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OGC to Support JRC/USGS Cooperative Technology Effort

Mark Reichardt Executive Director, Marketing and Public Sector Programs Open GIS Consortium, Inc tel: +1-301-840-1361 mreichardt [at]
Release Date: 
Monday, 14 January 2002 UTC
Wayland, MA, USA, January 16, 2002. The Open GIS Consortium, Inc. (OGC) announced today that OGC's organizational processes and technical approaches will be key elements in a new joint project of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the US Geological Survey (USGS). This project, focused on removing technical obstacles to sharing earth observation data, is a direct result of the 1997 US and European Science and Technology Agreement concerning Earth Observation Technology Development and Application Research, and a subsequent 1999 cooperative arrangement between JRC and USGS. The project, outlined in a Work Sheet listing the objectives and tasks involved, addresses the need to improve Internet-based earth observation data sharing within and between nations, states, regions, and municipalities throughout the world who rely on such information for maintaining spatial data infrastructure, agriculture, environmental and land use missions. USGS and JRC wish to develop methods for testing information exchange which will be useful to them and other organizations they cooperate with. They will also develop interoperability guidelines that can be applied in procurement decisions. They have brought OGC into their activities because their technical interoperability issues are the kind that OGC works with, and a main function of OGC is to facilitate "Interoperability Initiatives" -- multi-vendor testbeds, pilots, feasibility studies, etc. -- that bring public and private sector organizations together to address such issues. Jean Meyer-Roux, Deputy Director of the Institute for Environment and Sustainability at JRC, said, "Sharing geospatial data has always been important within JRC and between JRC and its many partner agencies and organizations. We are pleased that OGC has made such good progress in bringing the industry to consensus on interoperability issues, and we are glad to provide an opportunity for the consortium to work with us on some new problems whose solutions will benefit many organizations beyond JRC and USGS." Barbara Ryan, Chief Geographer at USGS, said, "OGC's interoperability program provides a valuable catalyst for US/European cooperation in Earth observation. This particular joint project builds on a history of good relationships. USGS and JRC have worked together in the past, and both agencies have been involved with OGC for most of the consortium's seven years." During this first phase OGC will work closely with JRC to formulate a testing plan and project design. JRC will then be able to insert its testing requirements directly into current OGC Interoperability Initiatives, adapt Consortium processes, and work closely with USGS on technological issues related to data sharing for building the interoperable foundation . OGC will develop and deliver a training seminar for JRC staff and other interested parties. A Technical Information Plan (TIP) developed by the three organizations will frame fundamental technical issues such as: creation of catalogs and registries, JRC's operational approaches for metadata record conversion into JRC's centralized catalog, and JRC's operational approaches for its data and information distribution network. OGC is an international industry consortium of over 225 companies, government agencies and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available geoprocessing interface specifications. OpenGIS Specifications support interoperable solutions that "geo-enable" the Web, wireless and location-based services, and mainstream IT, and empower technology developers to make complex spatial information and services accessible and useful with all kinds of applications. Visit the OGC website at . The USGS serves the Nation by providing reliable scientific information to: describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect our quality of life. The Joint Research Centre is a Directorate-General of the European Commission. The mission of the JRC is to provide customer-driven scientific and technical support for the conception, development, implementation and monitoring of EU policies. As a service of the European Commission, the JRC functions as a reference center of science and technology for the Union. Close to the policy-making process, it serves the common interest of the Member States, while being independent of special interests, whether private or national. The JRC structure is based on seven specialized institutes. The JRC employs about 2200 staff (July 2001). Visit the JRC web site at . -- end --