OGC Standards Enable Armchair Captains to Track Rolex Fastnet Races
Sam Bacharach Executive Director, Outreach and Community Adoption Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc tel: +1-703-352-3938 sbacharach [at] opengeospatial.org
Friday, 12 August 2005 UTC
Wayland, Mass, August 12, 2005 - There's a bit of invisible magic enabling the mapping website that shows the current positions of the sailing vessels in this year's Rolex Fastnet race from the Isle of Wight to Plymouth. Visitors to http://www.netandsea.com/fastnetrace/ see colorful maps from Netency with regularly updated data on 10 of the 250 yachts. But what pulls all the data together underneath? Elegant open geospatial standards. Netency has covered a series of races on its website since January of this year. The Rolex Fasnet Race is the fifth. How does the company "custom build" a website for each race? It takes advantage of Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. (OGC) standards that make calling one map as easy as calling another, no matter what software in the background. Netency can call different background maps for different races from different servers across the world. The real time data on boat locations and winds are automatically overlain to create the real time maps. "OGC specifications were really an important part of the architecture from its conception, in particular the OGC Web Map Service (WMS). The standard provides such flexibility to the website architecture. We can change the rendering of map by just referencing another WMS server!" noted Didier Caillon, the technical lead at Netency. The race runs biennially and is considered one of the world's classic ocean races covering 608 miles including tricky tidal currents and changeable weather conditions. The race is organized by the Royal Ocean Racing Club, with the Royal Yacht Squadron and the Royal Western Yacht Club, Plymouth. It began on Sunday August 7 and wrapped up on August 10th. Sailing schools, corporate institutions, family owned and crewed cruiser-racers, dedicated amateurs, club sailors along with the hardened champions from all over the world. The OGC is an international industry consortium of more than 270 companies, government agencies and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available interface specifications. OpenGIS® Specifications support interoperable solutions that "geo-enable" the Web, wireless and location-based services, and mainstream IT. The specifications empower technology developers to make complex spatial information and services accessible and useful with all kinds of applications. Visit the OGC website at http://www.opengeospatial.org.