SensorThings SWG

OGC has identified the need for standardized interfaces for sensors in the Web of Things (WoT).  The Sensor Web interface for IoT SWG aims to develop such a standard based on existing WoT portals with consideration of the existing OGC Sensor Web Enablement (SWE) standards.

The importance of location information and sensor observations to the IoT has been recognized.  Accordingly, OGC conducted several workshops to determine the application of relevant standards to IoT (  A main conclusion of these workshops is contained in this recommendation from the November 2011 workshop:

In today’s world, most sensors have proprietary software interfaces defined by their manufacturers and used selectively. New APIs are requested and developed on an as needed basis, considering resource limitations and risk. This situation requires significant investment on the part of developers with each new sensor or project involving multiple systems and on the part of the providers of sensors, gateways and portals or services where observations are used.  Standardized interfaces for sensors in the Web of Things (WoT) and Internet of Things (IoT), two terms that are frequently used interchangeably, will permit the proliferation of new high value services with lower overhead of development and wider reach.  It will also lower the cost for sensor and gateway providers. 

Over the course of several workshops organized by the Open Geospatial Consortium to determine the application of its standards to IoT ( it has been recommended that the OGC form a new standard working group (SWG).  The goal of the new Sensor Web for IoT SWG is to develop one or more standards based on existing WoT protocols while also leveraging the existing and proven OGC Sensor Web Enablement (SWE) family of standards.

OGC’s Sensor Web Enablement (SWE): standards are the only ones that focus on the content of sensor information and on making the sensor observations useful to end user applications. SWE standards allow users to assessment the fitness for use of observations and to allow accurate processing on the sensed information to create derived information suitable to the users needs.

In much the same way that HTML and HTTP standards enabled the exchange of any type of information on the Web, the OGC SWE standards enable the discovery of sensors and corresponding observations, exchange, and processing of sensor observations, as well as the tasking of sensors and sensor systems. The figure below depicts middleware layers between device level and application level interfaces. Each layer needs a standard interface.

IoT Layers

The formation of Sensor Web for IoT SWG was approved by the OGC membership with its first meeting in Seoul October 2012. The initial scope of the SWIOT SWG seeks to make observations captured by IoT devices easily available to applications and users through data aggregation portals. For more information about the SWIOT SWG, contact Steve Liang, University of Calgary, SWG Convener (steve.liang [at]

Interested in having your organization participate and benefit from the SWIOT SWG? Join OGC. [link to