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					OGC Overview



                                 What is OGC ?


The Open GIS Consortium, Inc. (OGC) is a not-for-profit, US-based, international
industry standards organization that addresses interoperability in the realm of
geoprocessing and brings geospatial technologies and their users to the mainstream IT
marketplace. The Consortium has been in existence since 1994. OGC has more than
215 members including: integrators such as Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Mitsubishi,
SAIC, Harris, and TRW; major hardware and software companies such as Sun
Microsystems, Oracle, and Microsoft; essentially every commercial developer of
mapping, charting, and imaging products; and US government agencies that depend
on geoprocessing, including NIMA, NASA, USGS, USA/TEC, Dept. of Agriculture,
NOAA and FEMA See OGC’s membership lists for more complete information:
http://www.opengis.org/memb_hp.htm
OGC’s strategic, operational, and technical decisions are the concerns of the OGC
Board of Directors, Management Committee, and Technical Committee, respectively.
Collectively, these groups represent the major participant and interest groups in the
geoprocessing community. Each level operates by consensus, and each level is linked
to the others by process and overlapping membership.
 Board of Directors: The OGC Board of Directors is comprised of respected
    leaders in the information technology community who are elected by the
    Management Committee. Directors need not be affiliated with OGC member
    organizations. The Board maintains OGC’s bylaws and strategic plan and
    authorizes implementation of the corporate business plan.
 Management Committee (MC): The Management Committee decides on
    significant Consortium management issues that relate directly to the members’
    own business issues, and the Management Committee oversees the Technical
    Committee.
 Technical Committee (TC): The Technical Committee develops the OpenGIS
    Specification.

Levels of Membership in OGC
Membership level establishes an organization’s level of participation in the
Management Committee and Technical Committee. Most members are Principal,
Technical Committee, or Associate members. The membership levels are defined in
terms of member benefits, as described below.
Principal Membership: Principal Members participate and vote in both the OGC
Technical Committee and the OGC Management Committee. Principal Members
have priority in chairing Technical Committee SIGs and WGs. Principal Members
pay no fee for product conformance testing services. Principal Members have
opportunities to tune their business strategies with the help of OGC staff. The OGC
Management Committee, composed mainly of Principal Members’ representatives,
provides a management structure for OGC’s Interoperability Initiative and Testing
programs and for the Technical Committee Technology Development Process. The
Management Committee is charged with business planning for the consortium as well

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OGC Overview

as management of the consortium’s specification release process and Strategic
Member programs. Standing MC subcommittees are in place to manage OGC’s
“market architecture” and “plan and schedule,” which are the drivers of the overall
business plan. The OGC Business Plan is developed by the Management Committee
and approved by the Board of Directors. The Management Committee elects OGC’s
Directors. The OGC Management Committee approves special negotiated
memberships and committee participation. The yearly fee for Principal Membership
is $50,000 USD.
There are two parts to the Business Development Support OGC offers to Principal
Members. These may be defined as internal and external to the member organization.
 Internal business development services provides Principal Members with business
     opportunity identification, strategic and business planning reviews, product
     positioning, market and trend forecasting and related activities. OGC staff
     possess a comprehensive understanding of the marketspace for geospatial
     technology, data and services, and it is this knowledge base that is offered to
     Principal Members for their strategic and tactical planning activities.
 External business development support provides Principal Members with business
     networking services to help members form technology partnerships and
     community-based alliances. Networking services covers the geospatial market as
     well related markets that are beginning to pay more attention to the geospatial
     industry, such as telecommunications, transportation, and defense.
Technical Committee Membership: Technical Committee Members participate and
vote in the OGC Technical Committee. The OGC Technical Committee is the
primary operational unit of the consortium. It is comprised of the technical
representatives of all OGC member organizations and is charged with creating the
OpenGIS Specification. The Technical Committee does the bulk of its work through
its Special Interest Groups (SIG)s and Working Groups. The yearly fee for Technical
Committee Membership is $10,000.
Associate Membership: Associate Members (commercial associate members,
university associate members, and approved individual members) are granted non-
voting participation in the Technical Committee and have full access to all OGC
proprietary technical documents. The yearly fee for Commercial Associate
Membership is $4,000 and the yearly fee for University Associate Membership is
$300.

