements in building spatial infrastructure at all levels.
In particular India's Federal government is quite interested in the benefits of enhanced geo-interoperability among and between public sector institutions and programs. I found considerable interest in the possibility that OGC can play a role in groundbreaking projects designed to motivate grassroots development of communication and computing applications in the many thousands of Indian villages. I had the good fortune to visit some of these villages with Dr. Kumar and was impressed with the long term potential for the use of OGC standards to help enable basic capabilities that can empower local communities to do such things as build cadastres and manage their own water resources and finances.
Last November, the State Key Lab of Information Engineering in Surveying, Mapping and Remote Sensing (LIESMARS) at Wuhan University, in cooperation with China's ISO TC/211 committee, hosted an OGC Symposium. The Symposium resulted from a meeting between Professor Deren Li, former Head of LIESMARS, Chairman of the Academic Committee of the University and member of the Chinese National Academies of Science and Engineering and OGC staff.
Over 200 Chinese geospatial professionals attended the symposium. A primary objective of the Symposium was to educate key people in the Chinese geospatial community about OGC processes and standards. To do this, OGC member representatives gave presentations on numerous topics of interest to the Chinese geospatial community. A second objective was to initiate discussions between a delegation of OGC leadership and leaders of various organizations in the Chinese geospatial community about future working relationships. I was told informally that it may be that more OGC conformant products are used in China than anywhere else in the world. If this is so, the need for us to work with the Chinese community is clearly of great importance. OGC's delegation was comprised of OGC board members Mike Jackson and Bob Moses, and Carl Reed, the OGC Chief Technology Officer. OGC Director Steve Hagan participated as well, as did a number of OGC members.
The meeting resulted in a general agreement that OGC should continue working with leaders of the Chinese geospatial community to structure an approach to understanding Chinese interoperability requirements and harmonizing the work being done in China with global standardization activities. Prof. Li and I are in the process of forming an appropriately representative committee to provide the governance policy for OGC activities in China and provide the mechanism by which working relationships will be created. This committee will be positioned to begin planning future events and the expansion of OGC membership and interoperability program activities in China. Work still is required to build and maintain these relationships.
I personally feel that there is great value in these regional initiatives. At this point in our history, the most important role that OGC can play is to facilitate an effective response to enterprise interoperability requirements in the midst of uncertain globalization and highly varied procurement practices.
- David Schell
CTO'S REPORT ON DECEMBER 2007 TC AND PC MEETINGS
The 63rd OGC Technical Committee meetings were held the week of December 10th in Stresa, Italy. The European Commission Joint Research Centre and ORCHESTRA sponsored the meeting. The Wednesday evening reception and dinner were sponsored by conterra GmbH. Over 150 individuals attended and participated in the various Working Group sessions.
During the meetings, the following document actions were approved [NOTE: Posting and availability of documents follows editing and a final review.]:
As an OGC Best Practice:
- GML Application Schema for EO products (06-080r3). This replaces 06-080r2, which will be deprecated
- WMS Application Profile for EO products (OGC 07-063)
- SPS Application Profile for EO Sensors v0.9.5 document (OGC 07-018r2), thus deprecating OGC 07-018r1
- OGC Standards Best Practices (06-135r2) gives guidance on OGC schemas. This replaces 06-135r1, which will be deprecated.
As an OGC Discussion Paper:
- 07-158 "Wrapping OGC HTTP-GET/POST Services with SOAP"
- 07-152 v1.0 "FedEO Engineering Report"
- "Web Map Tiling Service: An Alterative Approach"
As an OGC White Paper:
- an updated version of the SWE High Level Architecture White Paper version 3 (OGC Document 07-165)
The members also approved release of the following corrigenda:
- Simple Features Part 1: Common Architecture (07-161) and Simple Features Part 2: SQL (07-162). There are some minor technical errors (mostly geometric) in Simple Features that these corrigenda correct.
