OGC Innovation Program


Reduced Risk – Lower Cost – More Innovation – Agile Process


The OGC Innovation Program provides a collaborative agile process for solving geospatial challenges. Organizations (sponsors and technology implementers) come together to solve problems, produce prototypes, develop demonstrations, provide best practices, and advance the future of standards. Since 1999 more than 100 initiatives have been taking place from in-kind interoperability experiments run by a working group to multi-million dollar testbeds with hundreds of participants.

The first Innovation Program initiative was in 1999, when the Web Mapping Testbed took place and helped to develop the most popular OGC standard: the Web Map Service (WMS). Today, hundreds of thousands of data layers are available via WMS, and more than ten thousand articles are available related to this subject.


The Innovation Program provides a world recognized process for users of geospatial technology to collaborate and share the costs of advancing technologies for future enterprise architectures. Initiatives under the Innovation Program have proven to:

  • Reduce technology risk through accelerating development, testing and acceptance of interoperability standards with the refinement of standards and best practices
  • Expand the market and improve choice by encouraging industry adoption of new standards and best practices, ensuring market availability of interoperable solutions
  • Mobilize new technologies through providing participants with real world experience and a platform to innovate while driving early adoption of standards
  • Provide cost effective method for sponsors and participants to share expertise and development while gaining early marketplace insight and advantage


Governed by a set of proven policies, processes and procedures, the OGC IP initiatives fall under one of the following categories:

  • Testbeds are fast-paced, multi-vendor collaborative efforts to define, design, develop, and test candidate interface and encoding specifications. These draft specifications then move into the OGC Standards Program where they are reviewed, revised and potentially approved as new international standards.
  • Pilots apply and test OGC standards in real world applications using Standards Based Commercial Off-The-Shelf (SCOTS) products that implement OGC standards. Pilot projects are an opportunity for users to understand how to best address their requirements using standards-based architectures.
  • Plugfests provide a venue and scenarios to test and validate that software products can interoperate with other products implementing the same standards. 
  • OGC Engineering Services are designed to help organizations with open, standards-based architectures.
  • Interoperability Experiments are brief, low-overhead, formally structured and approved initiatives led and executed by OGC members to achieve specific technical objectives that further the OGC Technical Baseline.
  • Concept Development studies assess emerging technologies and architectures capable of supporting eventual Interoperability Initiatives and Standards activities. They may examine alternative mechanisms that enable commercial technology to interoperate to meet sponsor requirements.

IP Pool

To best support the technical architecture and management of these initiatives, the OGC Innovation Program relies on an IP Pool. The IP Pool is a set of  world-wide organizations and independent consultants, experts in various domains, that have been pre-qualified to support future OGC IP initiatives. 


If you have an idea for an initiative, are interested in participating in the IP Pool or simply have a question or comment, contact the Director of the OGC Innovation Program (ip _AT_ogc.org).