General Benefits of Membership in OGC
It is important to emphasize that all members attend our Technical Committee
meetings, which last for four days and are held every two months at locations around
the world, hosted by our members. The working and informational sessions are very
informative, and the informal meetings provide many opportunities for technology
providers and users to learn from each other and to conduct business to business
discussions.
Our next meeting is scheduled for June 5 in Munich Germany. Through membership,
your company will be “at the table” with other leading edge commercial companies
and government agencies who have a common purpose - to derive maximum
technological and business value for their customers and organizations. From this
vantage point you will be able to:
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OGC Overview

   Develop business relationships with any member;
   Increase knowledge about new workflow processes that result from interoperable
    products and content;
   Formulate business alliances to support ongoing business process integration
    efforts;
   Provide flexibility and choice for your company’s customers – by having access
    to a much wider variety of information, products, and online processing services
    that are ineroperable; and
   Provide a rapid pathway for developing solutions that meet customer
    requirements.

OGC’s Specification Development Process
OGC’s Product: OpenGIS Specifications
OGC has published completed interface specifications for five different “families” of
specifications: Simple Feature Access, Catalog Services, Gridded Coverage Services,
Coordinate Transformations and Web Mapping. In addition, multiple Java submittals
are under review, and an “OGC Recommendation” has been issued regarding the
“GML” standard for encoding spatial data in XML. (See summaries of these in the
“Data Sheets” available on OGC’s web site at
http://www.opengis.org/info/gisworld/index.htm.)
These finished specifications represent only a small part of the total. Many others are
in various stages of completion. Of special intereste are the pending specifications
for Terrain Analysis, Data Fusion, Topological Operations for Grid Coverages, Image
Exploitation Services, and additions to the Grid Coverages specification. In each of
these specification areas, committees are working to develop specifications for open
interfaces that enable different vendors’ systems to communicate.

Technical Committee
The Technical Committee runs “core” special interest groups (SIGs) that develop
abstract specifications in core areas such as coordinate transformation, catalogs and
terrain modeling. These abstract specifications guide the development of
implementation specifications, which are actual engineering specifications for open
interfaces.
The Technical Committee also runs “domain” SIGs that focus on application domains
such as transportation, telecommunications, government, land information, and
disaster management. The domain SIGs help organize domain activities and they
also can work to document domain requirements for OpenGIS specifications. See the
OGC Data Sheet on SIGs and WGs on OGC’s web site, and see the Disaster
Management SIG public website at http://www.opengis.org/disaster/index.htm.
During the four days of a bimonthly Technical Committee meeting, there are also
plenary sessions and smaller informational sessions on various topics. Progress in
OGC’s liaison work with ISO TC/211 is reported, for example. At the April meeting,
a representative of the Internet Engineering Task Force spoke about Location-Based
Services, and described how IETF and OGC will begin working together so that IETF
does not “re-invent the wheel” in the area of spatial standards.

