Toulouse or not Toulouse? An insight for those who missed the November 2019 OGC TC meeting

Capitole of Toulouse, and the square of the same name with the Occitan cross designed by Raymond Moretti on the ground.
Capitole de Toulouse: the stunning location of the TC Dinner and Gardels Award Ceremony. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

For a handy infographic summarizing the event, click here or scroll to the end of the post.

From 18-12 November, 2019, around 180 OGC Members from across the globe attend our 113th Technical Committee (TC) Meeting at the Toulouse Evénements Centre de Congrès Pierre Baudis in Toulouse, France.

As always, it was great to see our members coming together, welcoming and working with new and existing members alike, and involving the many guests that attended. For all - long time members, new members, guests, and staff - the week provided a plethora of interesting working group meetings, sessions, and social events.

Special sessions were held for the Europe Forum, an Augmented Reality Summit, an ad hoc meeting with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) on transportation topics. We also, during an OGC Value working session, opened the floor for input from our members concerning the value they gain from their engagement with OGC. Other extended sessions included meetings of the joint OGC-W3C Spatial Data on the Web Subcommittee, as well as the joint OGC-ISO/TC 211 work on Observations and Measurements. Finally, there was also the presentation of the "Manchester 3D Data Viewer" CityGML v3 visualization tool developed by the winners of the 2019 CityGML Challenge, Claus Nagel and Thomas Adolphi of virtualcitySYSTEMS.

On Wednesday, we had the honour being invited by the Vice Mayor of Toulouse to the Capitole de Toulouse: the heart of the municipal administration of Toulouse and its city hall. The Reception Hall "Les Illustres" is a stunningly beautiful hall, covered with flamboyant frescoes, and provided an unforgettable location to present our annual Gardels Award.

The Gardels Award is awarded each year to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to advancing OGC's vision of using location to connect people, communities, technology, and decision making for the greater good. The 2019 Gardels Award went to Linda van den Brink, who has been an “outstanding representative both internal to OGC and external” consistently fostering coordination between OGC and other standards and industry bodies. Congratulations, Linda!

OGC members at the Reception Hall "Les Illustres" at the Capitole de Toulouse, including 2019 Gardels Award winner, Linda van den Brink
OGC members at the Reception Hall "Les Illustres" at the Capitole de Toulouse, including 2019 Gardels Award winner, Linda van den Brink

But back to the meetings…
The Opening Plenary began with a joint presentation from Airbus by Eric Soulères, Senior Vice President, Head of Engineering for CIS and an OGC Board member, and François Lombard, Senior Vice President, Director of Intelligence Business. Eric described the business scope of Airbus and highlighted the importance of the Toulouse region in the air and space industries. François highlighted specific instances where OGC standards fit within the Airbus defense and intelligence portfolio. Erwin Folmer of the Netherlands Kadaster followed with a presentation on “The Kadaster Knowledge Graph and LOKI,” which discussed the Dutch use of knowledge graphs to traverse key registries and link the “system of silos” in government data stores.

The focus of the Europe Forum session was on the Innovation Program, followed by a summary of OGC’s forum activities. We had some interesting input and conversations on what can be done at the national and regional levels. I’m looking forward to 2020, when we will have more events organised and run by our global fora.

The AR Summit was held on Wednesday and included participation from other AR industry forums outside the OGC membership. Presentations and participation from the Open AR Cloud, the Augmented Reality Enterprise Alliance (AREA), and the UMI3D Consortium highlighted the need for standardization within the AR community. OGC members also briefed AR efforts in their organizations, with a focus on use cases for the infrastructure and construction industries. The discussions held at the AR Summit will help frame the development of an upcoming OGC White Paper, which will examine existing standards relevant to AR, as well as any gaps in interoperability that may be solved by OGC and partner organizations. The agenda for the AR Summit can be found here. OGC Members can download the presentations given at the AR summit from the OGC Portal.

H.C. Gruler from Leica Geosystems presenting on Enterprise and Integration during the AR Summit
H.C. Gruler from Leica Geosystems presenting on Enterprise and Integration during the AR Summit.

The Transportation collaboration meeting with W3C covered a range of topics relevant to information systems in vehicles. Ted Guild of W3C provided an overview of W3C activities in standards for transportation. Eurecom and BMW presented on the W3C Vehicle Information Service Specification, a WebSocket-based API for vehicle signals. Clemens Portele of Interactive Instruments detailed some of the results from the OGC Open Routing API Pilot. Finally, George Percivall, OGC’s CTO, led a discussion of emerging technology trends in Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs), including the relevance of the OpenDrive specification.

Future Directions
The Future Directions session focused on select topics from OGC’s Testbed 15, organized under six threads. Ingo Simonis and Greg Buehler of OGC jointly highlighted key work from the following threads.

