Portrayal Domain Working Group


The Portrayal DWG seeks to address the gap in the OGC standards baseline with regards to portrayal. Although this group will not be the platform for creating new standards, it will be the platform to discuss and understand any issues, concerns, or barriers to interoperability for the portrayal community.

Project Scope

This DWG provides a community to better define a common portrayal framework, provide direction to portrayal standards working groups, and provide guidance to other DWGs on portrayal concerns. Current efforts in the portrayal focus area are not well integrated and lack a unifying perspective. Other domains which focus on functional issues or specific applications are attempting to address portrayal as a unique solution within their domains.


Portrayal, as defined by the OGC, encompasses the presentation of information to humans, such as through a map, particularly focusing on how data is visually represented on the web. This includes the design aspects like the shape and color of symbols representing features, the application of rules for text label display, and the visibility of symbols based on zoom levels, among others. The significance of portrayal extends beyond traditional cartography, covering a broader spectrum that includes 3D visualizations, augmented reality, and gaming and simulation, driven by the evolving demands for geospatial-referenced visualization. The expansion of multi-dimensional portrayal benefits from advancements in information technology and computer graphics, offering a wider array of visualization options and enhancing the relevance and accessibility of geospatial information.

However, the OGC currently faces a challenge in ensuring a cohesive approach to addressing portrayal issues across its various Working Groups. These groups often tackle only specific aspects of portrayal challenges within a fragmented framework. The lack of a unified portrayal framework risks continuing divergence and hampers interoperability within the geospatial community. Recognizing these challenges, the Portrayal DWG has been established to address these interoperability challenges through discussion of the requirements that define a common portrayal conceptual model and examination of modular applications for differing technologies and portrayal encodings to support diverse user communities.


The Portrayal Domain Working Group (DWG) is focused on a comprehensive set of activities aimed at enhancing the coherence and effectiveness of portrayal standards within the geospatial community. Key among its initiatives is the discussion and definition of a portrayal framework and conceptual model, which seeks to unify the array of portrayal approaches and ensure alignment across both existing and emerging standards. The DWG also delves into the variety of portrayal encoding formats, aiming to deepen the understanding of requirements for efficiently encoding and sharing portrayal content. In line with these discussions, the group is tasked with making recommendations for the adoption of best practices and standards tailored for the portrayal community, as well as strategies for the discovery and sharing of portrayal content, including the reuse of symbology and styles. Beyond these core activities, the DWG engages in additional discussions on a range of topics pertinent to portrayal data, such as addressing format-specific challenges, portrayal of tiled feature data and 3D tiles, and considerations for indexing, tiling, and hierarchical decomposition. Furthermore, the group explores simple metadata models for portrayal, the application of portrayal frameworks across various domains, and the establishment of best practices for the storage, access, and management of portrayal rules, symbols, and community portrayal resources through registries and web services.


The Portrayal DWG will work closely with other OGC Working Groups including the Styles and Symbology Encoding SWG and the 3D Portrayal SWG as well as external communities of interest such as the Defence Geospatial Information Working Group (DGIWG), the U.S. National System for Geospatial-Intelligence (NSG), the American, British, Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand (ABCANZ) Armies program, the meteorological and oceanographic community, and the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO).


Working Group Chairs: Iain Burnell (Defence Science & Technology Laboratories), Keith Ryden (Esri)


Collaborative Mapping, Geospatial, Maps

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