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OGC Overview

OGC’s Interoperability Program
OGC's first Interoperability Initiative, the 1999 Web Mapping Testbed Phase 1
(WMT-1), showed how specifications can be developed faster in a testbed than they
can be developed in the Technical Committee. WMT-1 led to formalization of OGC's
Interoperability Program and its suite of Interoperability Initiatives.
A testbed is proposed by a sponsor or group of sponsors (usually, but not necessarily,
government agencies) who want rapid development of one or more specifications.
The sponsors offer compensation to technology provider “participants” (usually, but
not necessarily, software companies or integrators) who also contribute in-kind
resources to the effort. There are no restrictions on who can be a sponsor or a
participant, except that all must be or become members of OGC. (OGC membership
is open to all organizations.) Participating technology provider organizations form a
team of engineers who commit to several months of “rapid prototyping” that yields a
progressively improved new specification. The participants reach consensus on a
version that they submit to the Technical Committee through OGC’s “Request for
Comment” (RFC) process. In this way, after minor changes, the OpenGIS Web Map
Server Interface Specification was adopted in April, 2000.
Other Interoperability Initiatives -- pilot projects, insertion projects, feasibility
studies, etc. -- do not necessarily result in specifications, but they provide a structure
in which a sponsor or group of sponsors can get valuable input into their system
architecture plans and move toward early adoption of interoperable geoprocessing
solutions that involve multiple vendors. Here's an overview of OGC’s
Interoperability Initiatives:
 Web Mapping Testbed Phase 1. WMT-1 was conceived early in 1999 as a
    "rapid prototyping" approach for developing a interfaces for access and display of
    maps on the Web. Between April and September, funded about 20% by
    sponsoring organizations and 80% by participating commercial technology
    providers, a dedicated team of technologists developed the OpenGIS Web Map
    Server Interface Specification (now available at
    http://www.opengis.org/techno/specs.htm) for interfaces which enable automatic
    overlay, in ordinary web browsers, of map images obtained from multiple
    dissimilar map servers, regardless of map scale, projection, earth coordinate
    system or digital format. This effort also yielded a recommendation paper for a
    proposed standard XML encoding scheme for spatial data - Geography Markup
    Language (GML can be found at http://www.opengis.org/techno/specs.htm, XML
    is "Extensible Mark-Up Language," a major Web technology that offers much
    more capability than HTML.)
 WMT USL Pilot Project. The WMT USL Pilot Project, running from March
    through May, 2000, is aiding the US Army Corps of Engineers Engineering
    Research and Development Center (ERDC) assess the feasibility of implementing
    a multi-user, multi-vendor web-enabled mapping and planning framework in
    Central and Northeastern Pennsylvania to support flood control and
    environmental restoration efforts. Based on work done in WMT-1, the project
    establishes a web-enabled framework to manage and deliver geographic content
    to multiple users, to help them 1) use online maps and Earth images to understand
    their physical and cultural environment, 2) respond effectively to challenges
    illuminated by geographic visualization, and 3) work effectively with others to

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OGC Overview

    make spatially-informed decisions. The Phase 1 framework will be demonstrated
    on May 25, 2000.
    The USL Project Plan can be found on OGC’s web site at available at
     http://www.opengis.org/uslpilot/20000126_uslpilot_plan.htm.
 Web Mapping Testbed Phase 2. The WMT-2 Request For Quotation and Call
    for Participation has been released. (See http://www.opengis.org/wmt2/.) WMT-
    2's main focus is defining the interfaces for a basic set of services related to
    catalogs, portrayal, and security and authentication. GML and XML technologies
    are being explored, and existing WMT1 interfaces and functionality are being
    extended. WMT-1 sponsors and participants provided requirements and requests
    for capabilities to be considered during WMT-2. The USL Pilot Project proved to
    be an additional source of requirements, requests, and technical components for
    WMT-2, yielding ideas for web-based interoperability in areas such as map
    symbolization, spatio-temporal representation, and services metadata. Some of
    these may be incorporated in the list of requirements set forth by WMT-2's
    Australian, British, Canadian, and US sponsors. Responses to the RFQ are due on
    May 24
 Geospatial Fusion Testbed. On April 18, 2000, OGC released a Request For
    Quotation (RFQ) to solicit technology proposals for the In-Q-Tel sponsored
    Geospatial Fusion Services Testbed. (See http://www.opengis.org/gfs/.) This
    testbed's goal is to automate the fusion of geospatial characteristics into an overall
    information framework. For example, a query for information about the Federal
    Triangle of Washington, D.C., would yield not only maps and perhaps photos of
    the buildings, but text reports and incidents that occurred there as well. To help
    achieve this, OpenGIS Specifications will enable interoperation across the Web
    between different vendors' geoprocessing systems to dynamically integrate
    information from multiple online sources into one map image or a series of maps
    that visually communicate information. Phase 1 is scheduled to complete by mid-
    October of this year. Follow-on phases will concentrate on fusion and
    maintenance of the underlying data layers, distributed decision support, analytical
    services, and tailored visualizations of data. Responses to the RFQ are due May
    24.
 OpenGIS.net -- A Cumulative Resource. All Interoperability Initiatives are
    expected to result in reference applications, programming examples, lists of
    experts, and test suites, tools, and environments which will be maintained as
    resources for vendor participants and sponsoring agencies. These will serve
    subsequent initiatives as well as activities undertaken by members outside OGC's
    formal process. These resources will be hosted on OpenGIS.net, a site resourced
    and maintained by OGC for its members.
The overall goal of these initiatives is to rapidly develop open interface specifications
that lead to Standards-based Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (SCOTS) geoprocessing
software products that interoperate. Besides producing OpenGIS specifications, the
Interoperability Program brings dozens of providers and users together in a collegial
situation that teaches them how they can help their organizations benefit as soon as
possible from these specifications.