  • Earth Observation Applications Discovery: building upon work from last year’s Testbed 14, this thread focused on app and process discovery for earth observation data exploitation.
  • Data-Centric Security: examined the use of encrypted containers and fine-grained data security controlled by location and time. Two NATO STANAGS (4778 and 4774) were assessed in use with the new OGC API – Features standard.
  • Machine Learning: a series of scenario-based investigations of integrating Machine Learning models within the OGC Web Services ecosystem were shown.
  • Federated Cloud Analytics: assessed the functionality required of a Federation Manager. The thread also considered the suitability of the OGC Web Processing Service (WPS) 2.0 standard as an API for cloud analytics. Finally, study was made of the use of Distributed Ledger technology for managing provenance information in federated clouds.
  • Open Portrayal Framework: explored APIs to manage style development and discovery, data tiling and tile update, and provision of data to offline GeoPackages.
  • Delta Updates: recognizing that transactions and incremental updates of data are important across many web APIs, this thread focused on the delta update (integration of a Change Set) of feature data in a Web Feature Service or OGC API – Features.

Open OAB
The Open OAB provides the general TC membership an opportunity to discuss topics addressed in the OGC Architecture Board (OAB) over the preceding months. The Open OAB session also served to highlight the current state of the Technology Trends evaluation process and to seek input from TC Members on that effort.

In Toulouse, the Open OAB concentrated on two topics:
First, OGC’s George Percivall and Tobias Lindaaker, from Neo4j, examined the priority Technology Trend centered on Property Query Graph languages. This trend is of particular importance at this time because recent work in W3C has added geospatial and temporal properties to graph query languages, and also emerging is the Graph Query Language (GQL) Standard from ISO/IEC JTC1 / SC 32. Given the emergence of so many OGC standardization efforts to better support web-native and linked data, GQL and other graph query methods will be of increasing importance and should include the current state-of-the-art in geospatial and temporal capabilities.

OGC CTO George Percivall presenting at the Open OAB session
OGC CTO George Percivall presenting at the Open OAB session.

The second topic was the outgrowth of a discussion in the OAB meeting on Monday of the TC Meeting week where a model for governance of the OGC API suite of standards was proposed. The OAB suggested that more formalized evidence of collaboration and coherence amongst the OGC API SWGs was essential to the OAB’s review of a candidate standard. OGC’s Scott Simmons led a discussion of the OGC API roadmap and the process by which SWGs should work together to ensure that the standard from each SWG adheres to the emerging OGC API – Common and does not conflict with other OGC APIs. The Technical Committee membership provided excellent input into the discussion such that a new policy directive to define the governance was approved in the Closing Plenary.

Based on these and other discussions at the Toulouse TC Meeting, the OGC Web API Guidelines will be significantly enhanced to help guide coherence between the standards in work. Please help us improve the guidelines by submitting Issues via OGC’s GitHub account. The efforts on Maps and Tiles have also been separated in recognition that a Tile standard is useful for several other OGC API resources.

Another notable topic at the TC Meeting was Land Administration. OGC has long worked closely with ISO/TC 211 to help define requirements for the Land Administration Domain Model (LADM, ISO 19152:2012).That standard is currently under revision in ISO, and OGC Working Groups have been identifying applicable intersections with other efforts, such as Land and Infrastructure, Marine Spatial Data Infrastructure, and Marine Limits and Boundaries. OGC recently agreed to host on the OGC Definitions Server the Cadastre and Land Administration Thesaurus (CaLAThe) as a publicly-available registry.

Yet again, the week offered many opportunities to get up to speed on: what is being discussed in the various OGC working groups; the state-of-play in solving your interoperability issues, and; the R&D undertaken within OGC’s Innovation Program

As usual, this blog post can only provide a small glimpse into the work done by OGC members and the broader community, but - with a growing number of societal and environmental challenges - it’s always clear to see at our TC Meetings that OGC and our members continue to use location to connect people, communities, technology, and decision making to create a sustainable future for us and future generations.

If you want to learn more about the happenings and outcomes of the Toulouse TC, OGC members can access many meeting recordings and presentations via the Toulouse TC Meeting page on the OGC Portal. Non-members can download a public version of the 2019 Toulouse OGC TC Meeting Closing Plenary Slides. Tweets from the week can be found at #OGC19FR, and the week’s agenda can be viewed at the 2019 Toulouse TC Page on OGC Meet.

Readers are also encouraged to visit OGC’s GitHub page to participate in OGC related discussions, such as ideas for Innovation Program Initiatives and future OGC TC meeting topics, or to see our latest OGC Technology Trends

The next OGC TC Meeting will be held 2-6 March, 2020, in Hong Kong. More information on the upcoming TC, including registration details, is available on ogcmeet.org.

Last but not least, if you are interested in engaging with our work and contributing to the work done by our members, don’t hesitate to get in touch with atrakas [at] ogc.org (me) or any other of my colleagues.

Live long and in peace!