We share the Earth, so we need to be able to communicate information about the Earth. Communication means “transmitting or exchanging through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior.” Standardization means “agreeing on a common system.” Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) activities all involve diverse organizations seeking agreement on common systems of sharing geospatial data and geoprocessing instructions.
The OGC is an inclusive international consortium of more than 460 companies (including Esri), government agencies, research organizations, and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available geospatial standards. The OGC provides a consensus process that enable information domains such as aviation, meteorology, emergency and disaster management, hydrology, mobile location services, and sensor webs to collaborate on an international basis to solve geospatial data sharing and interoperability issues in their respective domains. Many application communities, building on their earlier data coordination efforts, have developed community-specific OGC Geography Markup Language (GML) application schemas (AIXM for avaiation, GeoSciML for geosciences, WaterML 2.0 for hydrology, etc.).
At the core of the OGC consensus process is the ability to partner in a non-competitive, neutral environment. National mapping agencies partner to solve problems involved in National Spatial Data Infrastructures. Competing vendors partner to share the costs of creating open standards for interfaces and encodings, thus freeing up development resources for other projects that offer customers greater value. Water management agencies and hydrologists from different countries partner to create standards that enable national and international sharing of information about water resources. Companies and agencies of many types work together in OGC working groups focused on topics such as semantics, workflow, security, and data quality.
As spatial technologies grow in importance, the OGC’s sphere of activity keeps expanding. The editors of the ArcGIS Blog would like to invite you to subscribe to the OGC Blog for the latest news, information, and ways you can get involved. In these posts, folks from the OGC touch on the organization’s history, highlight various standards, discuss some of the issues that OGC members are currently focused on, and in the case of ArcGIS they describe Esri’s implementations of OGC standards (and how OGC standards relate to ISO standards and others). When these articles relate significantly to ArcGIS, we at the ArcGIS Blog will cross-post here as well as provide additional commentary when we believe it would be helpful.
Carl Reed, Executive Director and CTO of the OGC’s Standards Program would like to add: “Esri users have a long history of significant accomplishments across the spectrum of geospatial technology application domains. We hope that you will find our OGC posts interesting and useful, and we look forward to your comments!“