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OGC Overview

Overview of OGC’s Services to US Federal Agencies
OGC has considerable experience in building specification consensus within and
between US Federal agencies. We are successful in this because we offer such
organizations and groups of cooperating organizations their best hope for geospatial
interoperability. Benefits of such interoperability include: data sharing, extended use
of legacy systems, broader internet access to legacy resources, more competition
among vendors (freedom to choose “best of breed” and less dependence on particular
vendors), better procurement planning, architectures based on components, less
investment in data conversion and redundant data archiving, and integration of
diverse resources in Internet-based systems. Here is very condensed overview of
OGC’s US Federal programs:
 OGC has worked closely with the National Imagery and Mapping Agency
    (NIMA) and NIMA customer organizations in planning for the Geospatial and
    Imagery Infrastructure, and now OpenGIS specifications are an integral part of
    NIMA’s technology foundation.
 OpenGIS specifications are becoming very important in NASA and the US
    Geological Survey (USGS), particularly with the success of the Web Mapping
    Testbed.
 USGS’s “Gateway to the Earth” (web-based public access to most USGS data
    holdings) will be based on the OpenGIS Web Map Server Interface Specification
    and its follow-on standards.
 The interagency Digital Earth initiative has embraced OpenGIS standards.
 OGC has an ongoing working relationship with the Federal Geographic Data
    Committee to establish an open specification foundation for the National Spatial
    Data Infrastructure. (FGDC contributed significantly to the OpenGIS Catalog
    Specification, which now is an essential part of FGDC’s NSDI Clearinghouse.)
 As a consequence of the existence of three OpenGIS specifications, several US
    Government agencies and large businesses (within the telecommunications and
    oil and gas industries) have asked the Consortium for assistance in designing
    appropriate language for procurement documents addressing situations that would
    benefit from OpenGIS conformant products and services.
 All of OGC’s US Federal Members have been involved to some degree in our
    Interoperability Program. Most have been co-sponsors of one or more of our
    Interoperability Initiatives.
 NIMA, NASA, US Army ERDC, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation
    Service, Federal Geographic Data Committee, USGS-National Mapping Division,
    and US National Science Foundation are all Principal members of OGC. Also
    note from the list of members, a number of other agencies from the US and other
    countries are Technical Committee members and Associate Members.

OGC’s International Activities
OGC has technology user and developer members from all over the globe, and we are
working in global regions to develop regional approaches that serve those regions’
needs:


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OGC Overview

   In Europe, the GIPSIE Project was begun three years ago, the Europe SIG was
    formed last year, and OGC-Europe has just recently been established. These
    projects and organizational structures represent an evolving effort to create a
    European impetus for OGC that meets Europe’s needs.
   Our contacts with the Canadian government have grown as the number of
    Canadian companies in OGC has grown. As it happens, these companies have
    been active players in the Web Mapping Testbed.
   In Australia, a consortium of public agencies and private sector companies was
    formed specifically to organize co-sponsorship of the Web Mapping Testbed, and
    many of the private sector members were participants (technical contributors) in
    the testbed. A regional SIG is now under discussion.
   In Japan, over a dozen companies are members of OGC in addition to the
    National Spatial Data Infrastructure Promoting Association (NSDIPA) which has
    provided a voice for OGC Specifications in leading Japanese companies.
Referenced Attachments: - Documents referenced above may be obtained from
OGC’s web site (http://www.opengis.org):
OGC Membership Lists
Data sheets:
   OpenGIS Specificaitons - Grid Coverages, Simple Features, Catalog Server,
    Coordinate Transformations;
   Specification Development - SIGs and WG, Coordination with Standards
    Organizations;
   Interoperability Program - Overview, Web Mapping 2

How to Join and Participate
Additional benefits of membership are described at the OGC home page, and a
membership application form with instructions is available at the OGC home page:
http://www.opengis.org/info/members/MshipApp.doc




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