The PC approved electronic votes for three standards. This serves as an early alert that the following standards can be expected to be formally approved and publicly available, probably in the next three months:
- Catalog Service-Web standard. Document 07-110r1 covers Part 1: ebRIM profile of CSW. Document 07-144r1 covers Part 2: basic extension package.
- GeoXACML 1.0 Standard. Documents 07-026r2, 07-098r1 and 07-099r1 cover Version 1.0, Extension A - GML2 Encoding Version 1.0, and Extension B - GML2 Encoding Version 1.0 respectively.
- Image Georeferencing Service (IGS) version 1.0 (07-030r2), and Image Georeferencing Metadata (IGM) GML 3.2 Application Schema version 1.0 (07-031r2)
In addition, the PC approved an electronic vote (e-vote) to make "OWS 5 SOAP/WSDL Common Engineering Report" a public OGC Discussion Paper. As with e-votes on standards, this paper will become available at www.opengeospatial.org pending the outcome of the e-vote.
Members approved two documents from the subcommittee on Compliance Interoperability Testing & Environment (CITE):
- Document 07-170, "CITE SC Charter Revision"
- Document 07-164 "WFS 1.1.0 test suite CR - Fix sortby tests"
The next Technical Committee meetings will be held in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA during the week of March 24, 2008.
NEWS AND OPINION FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE
Below are some of the discussions of OGC and geospatial standards in the blogosphere since the last edition of this newsletter:
9 November: Pedro Gomes, commenting on Microsoft joining OGC, confessed to being addicted to OGC standards.
7 November: In the All Points blog, Adena Schutzberg noted that NAVTEQ (on the verge of becoming part of Nokia) acquired MapSolute, "a platform steeped in OGC standards..."
30 October: Jeff Thurston blogged about the quality of spatial data, and encouraged readers to take the OGC survey on that topic: "... I don't think this industry can come to grips with the issues of return on investment (ROI) in a consistently accurate way, until it deals with issues surrounding ‘spatial data quality'."
30 October: a post at BetaNews (by staff, no individual was named) about Microsoft rejoining OGC only months after Google submitted its Keyhole Markup Language (KML 2.1) to OGC, declared that "... rivalries aside, the two companies' inclusion in the Consortium illustrates the prevalence and necessity of geospatial information."
WEBSITE OF THE MONTH
The University of Reading, UK, an international center of excellence for environmental science, participates in an innovative e-Science programme sponsored by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). The Reading e-Science Centre has developed a website for dynamic, interactive visualization of environmental science data. The website, known as "Godiva2," is backed by a custom-built OGC Web Map Service and allows scientists to browse through several terabytes of distributed environmental science data. Most of the 40 datasets that can be explored using Godiva2 are 4D oceanographic data from numerical models, including operational forecast products from the UK National Centre for Ocean Forecasting. Other available datasets include satellite analysis products and data from atmospheric and climate science research projects.
The Godiva2 website displays imagery from several different WMS servers. Layers representing data are generated by a custom-built WMS implementation, known as ncWMS. Background imagery in Godiva2 is obtained from map services at NASA and Metacarta. In order to support the interactive browsing of 4-D gridded data, ncWMS was designed to generate image tiles very quickly from large stores of NetCDF files and from OPeNDAP servers. (NetCDF and OPeNDAP are commonly-used standards for data exchange in the environmental science community.) ncWMS is compatible with WMS versions 1.1.1 and 1.3.0.
The use of the OGC WMS specification ensures that third-party visualization tools can be used to view the data outside the Godiva2 website. ncWMS has been tested successfully against many GIS clients, including NASA's World Wind, Google Earth, Cadcorp SIS and Gaia. However, a key current limitation is that not all clients are capable of displaying data that have an elevation or time dimension, both of which are extremely important for the visualization of environmental science data.
The Godiva2/ncWMS system is being used by two large European projects that disseminate operational ocean forecast data from around Europe in conformity to the EU INSPIRE directive: the MERSEA project for the open oceans, and the ECOOP project for coastal seas. On these sites, data from many of the major European operational ocean forecast centers are made available for interactive visualization and exploration.
