Autonomy, Sensors, Things, Robots and Observations Domain Working Group


The OGC Autonomy, Sensors, Things, Robots and Observations (ASTRO) DWG focuses on observations and measurements, sensor model language, sensor observation services, sensor planning service, and SensorThings API to enable real time integration of heterogeneous sensor webs and the Internet of Things into the information infrastructure.

Project Scope

The ASTRO Domain Working Group (DWG) is dedicated to addressing the interoperability challenges faced by communities engaged with the advancements in Sensing System technologies. This group’s work encompasses a wide range of critical issues, including ensuring the consistency in capturing location and geographic orientation with high precision and accuracy from the outset of system design and manufacturing. It aims to provide a unified taxonomy that enables stakeholders to comprehensively understand and manage the lifecycle of sensed observations—from tasking to collection, processing, discovery, and visualization—across diverse platforms such as space, air, marine, and underground environments, covering sensors, “things,” robots, and autonomous systems.

The ASTRO DWG is also committed to sharing the latest innovations in sensor descriptions, metadata standards, interface standards, and data sharing methodologies within the ASTRO community. It focuses on building a repository of advanced processes, models, and processing standards that span artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), computer vision (CV), and advanced geoprocessing techniques. Additionally, the group works on developing and disseminating guidelines for encoding data quality and accuracy, ensuring a comprehensive account of data provenance from initial observation to final application. A significant part of its mission includes educating the ASTRO community on leveraging OGC interoperability standards effectively, including advising manufacturers on integrating these standards into their products, thereby enhancing the interoperability and utility of sensing systems across various domains.


Since its inception in 2003, the Sensor Web Enablement (SWE) Domain Working Group (DWG) has witnessed and contributed to the remarkable evolution of sensor technology and infrastructure. What were once considered peripheral concerns have now become central to the discourse on sensor technology, prompting an expansion of the original SWE DWG’s scope to address these emergent issues more comprehensively.

The landscape of processing power has undergone a seismic shift, with today’s entry-level smartphones boasting more computational capabilities than the most advanced workstations of two decades ago. This surge in processing power has profound implications for sensing architectures, especially within measure-evaluate-react cycles, necessitating a deeper exploration of its impact. Concurrently, the proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies has transformed sensor systems into ubiquitous, modular components, realizing the vision of pervasive computing. This ubiquity challenges the DWG to reconsider the standards supporting movement, which previously did not prioritize the dynamic and varied motions sensor systems can exhibit today, from navigating traffic to erratic drone flights, introducing the concept of time as a crucial fourth dimension in spatial coordinates.

Moreover, the advent of autonomous technologies has significantly advanced, moving from experimental vehicles covering a fraction of a desert course to autonomous vehicles navigating complex urban traffic, highlighting the necessity for standards that can accommodate the stringent performance and safety requirements of real-time, safety-critical sensing systems.

The expansion into space, fueled by decreasing launch costs, has introduced a new realm of challenges for sensing systems, from navigating extraterrestrial bodies to accommodating for the relativistic effects in deep space exploration. These advancements call for a reevaluation of coordinate and temporal reference systems to support true 3D navigation and timekeeping beyond Earth-bound conventions.

The ASTRO DWG has thus positioned itself as a vital community for stakeholders across the spectrum, from researchers and technologists to data and service providers, to collaborate on addressing the technical, human, and organizational challenges in the sensor and sensing system domains. It aims to facilitate the development of new processes, activities, and collaborative approaches through the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), fostering a unified framework for representing and sharing geospatial data and enhancing interoperability within the broader information system environment.


The ASTRO Domain Working Group (DWG) is set to embark on a series of pivotal activities aimed at advancing the field of Autonomy, Sensors, Things, Robots, and Observation (ASTRO) technologies. These activities are designed to explore the cutting-edge of research, innovation, and practical applications, as well as to assess the implications of these technologies for both the business and public sectors. A significant part of the DWG’s agenda is to identify and articulate the goals of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) as they pertain to ASTRO-related data, technology, and market dynamics, ensuring that these elements are adequately addressed within the broader scope of OGC’s standards initiatives.

The DWG plans to tackle business-related issues and strategize on how the OGC can effectively integrate considerations specific to Autonomy, Sensors, Things, Robots, and Observation. This will involve the careful definition of business objectives, tasks, and timelines, aligning them with the overarching goals of the OGC. Furthermore, the group is committed to defining strategies for actively engaging with the ASTRO community, with the aim of garnering support and fostering a collaborative environment. Through these concerted efforts, the ASTRO DWG aspires to contribute significantly to the development and refinement of OGC standards, ensuring they remain relevant and responsive to the evolving landscape of ASTRO technologies.


The ASTRO Domain Working Group (DWG) is set to collaborate with a number of OGC Working Groups, given the interconnected nature of their focus areas, particularly in the realms of robotics, sensors, and related technologies. Key collaborations are anticipated with the IndoorGML SWG for sensor installations and robot navigation in indoor settings; the Moving Features SWG for the encoding and tracking of moving objects; the Observations and Measurements SWG focusing on sensor observation fundamentals; and the SensorThings API SWG, which provides an API for IoT sensor observations and tasking. Additionally, the Sensor Model Language SWG will contribute to complex sensor data encoding and command control; the Smart Cities DWG will offer insights into sensor-enabled infrastructure; the Temporal DWG will delve into the time aspects of systems and sensors; and the Uninhabited Systems DWG will integrate many of these elements onto a single platform. Through these collaborations, the ASTRO DWG aims to enhance the integration and interoperability of robotics and sensor technologies across a wide range of applications.


Working Group Chairs: Mike Botts (Botts Innovative Research), Steve Liang (University of Calgary)


Geospatial, Sensor Integration, Sensor Observation Service, Sensor Planning Service, SensorML, Sensors, SensorThings

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