NGA Standards Document Features OGC Specifications

Sam Bacharach
Executive Director, Outreach and Community Adoption
Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc
tel: +1-703-352-3938
sbacharach [at]
Tuesday, 20 February 2007 UTC
Wayland, Mass., February 20, 2007. The U.S. Department of Defense National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) has issued a document, "Enabling A Common Vision" (, which outlines the overall National System for Geospatial-Intelligence (NSG) standards baseline. Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Specifications figure prominently in this U.S. Federal and national baseline.

Shortly after September 11, 2001, the National Center for Geospatial Intelligence Standards (NCGIS) was formed by the NGA to develop and coordinate geospatial standards with other Department of Defense (DoD) agencies, other intelligence agencies, standards organizations, civil agencies, private industry, and foreign partners. These groups have worked with NCGIS to develop and mature a set of standards that enable data and service interoperability in the context of a service-oriented architecture (SOA).

As the document states, "The domestic civil community and the international community are implementing largely the same suite of common geospatial standards as the NSG.... This architecture is particularly valuable to the Homeland Security community within the NSG, allowing it to share investments in geospatial data and knowledge related to critical infrastructure and natural environments with U.S. cities, counties and other organizations to support the prevention and mitigation of national disaster and security situations."

In "Enabling A Common Vision," the NSG has endorsed a set of key specifications known collectively as the OGC Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) 1.0 baseline. These OGC standards include the OpenGISĀ® Specifications for Web Feature Service (WFS), Geography Markup Language (GML), Web Map Service (WMS), Styled Layer Descriptor (SLD), Catalogue Services (CS-Web), and Filter Encoding Specification (FE). Other standards included are ISO 19115 Geographic Information - Metadata, and ISO 19119 Geographics Information - Services.

NGA's position on standards stated in the document parallels a growing policy direction developing across the defense and intelligence community, and across many other communities of interest around the world, toward a greater mandate for open standards based, interoperable technology solutions.

The OGC is an international industry consortium of more than 335 companies, government agencies, research organizations, and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available interface specifications. OpenGISĀ® 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