To use Godiva2, select a dataset and variable from the menu on the left. The data are extracted and projected onto a map of the world. The calendar, top right, is used to change the date of the data being displayed. If data for that date are available at different depths or times, drop-down boxes are available to make a selection. Animations can be generated by selecting a time range. The color display can be modified to enhance the appearance of features in the data by editing the boxes at the top and bottom of the color scale to the right of the map. This capability, which is very important for visualizing scientific data, is implemented with an extension to the WMS specification.
Open Grid Forum and OGC Sign Memorandum of Understanding
The Open Grid Forum (OGF) signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate with The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC). OGC has a suite of open interface, encoding and best practices standards for managing and presenting geospatial data and wants to extend these with the capability for distributed resource management, i.e., grids. The initial goals of the collaboration include:
- Integrate OGC's OpenGIS Web Processing Service (WPS) Standard with a range of "back-end" processing environments to enable large-scale processing. The WPS could also be used as a front-end to interface to multiple grid infrastructures, such as TeraGrid, NAREGI, EGEE and the United Kingdom's National Grid Service. This would be an application driver for both grid and data interoperability issues.
- Integration of WPS with workflow management tools. OGF's SAGA draft standard is where multiple WPS calls could be managed.
- Integration of OGC federated catalogs/data repositories with grid data movement tools. OGF's GridFTP is one possibility that supports secure, third-party transfers that are useful when moving data from a repository to a remote service.
WPS is just a starting point for the collaboration. The real goal is to do more than scientific research; it is to greatly enhance operational mapping such as hurricane forecasting and location-based services.
OGC-OGF Collaboration Workshop
The Open Grid Forum and the Open Geospatial Consortium will be hosting a Collaboration Workshop on Tuesday, February 26, 2008, at OGF-22 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on the topic of grid-enabling standard geospatial processing tools. This workshop is part of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two organizations
OGC welcomes new members who joined us recently.
AdV (Working Committee of the Surveying Authorities of the States of the Federal Republic of Germany) (Technical Aggregate) (Germany)
Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (Technical) (United Kingdom)
EUMETSAT (Research Institute) (Germany)
Geo Information S.A. (Associate) (Greece)
Industrial Technology Research Institute (Research Institute) (Taiwan, Republic of China)
Informi GIS A/S (Associate) (Denmark)
Tokyo Denki University (University) (Japan)
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (University) (United States)
Vaisala (Technica) (Finland)
OGC IN THE NEWS
The January 2008 issue of GIM International carries "A New Age (I)," the first part of a two-part interview of OGC Chairman David Schell. The Editor was prompted to request the interview by news of Microsoft's membership; the first installment focuses on questions about the growth in the standards movement, the contributions small and large companies make to OGC, OGC's role in the general Information and Communication Technology industry, and related trends.
The same issue also carries "GML Expertise," a story about the company Snowflake Software, in which GML is described as "fast becoming the geospatial transfer format of choice." The company's support for open standards is described as "industrial-strength."
The December 2007 issue of Military Geospatial Technology included a reprint of "SDI 1.0: GEOINT Revolution" (originally published in the September 2007 issue). The article states that new policies endorsing the suite of standards called Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) 1.0 are powering a revolution underway in the geospatial intelligence community. Advantages of OGC's SDI 1.0 include enhanced capability, faster deployment, lower costs and enhanced reliability. In addition, SDI 1.0 "breaks the one-way model" - the traditional "read-only" way of doing business - because the Transactions and Filters supported by OGC's Web Feature Service enable users to not only pull information down but also to push new and updated information back to the system to share with others.
The December 2007 issue of GIM International included "GEO Grid: AIST on Understanding Earth Observation," a brief story about research in Japan to develop grid technology (high-performance distributed computing) in a Global Earth Observation project. OGC standards are identified as providing "an essential means of data integration between the geospatial systems contributing to this web-based system."
