OGC Announces Wireless Location Services Initiative

Contact: Jeff Burnett, Vice President The Open GIS Consortium, Inc., Wayland, MA 01778 USA tel: +1-508-655-5858 fax: +1-508-655-2237 e-mail: jburnett@opengeospatial.org
Monday, 30 October 2000 UTC
October 30, 2000, Wayland, MA: OGC, Inc. (Open GIS Consortium, Inc.) today released a Call for Sponsors (CFS) and a Request for Technology (RFT) for a testbed positioned to be the first phase of the consortium's "Open Location Services (OpenLS(tm)) Initiative." The goal of the OpenLS Initiative is to develop standards needed by industry to support implementation of the location services invoked by mobile or wireless Internet devices. Such standards are meant to support the growth of consumer markets by ensuring that the wealth of public and private sector location information and application resources are available for use by both developers and consumers of mobile applications and location services. Together, the CFS and RFT documents define the opportunity for companies in the communications, internet and manufacturing industries to take a leading role in shaping crucial enabling standards required for growth of the Location Services market. Both documents are available for viewing and download at http://www.openls.org. The OpenLS Initiative will harness the business requirements of such organizations to drive a cooperative industry development project on which standardization is based. As part of OGC's ongoing testbed program, guidelines and organizational resources are in place to ensure that the end-to-end process of creating such standards is efficient and able to produce usable results in minimum time. Since its founding, OGC has grown to become one of the world's leading software consortia, devoted to the development of interoperability standards using "spatial," or "location" information on the Internet. OGC's fast-track Interoperability Program, organized to work in conjunction with its consensus-based standards process, accelerates the development of standards by means of hands-on prototyping. OGC's Interoperability Program is well suited to meet the immediate needs of the wireless location services for "gateway" access to the "location" content of the Internet. OGC's Call for Sponsors defines both the role of the sponsoring organization and the benefits sponsoring organizations derive from having their critical Location Services addressed by the OpenLS Initiative. OGC's Request for Technology supports the CFS by providing location technology vendors and content suppliers with the information needed to understand the requirements that will drive development of the actual OpenLS testbed. According to Jack Pellicci, a member of the OGC Board of Directors and Group Vice President, OSI and Global Business Development for Oracle Corporation, "The Wireless Internet is one of the fastest growing and most dynamic areas in today's information economy. Leveraging mobile telephony is key to providing the personal and organizational productivity essential to both global and local competitiveness and requires solutions and services that create location-aware enterprises. These enterprises must provide both location-based services as well as access to the full range of legacy capabilities supported by current information infrastructures. OGC's hands-on, collaborative OpenLS Initiative is a great way to help develop these capabilities at internet speed." The OpenLS Initiative will focus on the development and demonstration of interface specifications in the following areas: 1) Location application services and related location content, such as Electronic yellow page query and display, route determination and display, and Map/feature display and interaction. 2) Gateway Services that integrate location application services with common mobile terminals, wireless platforms, Internet Protocol (IP) platforms, and/or mobile position determination systems that operate between wireless-IP systems and location application servers. 3) OGC Services Framework, or services and content protocols that have been developed and tested in previous OGC testbed and specification initiatives. By October, 2001, U.S. phone carriers will be required by law to be able to identify the location of cell phone callers. Similar requirements are being considered for Europe. Soon, Location Services will be positioned to contribute significantly to both public safety and disaster management, as well as commercial processes involving people on the move around the world. However, the great social and commercial value offered by Location Services "to anyone, anywhere" depends upon the implementation of a consistent infrastructure of "standard Location Service interfaces." Such interfaces need to be designed for compatibility across regions, vertical applications, classes of users, product classes and, most importantly, the networks built by the various communications service providers. With the successful installation of a standards infrastructure, significant growth of the Location Services market is assured. David Schell, President of OGC stated: "Similar to the way that HTTP protocols enabled the growth of activity on the World Wide Web, OpenLS standards, resulting from OGC's cooperative testbed process, have the potential to enable significant growth of Location Services markets in the Wireless Web. The OpenLS Call For Sponsors is directed specifically to those organizations currently involved in building these markets. By supporting this undertaking, such organizations will gain assurance that the Location Services they offer are standards-based and positioned to help them grow to their full potential in this new wireless environment." OGC is an international industry consortium of over 200 companies, government agencies and universities working together to develop commercial standards to enable the full integration of spatial data and processing into mainstream computing. -- end --