Marine Domain Working Group


The Marine DWG is motivated by the widening use of marine data for purposes other than safe navigation, which can be captured loosely under the term Marine Spatial Data Infrastructure (MSDI). Geospatial data in the marine domain has been successfully standardized for navigational purposes by hydrographic agencies for many years.

Project Scope

This DWG is dedicated to addressing the multifaceted technological issues that impact the effective utilization of marine geospatial data beyond the realm of safe navigation. This includes ensuring that these issues are given due consideration within the Open Geospatial Consortium’s (OGC) standards development process. The group’s mission is to expand the use of marine data by deciphering the interoperability requirements specific to various relevant use cases. Acting as a conduit for marine data discourse within the OGC, the Marine DWG’s role encompasses presenting and refining interoperability issues for the Technical Committee’s attention. Additionally, the DWG functions as a liaison to a broad spectrum of industry, government, independent, research, and standards organizations engaged in the marine sector, fostering a collaborative approach to solving marine data challenges


The vastness of the ocean, covering two-thirds of our planet, holds immense importance for food, energy, climate regulation, and global transportation, yet a mere 5% has been mapped at high resolution. This limited mapping hinders our understanding and ability to manage the ocean sustainably. To enhance the coverage, it’s imperative to engage a broader range of stakeholders, recognizing that the expansion of high-resolution mapping may not be achievable if justified solely on the grounds of safe navigation. Considering wider use cases opens opportunities for additional funding streams, essential for extensive survey work. Advancements in technology are crucial, including innovative data collection sensors and devices, alongside new processing and production techniques, to act as force multipliers in this endeavor.

The necessity for standardized use of the burgeoning volumes of marine data, from an array of sources, is pivotal for supporting the Blue Economy. Historically, geospatial data has been standardized for navigation by hydrographic agencies, enabling mariners worldwide to navigate safely. Now, this data is increasingly demanded for diverse applications like environmental protection, emergency response, offshore energy, and fisheries, making data interoperability more critical than ever. Despite existing marine data models and specifications, such as the IHO S-102 and IOGP’s Seafloor Survey Data Model, efforts to ensure that these datasets are interoperable with the broader geospatial community are essential. The challenge is to adopt a “collect once, use many times” approach, making data effectively usable across various industries, including Oil and Gas, Hydrographic Offices, and beyond. As data volumes soar with advanced marine sensors and varied data sources, from unmanned drones to crowd-sourced observations, research into efficient, standardized sensor processing and management becomes increasingly important.


The Marine Domain Working Group (DWG) is established to enhance the interoperability of marine geospatial data, extending its applicability beyond navigational use to broader Marine Spatial Data Infrastructure (MSDI) objectives. The group’s activities will encompass developing a conceptual MSDI model, identifying useful OGC services for hydrographic data dissemination, filling standardization gaps by forming necessary Standards Working Groups, and orchestrating interoperability pilots and testbeds to refine data workflows for diverse applications. Integral to this initiative is the exploration of marine data’s ‘Big Data’ potential, involving the identification and experimentation with standardized interfaces, and securing sponsorships to support these ventures.


The DWG will work closely with the IHO MSDI Working Group and potentially its adjacent groups/commissions/committees under the IHO Inter-regional Coordination Committee and the IHO Hydrographic Services and Standards Committee and other related organizations.


Working Group Chairs: Glenn Laughlin (Pelagis Data Solutions), Rafael Ponce (Esri), Jonathan Pritchard ( IIC Technologies Limited), Gerald J Wong (United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO))


Marine, Marine Spatial Data, Marine Working Groups, Maritime, Navigation

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