On 5 December 2007, Vector1Media published "NERVE - Part 2: Innovative Technology to Address Tomorrow's Needs," a project with its main prototype built around the scenario of an emergency situation in the North East of England. Sharing data in such a situation is difficult because data developed by one organization may not be suitable for use by another, and also by the fact that the user devices in an emergency are mobile devices that cannot support a thick client. The solution was to create a new layer, the "common layer." Data in this layer can be accessed via a Web Feature Service interface. In addition to such "pull" requests, the common layers supports server-initiated or "push" requests, suitable for rapidly changing (low-volume) streams of data. This solution included the use of OGC's Sensor Web Enablement framework. Future developments will include OGC's CityGML as well.
The November 2007 GIM International article, "Coastal Approach to Open Architecture," by Declan Dunne and Yassine Lassoued talks about the importance of integrating remotely sensed data, in situ observations and forecasting models from different providers, and spells out the role of OGC standards in this integration: "Such integration will be achieved using an open system architecture based on established OGC interoperability standards and INSPIRE guidelines. InterRisk data providers will thus deliver their products using OGC Web Map Service (WMS), Web Feature Service (WFS), and Web Coverage Service (WCS). OGC Catalogue Services for the Web (CSW) will also ensure delivery of ISO 19139 metadata. These services will be accessed and subsequently visualised through the European Space Agency (ESA) Service Support Environment (SSE) portal and other regional portal OGC clients. The InterRisk project is one of many applications demonstrating the essential role of OGC standards in ensuring efficient web-enabled data delivery."
On November 28th, Directions Magazine published "Is a Geographic Appliance in Your Future?" The open source appliance MapSnack serves and consumes OGC WMS or WFS services. Literature about other appliances also mentions OGC standards: GEAR (Geospatial Enterprise Architecture Rack) from Tele Atlas and partner SAIC, Appliance Servers from MapWerks (Australia), and the forthcoming "Image Correction Appliance" from PCI.
An article by Florian Fischer in the 23 November issue of Geo Informatics, "A Silent Servant for the Spatial Enterprise," while primarily about ESRI's ArcGIS Server 9.2, includes this: "... the power of open-source is obvious when looking at the width of products that have been released during the last years and the focus is clearly on web based geospatial products. A reason for this development is the maturity of OGC specifications by the Open Geospatial Consortium. These specifications give a proper framework for the development of geo web services. ..."
On November 7th, Directions Magazine published "CityGML Comes of Age," a good discussion of the motivation for CityGML, the properties and uses of this new kind of model, its implementation in Germany, and how it "sits between" Building Information Models and GIS coverage. The article notes that CityGML is an OGC Best Practices paper, and is expected to become an OGC standard in July 2008.
- OGC Press Releases
OGC Calls for Participation in ECO8 OGC Pilot
January 4, 2008
OGC Processes Advance GEOSS Interoperability
December 17, 2007
GSDI 10 Conference Early Registration Ends December 15!
December 7, 2007
Core Services Initiative Will Advance Emergency Communications
December 7, 2007
The OGC Will Exhibit at AEC-ST Conference
December 5, 2007
The OGC Seeks Comment on OGC Candidate KML 2.2 Standard
December 4, 2007
February 6-8, 2008
Map India 2008: 11th Annual International Conference and Exhibition on Geospatial Information, Technology and Applications
Greater Noida, India
February 7-8, 2008
Location India 2008: 3rd International Conference on Positioning and Navigation
Greater Noida, India
February 25-29, 2008
SDI-10: Tenth International Conference for Spatial Data Infrastructure
St. Augustine, Trinidad
March 9-12, 2008
GITA's Geospatial Infrastructure Solutions Conference
Seattle, Washington, USA
March 17-18, 2008
Towson, Maryland, USA
March 24-27, 2008
March 2008 OGC Technical Committee Meeting
St. Louis, Missouri, USA
March 27-28, 2008
March 2008 OGC Planning Committee Meeting
St. Louis, Missouri, USA
June 2-6, 2008
June '08 OGC Technical Committee Meeting
June 6-7, 2008
June '08 OGC Planning Committee Meeting
July 21-25, 2008
Vancouver, BC, Canada
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
Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.
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Fax: +1 508 655 2237
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