Contributed by: Michael Gordon, Senior Product Manager, Ordnance Survey
As the National Mapping Agency for Great Britain, Ordnance Survey (OS) works with a wide array of customers and partners across many industries and we know that our data, when combined with other datasets, often provides the solutions to many challenges. This means that our data, products, and services need to be interoperable, integration-ready and easy to use in a wide array of software. This is why we heavily use OGC Standards to publish our data and services and we have been a Strategic Member of the OGC for some time.
As the use of the internet in general and APIs in particular has exploded over the last 2 to 3 decades, we have placed a high priority on ensuring that developers can easily access authoritative geospatial data – especially mainstream developers who may not have the depth of geospatial knowledge of those directly in the geospatial industry.
At the same time, we were also aware that geospatial innovation would require changes to our large-scale authoritative data, remodelling and redesigning it to make it easier to use, allow faster, more agile development, and to make it more interoperable with modern software.
We wanted to pair this new, easier-to-use data with easy-to-use APIs, using mainstream technologies and encodings to access this next generation of data from OS. To achieve this we’ve been sponsoring OGC Collaborative Solutions and Innovation Program (formerly the OGC Innovation Program) work for several years – including previous Testbeds and multiple code sprints such as the 2022 Joint OGC OSGeo ASF Code Sprint; 2022 Joint OGC and ISO/TC 211 Metadata Code Sprint, and the 2022 OGC Web Mapping Code Sprint.
These all helped contribute – along with lots of hard work and contributions from other OGC members – to the publication of the OGC API – Features Standard along with the wider new generation of OGC API Standards.
We launched the OS NGD API – Features product at the end of September 2022, covering the core standard as well as the Coordinate Reference System (CRS) by Reference and Common Query Language (CQL) modules, providing access to our next generation of data along with powerful filtering capabilities to allow our customers to select just the data they need. Combining this powerful functionality with the new, richer, easier-to-understand data, as well as a daily update cycle, means our customers and partners can power their applications and innovate at pace with rich and consistent information about the real world to improve decision-making.
We’re currently building an OGC API – Tiles based product for launch in 2023 that will provide contextual basemap information to complement the OS NGD API – Features. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with OGC and its members to advance the OGC API Standards family and bring both ease-of-use and powerful functionality to authoritative geospatial data.