OGC Announces Further Progress Toward Open Geoprocessing

Lance McKee Vice President, Corporate Communications The Open GIS Consortium, Inc. (OGC) 35 Main Street, Suite 5 Wayland, MA 01778-5037 voice: (508) 655-5858 fax: (508) 655 2237 email: lmckee@opengeospatial.org
Friday, 27 February 1998 UTC
Wayland, Massachusetts, USA, February 27, 1998 - The Open GIS Consortium, Inc. (OGC) announced today that two important new Requests For Proposals (RFPs) were approved February 12, 1998 by the OGC Technical Committee and OGC Management Committee at meetings of the committees in Munich, Germany. 110 attendees representing 66 organizations and 14 countries were present. These most recent OGC bimonthly meetings were hosted by Siemens Nixdorf Informationssystemes (SNI) (Munich, Germany), a Principal Member of OGC. The RFPs, which will be posted on OGC's public website (http://www.opengeospatial.org) early in March, request the submission of proposed detailed engineering specifications for software interfaces which implement recently completed parts of OGC's OpenGIS Abstract Specification. Interfaces that conform to OpenGIS Implementation Specifications resulting from such submissions will enable diverse geoprocessing software systems to communicate directly, which will enable complex geospatial information to become an integral part of modern network-based information systems. One of the two recent RFPs is called the Grid Coverages RFP. It goes the next step beyond the first OpenGIS Implementation Specifications for Simple Features. The previously released Simple Features Implementation Specifications provide standard methods for systems to communicate simple geometry, spatial reference system, and attribute information. OpenGIS Grid Coverages Implementation Specifications will provide standard methods for systems to create and share additional types of geospatial information. New categories of information introduced include elevation matrices, raster structures, digital images, and other structures using a grid of points with attached values as their foundation. (OGC coverages are similar to objects commonly called "fields" in college GIS courses.) Important coverage categories addressed by this RFP include satellite images, scanned maps, digital elevation models, and computer map displays. Consensus interfaces on these objects will enable diverse systems to interoperate in performing tasks such as merging, interpolation, resampling, evaluation, and map algebra analysis. The other RFP approved for release last week is the Catalog RFP. OpenGIS Implementation Specifications for Catalogs will provide standard methods for publishing and discovering information about network-resident geodata. OpenGIS Implementation Specifications for Catalogs create a foundation, for example, for interoperable geospatial "search engines" which will provide information about network-resident geodata resources, just as Web search engines provide information about html-formatted text and simple images. Queries to geospatial catalogs might typically consist of a specified place name, area or point location and a specified information theme, such as roads, hotels, or population density. The information returned would consist of a list of geodata servers that contain the specified information, together with metadata that will help the user to select the most appropriate sources. Both RFPs ask for implementation specifications that will enable developers to build interfaces for software running on any of the common distributed computing platforms (DCPs), such as OLE/COM and CORBA. Different DCPs require slightly different specifications, but OGC is designing the specification to provide as much interoperability between DCPs as possible. Submitters are expected to be teams of geospatial software vendors, database software vendors, and others who can contribute to the necessary technology and supporting infrastructure needed to implement the vision of the OpenGIS Abstract Specification. The meetings in Munich were attended by many Europeans responding to OGC's appeal for European participation. On Friday, there was a well-attended OGC and ISO TC/211 ad hoc technical working session. Significant progress was made at this session by reviewing each work item of ISO TC/211, and establishing action items and responsibilities that will help bring the two organizations' specifications into alignment. The Open GIS Consortium is an international organization of 118 members engaged in a cooperative effort to create open computing specifications in the area of geoprocessing. OGC envisions the full integration of geospatial data and geoprocessing resources into mainstream computing and the widespread use of interoperable, commercial geoprocessing software throughout the information infrastructure. -- end --