The OGC provides a consensus process that communities of interest use to solve problems related to the creation, communication and use of spatial information. A community of interest might be those people who are interested in ocean observation, or those who are interested in 3D modeling of urban environments, or those who are interested in volunteered location information during disasters. These communities sort roughly into the ten domains below. The OGC facilitates dialog within and between these domains leading to testbeds, pilot projects and interoperability experiments that deliver candidate interface and encoding specifications and best practices. These are vetted in the OGC Standards Program. After thorough review, testing, public comment and refinement, they usually pass a vote to become adopted OGC standards packaged with associated compliance tests.

Spatial data and spatial processing, both simple or complex, can be integral to the Web and other networks only through open standards. The OGC’s continual growth in membership since 1994 is evidence of the value members discover in belong to this unique, collegial and efficient networking and standards-producing organization.

Aviation: To improve air travel safety and operational efficiency, the global aviation community is moving forward on the adoption of an international framework of standards that enable communication in a net-centric, globally interoperable Air Transport System (ATS). Because location information is critical in virtually all aviation activities, location interface and encoding standards from the OGC play an important role.

Built Environment & 3D: Stakeholders at every stage in the life cycle of buildings and other capital projects depend on indoor and outdoor spatial information. Unfortunately, communicating spatial information is often problematic. The OGC, working with other standards organizations and industry associations, develops open standards to support productivity across the supply chains of the building design, physical infrastructure, capital project and facilities management industries.

Business Intelligence: Geographic location is usually a critical factor in business research and calculations about customers, suppliers, distributors, natural resources, transportation hubs, energy and other business concerns. The OGC is positioned to turn geospatial business intelligence — GeoBI — user requirements into standards that BI vendors can implement to take advantage of the rapidly growing ecosystem of interoperable Web-based spatial data and service resources.

Defence & Intelligence (D&I): Almost every Defense and Intelligence (D&I) information technology application – planning, intelligence, logistics, etc. – involves geospatial information. Almost every asset and every threat, human and material, has a location or an area. D&I systems are diverse and increasingly networked, and thus D&I organizations and contractors have played an important role in developing OGC standards, which now play an important role in D&I worldwide.

Emergency Response & Disaster Management: Emergency Response and Disaster Management are different domains of activity with different information sharing requirements. In both domains, however, there is a need to rapidly discover, share, integrate and apply geospatial information. The standards work of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) plays a key role in addressing this need. Speeding the flow of location information means more lives and property saved and less risk for first responders.

Energy & UtilitiesCommunication about location is essential in everything from oil and gas exploration to wind farm siting, municipal energy conservation and maintenance of pipes and wire lines. Location communication becomes even more essential with the rapid rise in distributed power generation and storage. Energy companies and utilities need to communicate with disaster managers and first responders, and they need to communicate with sensors they own and don’t own. The carbon trading industry needs an open standard for communicating the location-related parameters of carbon emission liabilities and carbon offsetting assets. The OGC will play a key role in evolving the 21st Century energy regime.

Geosciences & Environment: Earth systems are coupled, and therefore discovering and sharing geospatial information resources across disciplines is critical for researchers and evironmental managers. Unfortunately, data and processing “stovepipes” of various kinds often make information discovery and access difficult. In the OGC, universities, research organizations, NGOs, companies and government organizations work together to remove technical obstacles to institutional information sharing.

Government & Spatial Data Infrastructure: Managing physical infrastructure requires communication and information infrastructure. Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDI) play an important role, because location information is important in managing everything that governments manage, from roads and sewers to education and public health. Like most types of infrastructure, SDIs also provide a platform for economic development. Government organizations participate in the OGC both to advance standards and to learn about them.

Mobile Internet & Location Services: We’ve entered a period of tremendous growth in Internet-connected applications running on mobile devices that have wireless access to the Internet. The OGC works to make mobile device location information more usable and useful in applications that “mashup” user location or sensor location with the locations of road hazards, property lines, charging stations, flood zones, products, hospitals, hiking trails and almost anything else on Earth.

Sensor Webs: There are hundreds of millions of Internet-connected sensors on, in and around the Earth, and the number is growing rapidly. Standardization is essential for communicating information, including location information, about sensors and sensed phenomena. OGC Sensor Web Enablement (SWE) standards meet this requirement in both complex and simple applications. SWE standards make it easy to integrate sensor information into thousands of geospatial applications that implement the OGC’s other standards.

University and Research: OGC membership helps universities and research organizations contribute to the development of 21st century scientific data collection, processing and dissemination practices. It also provides a fertile environment in which university geomatics, computer science, geography and geoscience departments can modernize and advance their curricula, research agendas, and technology transfer plans by working shoulder-to-shoulder with other universities and industry and government members. 

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