OGC® Standards and Supporting Documents

OGC(R) standards are technical documents that detail interfaces or encodings. Software developers use these documents to build open interfaces and encodings into their products and services. These standards are the main "products" of the Open Geospatial Consortium and have been developed by the membership to address specific interoperability challenges. Ideally, when OGC standards are implemented in products or online services by two different software engineers working independently, the resulting components plug and play, that is, they work together without further debugging.

OGC maintains two tracks of standards: the Full standard track and the Community standard track. Each is summarized below.

Full standard track: the Full standard track is a consensus process to develop and approve a standard inside the OGC Technical Committee. In this track, a Standards Working Group is created and that group writes the standard and supports the approval process in the Technical Committee. There are two levels in this track:

  1. OGC standard: this is the traditional OGC standard resulting in an implementable and testable standard or a conceptual model from which implementation standards can be developed; and

  2. OGC standard with Compliance Suite: this is an OGC standard with a proven ability to be implemented. To reach this level, an OGC standard must have at least three reference implementations and there must be an OGC Compliance Program compliance test suite for all mandatory features of the standard.

The Full standard track may use existing specifications to form the basis of a new standard. However, in this process, OGC membership has committed to support and maintain the standard through its lifecycle

Community standard: a Community standard is an official position of the OGC endorsing a specification or standard developed external to the OGC. A Community standard is considered to be a normative standard by OGC membership and part of the OGC Standards Baseline. The key consideration for a Community standard is that there must be strong evidence of implementation. OGC does not take over the maintenance of the work, rather a Community standard is a “snapshot” of a mature standard for which the originator has either shared the Intellectual Property Rights with the OGC or granted unlimited free use of the Intellectual Property to all implementers.

Community standards can serve two purposes:

  1. to bring de facto standards from the larger geospatial community to be a stable reference point that can normatively referenced by governments and other organizations; and

  2. to bring new, but implemented, standards to the OGC to form the basis for further refinement and development of interoperability between other OGC standards.

 

OGC standards and supporting documents are available to the public at no cost.

OGC Web Services (OWS) are OGC standards created for use in World Wide Web applications.

Any Schemas (xsd, xslt, etc) that support an approved (that is, approved by the OGC membership) OGC standard can be found in the official OGC Schema Repository.

All adopted OGC Implementation Standards can be found in this list: OGC Implementation Standards List. Many specifications are in the process of being advanced toward adoption by the OGC membership as official OGC standards. See the OGC Candidate Standard Tracking page.

OGC Abstract Specification

The OGC Technical Committee (TC) has developed an architecture in support of its vision of geospatial technology and data interoperability called the OGC Abstract Specification. The Abstract Specification provides the conceptual foundation for most OGC standard development activities. OGC standards are built and referenced against the Abstract Specification, thus enabling interoperability between different brands and different kinds of spatial processing systems. The Abstract Specification provides a reference model for the development of OGC standards.

OGC Reference Model (ORM)

The OGC Reference Model (ORM) provides a framework for the ongoing work of the OGC. The ORM describes the OGC Standards Baseline (SB) focusing on the relationships between the OGC standards. The OGC SB consists of the approved OGC Abstract Specification and OGC standards as well as OGC Best Practices documents. 

Best Practices Documents

Documents containing discussion of best practices related to the use and/or implementation of an adopted OGC document and for release to the public. Best Practices Documents are an official position of the OGC and thus represent an endorsement of the content of the paper. Schemas for some of these documents can be found at the Best Practices Schema Repository.

Engineering Reports

Engineering Reports (ERs) are a primary output of OGC Interoperability Program Initiatives (testbeds, pilot projects and interoperability experiments).   
ERs can address topics as needed by an initiative including:

  • Requirements
  • Specifications which may become the basis for development of an OGC Standard.
  • Testing Approach and Results (This includes experiment results)
  • Compliance Test Design
  • Next Steps and Lessons Learned

ERs represent consensus positions of the initiative participants and sponsors only.  ERs become a publicly available document by consensus motion of the Specification Program.  An ER does not represent the official position of the OGC nor of the OGC Technical Committee.

Discussion Papers

Documents that present technology issues being considered in the Working Groups of the Open Geospatial Consortium Technical Committee. Their purpose is to create discussion in the geospatial information industry on a specific topic. Discussion papers are not intended to be targets of acquisition descriptions. These papers do not represent the official position of the Open Geospatial Consortium nor of the OGC Technical Committee. Schemas for some of these documents can be found at the Discussion Paper Schema Repository .

White Papers

White papers present technology issues of interest to members of the Open Geospatial Consortium. They are voted on by the membership to be approved for public release, but they do not represent official positions of the Open Geospatial Consortium nor of the OGC Technical Committee.

Change Requests

Change Requests are submitted by anyone for any existing or proposed OGC Standard. Submit a Change Request, Requirement, or Comment for an OGC standard .

Technical Committee Policy Directives

The above standards and documents are governed by the Technical Committee Policy Directives.

How Users and Providers of OGC-Compliant Software Find Each Other

On the OGC's "Implementing Products" page:

  • Technology provider organizations (OGC members and non-members) register products that implement OGC standards. See the Implementing Products Registration page.)
  • Technology users discover and research the registered products.