Article Contributed by Adam Martin, ESRI

Open standards aren’t just about efficiency. They allow organizations across the globe to share information effectively and securely, and can provide much needed security for data. Standards provide governments and industry alike the ability to use tons of data for a range of use cases from citizen science to Defense and Intelligence and disaster relief. 

Esri’s ArcGIS implementation of OGC API – Features is a strong example of how standards can be used effectively with almost unlimited potential. It’s an open, interoperable system that drives efficiency and innovation. Like many platforms of its kind, it addresses a wide range of use cases, but also embraces interoperability through the use of open standards. 

“ArcGIS products enable and amplify FAIR data principles – making our customers’ location data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable,” said Adam Martin, Esri product manager. “Supporting standards-based interoperability, including the new OGC API suite, is a key pillar of our product strategy and offering.”

To demonstrate ArcGIS’s recent support for OGC APIs, Esri’s Living Atlas program published a collection of U.S. National Geospatial Data Assets (NGDAs) as OGC API – Features. These NGDAs represent foundational data for the US, such as physical infrastructure, rivers and administrative boundaries, and are designated by the US Federal Geographic Data Committee. This collection is among the 8,000 datasets, maps and apps curated by the ArcGIS Living Atlas program that are of critical importance to Esri’s millions of global users.

“We are excited about this new generation of geospatial APIs and look forward to our customers using these new national foundational data services,” said Adam. “We also look forward to seeing our customers with authoritative data publish their own OGC API – Feature services using ArcGIS Online and providing feedback on both experiences.”

OGC API – Features is a multi-part standard that offers the capability to create, modify, and query spatial data on the Web and specifies requirements and recommendations for APIs that want to follow a standard way of sharing feature data. Since feature data is essentially an object with location and other geographic properties, this creates endless possibilities. By implementing OGC API – Features, ArcGIS becomes exponentially more versatile in the information that it creates and easily shares. 

OGC APIs span well beyond features. Ranging from maps, tiles, and styles to routes and other crucial forms of geospatial data, they are the building  blocks for location and the next generation of the consortium’s standards. The building blocks are defined not only by the requirements of the specific standards, but also through interoperability prototyping and testing in OGC’s Innovation Program, a forum for OGC members to solve difficult geospatial challenges via a collaborative and agile process that is tackling R&D in initiatives such as climate, disasters, defense, and serious gaming.

“Esri has worked within OGC for decades and will continue to support OGC standards important to our users,” said Adam of Esri’s commitment to the OGC Innovation program. “User feedback is critical for our ongoing development efforts to support this suite of OGC APIs as they mature through the consensus process.”

If you’re interested in using ArcGIS products for a project, see this short Github tutorial that shows a user how to connect with ArcGIS Pro to an API that implements OGC API – Features – Part 1: Core. Developers can also use OGC API – Features with the ArcGIS JS API and Runtime SDKs. You can also find the landing page for an example OGC API – Features service here, along with the curated US NGDA collection here. If you’d like to participate in an OGC APIs sprint, developers are always welcome to attend, and they are free to the public. Sprints happen quarterly and are essential to helping finalize these much needed standards.

Users can contact Esri’s product management team responsible for implementing these open standards at


OGC API - Features, OGC APIs